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  • Whoever says they just don't make the quality of pictures today that they used to hasn't seen or is ignoring this film.

    That Emma Thompson is one of the greatest actresses working is no secret. But who would have expected such a miracle from her in the screenwriting department? Some of the most dramatic moments in 'Sense and Sensibility' come from her pen, not Jane Austen's, difficult as that may be to believe. For instance, the scene in which Col. Brandon (Alan Rickman) carries in the ill Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet), echoing the earlier scene where Willoughby (Greg Wise) brought the injured young woman home was Thompson's doing. Marianne's illness also is responsible for much more drama in the movie than in the book. And I'm an Austen fan! I can't recall another writer bringing so much good of his or her own to a classic like this.

    I suppose the director, cinematographer, production designer, etc. deserve to share the credit when a movie is this outstanding, but with such a super group of actors on the screen (from top to bottom) it's easy to heap all the praise on them. I had unconsciously (and unfairly) pigeonholed Alan Rickman based on the other role I'd seen him in, the villain in 'Die Hard,' so he was quite a surprise to me. The real bombshell, however, was my first exposure to Kate Winslet. After seeing this movie and Kenneth Branagh's 'Hamlet' I can say I can't remember another young actress who has impressed me so much. And she played these difficult roles by the time she was 20! Many of the other cast members are a part of an excellent group that Thompson and Branagh have often worked with in the past.

    I realized that 'S&S' had become one of my all-time favorite movies when I found myself watching it every chance I got when it came on TV. I think it's bumped 'Raging Bull' off my personal top 10 list.
  • amadore8027 February 2001
    I saw this movie in a cinema back in 1996 and since that June I have seen it about a dozen times. It is true, that being an ardent lover of the so-called Romantic (as if the 13th century couldn't be Romantic or 17th, but these things are academic nonsense) period I can enjoy even minor pieces of period cinema, however this is most probably the best film set in the early 19th century. Although it centers on the relationship of the two sisters and their respective romantic relationships, it also seems to be a salute to the period itself in its precise description of the English country society. It is truthful to Jane Austen's novel, but Emma Thompson's script is fine in its own right, with many omissions and additions to the novel. The acting is superb, Kate Winslet as the typical Romantic dreamer (sensibility) is breathtaking (try not to be moved when her character wanders in the rain to see the house of her beloved and when she whispers half-deranged: 'Willoughby, Willoughby, Willoughby.') is perfect as is Emma Thompson as the rational but equally tormented older sister(sense). Greg Wise is perfect as the dashing semi-Byronic hero Willoughby and Allan Rickman as the mellow Brandon. To say nothing of the art direction, the music or the fantastic image composition. I would recommend everyone with some sort of emotional subtlety to see this film, for the story, the wit, the period and the imagery.
  • pma97dr-230 November 2000
    This is one of the best of the recent Jane Austen films, from one of her weaker books. Emma Thompson has done a fine job of the script, not slavishly remaining faithful to the book but not abandoning it either.

    The cast are uniformally excellent. I especially liked Kate Winslet's Marianne and Alan Rickman's Brandon. Emma Thompson's performance is almost good enough to make you forget that she is far to old for the part. The supporting cast are all excellent.

    Ang Lee's direction shows the same skill that it did in the excellent Eat Drink Man Woman and the scenery and costumes are beautiful (perhaps too beautiful).

    This is more romantic and less comic than say Emma, and Thompson's script wisely stays away from the kind of set-piece gags seen in the recent film of Emma. All in all, this is excellent.
  • Wow, here's an emotional story that gets you involved and wears you out by the end. I wears you out not from action, but from watching two good ladies suffer heartbreaks one after the other. This is not my normal viewing fare but I am big fan of two things this movie has to offer: (1) Emma Thompson and (2) incredible visuals.

    Few people were better in the 1990s at playing the sensible-sweet-wholesome and pretty and-always unfairly ignored woman than Thompson (see The Remains Of The Day and Howards End). Your heart aches for this woman whose characters always deserve better than what they receive.. Her facial expressions alone convey pain better than anyone I've ever seen on film. This is perhaps her best work and it was justice she was honored for it.

    It was refreshing to see Alan Rickman actually place a nice guy and Kate Winslet was appealing, too - a far cry from spoiled brat role in the film that gave her stardom, Titantic.

    One tip that I found useful in watching this movie. If you are not British, you might switch on the English subtitles to better understand the dialog and the phraseology of early 19th century England, in which this story takes place.

    The only problem with using the subtitles is that it detracts from marveling at these visuals. This is one of the prettiest films I have ever seen, on both the inside and outside scenes. It's just gorgeous cinematography frame after frame with beautiful colors. Nice music score, too.

    This kind of story is a bit too soap opera-like for my normal tastes but to watch Thompson and to ogle the colors, sets and scenery makes it all a rewarding experience. For women who like these kind of Jane Austen stories, this must really be a special film. For the rest of us, it's still very much worth seeing, and adding to one's DVD collection. It''s great film-making.
  • clarific10 January 2005
    This is a truly great movie. It is one that I can watch over and over, yet can never seem to get enough of! Kate Winslet is gorgeous, Emma Thomson is inspiring, and Hugh Grant shines in this unforgettable film. I have always loved a good movie; one i can sink into and fall in love with the characters. I feel that Sense and Sensibility presents all these things to the audience. There is love, heartbreak, humour and great music. (my applause to Kate Winslet for her unforgettable versions of "Weep You No More Sad Fountains" and "The Dream" ...so beautiful.) If you have not seen this movie, please go RIGHT now to rent it...or even ADD it to your video library! I must say it is well worth it! And if you have seen it. ....you know what i mean.

    Brava! Brava! Bravo!

    Here are some other movies of this sort that i think this type of audience may enjoy:

    Pride and Prejudice. starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

    Emma. starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam.

    Ever After. starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott.
  • sharkey1979 August 2005
    It's not easy to get seniors to do anything, even watch a movie and when you mention Jane Austen, they zone out. Yet each year when we do this film in class, about 80 percent end up loving it and that includes the guys. It's wonderful to watch them respond to the characters and get into a film that is so "talky" when they have been used to high action. To hear the girls call Willoughby a jerk and applaud Brandon at the end is great, but to listen to the boys comment on the behavior of the various characters is even better. How they respond to a society so filled with strict manners and codes of behavior also makes this film worthwhile and it generates much discussion about the importance of money in life; well, even Thompson in the commentary said the film is about money, who has it and who does not. I love showing this film to my students; after the groans when I start it on the first day, it's wonderful to hear their comments on day five when we finish. As one senior male said this year, "I wouldn't have rented this or wanted to see it, but now that I have, I admit it was pretty good, so I'm glad you showed it." This is why they are classics, kiddies.
  • After seeing Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth I wouldn't expect myself to like another JA adaptation so much, but I confess I did. P&P stays my favourite but S&S is very close.

    I can't agree with some of the comments that Hugh Grant wasn't proper for Edward Ferrars. Yes, maybe his age didn't match Emma Thompson's exactly but I think he acted wonderfully. His speech especially and stiff walk. I loved the scenes at the beginning where he made friends with Margaret Dashwood and played with her. It was so sweet.

    My favourite, however, was definitely Colonel Brandon! I think Alan Rickman was just perfect for that role. I've seen him only as professor Snape in the first Harry Potter film, so I can't compare very much but I would say he is a great actor. I love his voice (especially when he says "What can I do? Give me some occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad.), love his intonation and how he cares for Marianne so tenderly and patiently even though she turns her back on him. You can see the suffering in his eyes!

    I first read the book and didn't like it much but after seeing the film I'll reread it. I highly recommend JAusten's books to anyone who hasn't read them yet and likes JA's adaptations.
  • I found "Sense and Sensibilty" to be one of the most charming movies I have seen since "Finding Neverland". It has a very warm feeling and is very welcoming. The story is absolutely beautiful. In the 1990's, all of Jane Austen's huge novels were made into movies and some even in television series. Most of them were very good, but Sense and Sensibility really stood out and was the best. Most thanks to Emma Thompson and her brilliant screenplay, which was also her first. Kudos to her, she seems like a fine and intelligent woman. I found out that this screenplay took her about 4 years to have the final draft done. She also couldn't translate some of the novel into the book so she took some of Austen's letters and put them into the movie.

    The acting is absolutely on key and all of the actors fit quite well into their roles. I enjoy period pieces thourelly, if you don't, you might want to skip it. But I would recommend this picture any day. It's very beautiful and a wonderful movie to watch. It has some of the finest British actors: Allen Rickman, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant. So give it a chance, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    10/10
  • This is my all time favourite adaption of one of the best novels ever made. And since it's filled with my favourite actors and actresses (except from Hugh Grant, of course...) I was pretty exalted about seeing it for the first time.

    Now I've seen it like ten times and I find more and more to love about it. Emma Thompson should have a thousands oscars for her beautiful deeds in this film, not only as an excellent actress but also as the one who changed the novel to a script. she's done everything right. and could Ang Lee possibly have found any better actors for the parts? I really doubt. Kate Winslet is stunning as Marianne, the wild, strong girl who got full attention from two very special men. Hugh Grant gives us the usual performance of a nervous, very English guy (please, could someone give him a different part, at least once!) but I forgive him in this lovely film however. and Alan Rickman- he's just wonderful! He gives Brandon the right amount of sadness, tenderness and love- and sweeps anyone of their feet just by being in the scene. And God, that voice! Why on earth would Marianne chose anyone else but him?

    Emma Thompson is probably the best actress ever. I adore her. Her performance is brilliant. She's brilliant. The whole film is so brilliant!
  • This is a remarkable film that does a very good job of depicting a rigid and quite hidebound society that often made India's caste system look reasonable and moderate by comparison. One of the more enjoyable points for me was the fact that the "sense and sensibility" of the title had a most definite 19th Century feel and yet still remains very timeless and does not attempt to force Twentieth Century mores (probably by use of a crowbar) into a script where they do not belong. Modern day viewpoints do not belong here. If you want a modern day version, fine. But it would be, at best, only a glancing and quite loose adaptation of the novel, so why do an adaptation at all, then? Not all films have to reflect present day sensibilities. This is a very human and compelling story with a fine cast and wonderfully witty script. Look for a very dry and understated performance by Hugh Laurie as Mr. Palmer, the long-suffering husband of the daughter of Mrs. Jennings. Were I Mr. Palmer, I'd have long since invested in earplugs or opened a vein. Very fine film and most highly recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As with Pride and Prejudice, I have owned a copy of this film for about eight years, and I almost find it impossible to think that anyone could criticise it.

    A lot of people criticise the decision to cast Emma Thompson, then thirty-six, as nineteen year old Elinor, but I feel that the fact that she is clearly older than her character should be adds to Elinor's role as the logical, practical woman surrounded by a sister who wants to be a pirate, a fully-paid up romantic (Kate Winslet as Marianne) and a mother who doesn't appreciate the starkness of their newly-impoverished status quite as fully as she does. I always feel that - in this version at least - Elinor is forced to act older than she is to compensate for all this idealism.

    Another outstanding feature of the film is the quality of acting provided by the supporting cast. Imelda Staunton begins as an unbearably screechy woman and yet by the end of the film we see that she is more than capable of appreciating the gravity of a serious situation. Hugh Laurie as her husband Mr. Palmer is priceless (watch out for a scene where he is reading a copy of the newspaper The Porcupine). Greg Wise as Willoughby is incredibly convincing as the embodiment of Marianne's romantic hero who turns out to have a less than spotless reputation. Alan Rickman, who truly loves Marianne, is quite restrained enough and it soon becomes clear why he is so brooding.

    Personally I don't have a problem with the fact that it might not be totally faithful to eighteenth century life in terms of hygiene and cleanliness because - to me - that isn't what Jane Austen is about. It is supposed to be genteel and this film is. She didn't write to depict realism, she wrote to satirise and observe the society she lived in, and this is something the film never fails to do. If the girls remained as rich as they had in the beginning, I don't think we would have cared for them quite as much as we do. It is very much a handicap to their eligibility.

    On a final note, one really strong point is the costumes. They all seem to embody the period so well, and very accurately, too. Mrs. Jennings (being around sixty) wears clothes from an earlier period, and Mrs. Dashwood's clothes are not quite up to the minute, which adds another touch of realism to this outstanding film.
  • Jane Austen: This is her first and most human-centered work. More than cruel commentary on society this is -- Deft work.

    Emma Thompson: Her former husband is a decent actor, but his genius is in understanding how to cinematize Shakespeare -- no small challenge and no small talent. I'm thinking of how he would later put Kate's Ophelia in a padded cell! What Emma has done here is change a detached narrative text into discrete scenes anchored by dialogue. A cursory comparison with other Austen films (except the later 'Emma' which borrows much from this) will bear this out.

    Ang Lee: This is Lee's first English film, and already since he has established himself as a sensitive master of vision, like Ridley Scott and Steven Soderbergh. Lots of sensitive uses of the space, especially doorways. Many hard/soft contrasts (which he equates with sense and sensibility which is okay). He is a subtle visualist. Subsequent work is more confident than this, but its all softly refined, understated.

    Kate Winslet: All of the above are the results of first seriously public efforts and Kate's case is the same. At this writing seven years later, she is one of the anchors of multidimensional film acting. Kate makes this whole thing live. Austen's stance is one of self-aware storytelling: she is at once IN the story and OUTSIDE it, commenting on it. That's something that Kate already had mastered this early: she acts both the role and the girl acting the role.

    Honorable mention: Emilie Francoise, whose screen presence is rather remarkable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For all the rest that can be said about this beautiful film, there is one reason why I particularly love it: During the whole movie you see Emma Thompson portraying Elinor successfully as a young woman who deeply loves, but who chooses to conceal her own feelings so she will not bring reproach on herself or her loved ones, or even on less deserving people. Emma Thompson succeeds in conveying all of this in looks, small hesitations, subtle body language and never are we in disbelief. It all seems real and right, and you can truly believe that people never saw her feelings although at the same time you can see that they are real and very deep. I compare it for an example with Amanda Root's portrayal of Anne Elliott in Persuasion; I really had a hard time believing people did not see through her sad puppy eyes and sighs and nervous grabbing chairs and all these unsubtle ways she would play out Anne's inner torment. Anyway, to come back to Emma Thompson and Elinor, I know some people thought that her reaction at the end of the movie, when she finally learns that Edward is not married and that he wants to ask for her hand, is not really lady like and maybe even exaggerated. I could not agree less. This is the reaction of someone who has been loving and feeling and hurting for a long time, holding it in so she would hurt people around her the least possible; and on the moment of learning that finally, happiness is within her reach, that finally all this has not been for nothing, she just bursts out in uncontrollable crying and sobbing. I just could not hold my own tears when I saw the movie the first time, and believe me, I am not one to cry over sappy love stories usually. I just identified so much with her self-sacrifice of every moment for so long, which suddenly turned into too much happiness to hold inside. Wow! That, in and of itself, is one reason to see and cherish this version of Sense and Sensibility; and then there is so much more but I'll leave it at that!
  • lisamaria6 June 2006
    When I first saw this film in cinema 11 years ago, I loved it. I still think the directing and cinematography are excellent, as is the music. But it's really the script that has over the time started to bother me more and more. I find Emma Thompson's writing self-absorbed and unfaithful to the original book; she has reduced Marianne to a side-character, a second fiddle to her much too old, much too severe Elinor - she in the movie is given many sort of 'focus moments', and often they appear to be there just to show off Thompson herself.

    I do understand her cutting off several characters from the book, but leaving out the one scene where Willoughby in the book is redeemed? For someone who red and cherished the book long before the movie, those are the things always difficult to digest.

    As for the actors, I love Kate Winslet as Marianne. She is not given the best script in the world to work with but she still pulls it up gracefully, without too much sentimentality. Alan Rickman is great, a bit old perhaps, but he plays the role beautifully. And Elizabeth Spriggs, she is absolutely fantastic as always.
  • I am always interested in how a movie is received on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a film that won the top award at Berlin, but picked up a well deserved academy award for Emma Thompson--not for her acting skills but for her writing skills. Turning Jane Austen into delectable cinema is not an easy chore.

    The film is unusual. Chinese director Ang Lee ("Crouching tiger, hidden dragon") is not an obvious director that could have brought this literary work on screen--yet he deserves full credit in making the film as a top notch Britisher would have done. Even the executive producer is an American director of no mean repute--Sidney Pollack, who must have known that he was investing in a winner.

    I applaud Mr Lee for working with cinematographer Michael Coulter to make a film with so many shots that could have made so many picture-postcards. English landscapes have rarely looked so lovely. Details like ladies negotiating horse droppings make the film realistic or the silent appraisal by Willoughby's lady friend of Mariannae Dashwood (Kate Winslet) at the dance are executed with care and intelligence, not common in Chinese cinema. Mr Lee is truly international.

    Alan Rickman, for once, restrains his histrionics and is a pleasure to watch him interact with well chosen cast.

    What this film achieves is not merely introduce Jane Austen to new readers, but also argue that literary works can be modified intelligently on screen, without losing authenticity of the original, not just by the English but by people from far away lands. The Berlin Festival jury realized this very well.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Before The tigers crouched and the dragons hid, before the boys of Brokeback mountain, there was Ang Lee's masterpiece Sense and Sensibility, which I'm sure he won several Oscars for. It is probably the best adaptation of Sense and Sensibility you will ever see, with stellar performances by Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson, all who give award worthy emotions throughout the film. This was the movie that brought Kate Winslet her first Oscar nomination (and 1st Bafta win) and Emma Thompson her first award for best adapted screen play. This film is perfect in every way I do not even see the need to discuss the script. The backdrop and costumes are magnificent, as are the dialogues, situations and general feel of the entire pace and plot. A must see for everyone and anyone with good taste for awesome cinema!
  • Normally I would never have watched this movie, because I'm not all that much a fan of costume drama's. And since I've seen several of them lately without seeing all that much difference between them all, I didn't think that I would like it all that much. But when I read a review in a popular magazine, saying that even when you aren't a fan of this kind of films, you should give it a try because it's so much better than the average movie in the genre, I must admit that I was quite curious about it. Also the fact that it was from the director Ang Lee made me hope for the best.

    When Mr. Dashwood dies, almost all his belongings go to his son from his first marriage, leaving his second wife and three daughters in a difficult situation. They haven't got much money and can't stay on the estate, but are taken in by a kind cousin who gives them a small cottage to live in. Because they aren't wealthy, it isn't very easy for the two oldest daughters, the practical Elinor and the romantic Marianne, to find a suitable partner. Both find a man who seems to be perfect at first, but who aren't all that great after all. But after the rain always comes sunshine and one day the two women find a man to their taste who truly loves them...

    If there is one thing that you can't accuse him of, than it must be that Ang Lee always sticks to one certain genre. After having seen "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and the western "Ride with the Devil", this certainly is a completely different experience. And surprisingly enough, I must say that it works. I never thought that a man born in Taiwan would be that good in recreating a world that has never been his. I don't think it must be easy for an Asian person to recreate Victorian England or the USA during the Civil War, but it works and that's all that really matters. Next to the good directing, I also couldn't help noticing the fine acting by all the leading actors. There wasn't one that stood out above the rest, but there wasn't one that didn't fit in either. They all did a very good job and that's something that you don't always find in a movie.

    Even though I know that this was the way it all happened during that time period, I must say that I sometimes had a lot of difficulties with the lack of emotions and the fact that they didn't always say what they thought. I sometimes really wanted to say to one of the characters: 'come on, finally tell them what you have got to say, don't stay there quiet all the time, you're working on my nerves with that behavior...', but this was a movie, so I had to stay quiet myself. Still, it really worked on my nerves sometimes and that did spoil my fun from time to time. However, don't get me wrong, this certainly doesn't mean that I didn't like the movie at all.

    Overall this is indeed a movie that is a lot better than the average in the genre. The acting is very good, the story is interesting,... and for once it all made me forget about everything that I hate about the genre. When you know that I normally give a movie of this kind a rating of 6/10, than you'll be quite surprised to see that I give this one a rating in between 7/10 and 7.5/10. To my own surprise I must admit that I really liked it.
  • Emma Thompson delivers one of the best screen adaptations ever and certainly the best screen version of any of Austen's novels.

    S&S isn't everyone's favourite Jane Austen. It's an an early piece, written before her crisply ironic style had fully matured, so it's largely down to Em that Sense & Sensibility represents Austen's work far better than the flashy but intellectually emasculated efforts of Andrew Davies to name but one.

    She thoroughly nails Elinor both as a scriptwiter and as a performer, keeping the two sisters' relationship to the fore and the mechanics of the love affairs in their lives in the proper perspective. The central theme of the extreme difficulty of the lives of women without independent fortune is never sidetracked or dulled by needless elaboration.

    There aren't any better actresses than Em as she reminds us vividly with a memorable crack-up as Marianne, given incredible depth and colour by Kate Winslet, finally discovers the truth about Elinor's love for Hugh Grant's more superficially sketched Edward Ferrars.

    The whole cast is a wonderful treat with stellar playing in many of the minor roles with special mention deserved by Harriet Walter, Emilie Francois and Hugh Laurie. Ang Lee's direction could have been a bit more involving but with acting this good who cares?

    It's being shown repeatedly on the digital movie channel here in the UK and I still haven't tired of watching it, despite having already replaced a worn out VHS cassette with a DVD.
  • Jane Austen's book, Sense and Sensibility was always a favourite book of mine, next to Pride and Prejudice. Emma Thompson's adaptation of Austen's first published novel is simply delightful; not only does it completely capture the wit and spirit of Austen's novel, it gives you an understanding of what true love really is. I simply loved the acting, Emma Thompson's performance as Elinor was very good, not only does she act according to the book's Elinor, but she also gave Elinor a sense of humour, which was a good idea, in my opinion. I was impressed by Kate Winslet's Marianne, the emotions shown by her is believable, you really can't believe that she didn't win an Oscar for her performance, if you liked Kate Winslet in Titanic, you should try watching this movie, you'll be surprised by how believable she is. Hugh Grant as the kind Edward Ferrars is truly worth watching. The scene where Edward meets Elinor in London, while his fiance is in the same room is heart-wretching. You can't help feeling sorry for him. Absolutely marvellous. Alan Rickman's melancholy Colonel Brandon is amazing, it's a different role for him, but he plays good characters just as nicely as villains. I liked the scene where Marianne finally pays some attention to him while he reads some poetry to her. Greg Wise's Willoughby was somewhat disappointing. His performance didn't really capture the book's Willoughby. He didn't show much emotion, he's quite good but not good enough. Willoughby is certainly not worth dying for, Colonel Brandon is more worth it.: ) This was Ang Lee's first English-language film, I think he did a wonderful job, the essence of the film is truly faithful to Emma Thompson's screenplay. It's a pity that Sense and Sensibility only won one Oscar(Best Screenplay), it should have won more. This is definitely one of the best Jane Austen movie adaptations ever made, I'm giving this 10 out of 10, which is what this movie deserves. If you enjoy this movie, try watching, BBC/A&E's version of Pride and Prejudice(1995).
  • sara418917 February 2003
    this is one great movie. I am a huge fan of Jane Austen. I've always loved Pride and Prejudice, and I actually just saw that as well. I've seen Sense and Sensibility before, but it was when I was little. I saw it tonight and I fell inlove. I know when a movie is good, when 10 or 20 minutes after the film is over you are are still crying or laughing or shocked. I was crying for 20 minutes after, so I know this is an amazing film. I love everything about it. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet both acted their hearts out, they deserve all the praise thats been giving them. Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant also put in top Notch performances.

    The script is just great, she certaintly deserved the oscar. I gave this movie a 10, because of the story,acting, and just great scenery and intrigue to keep it interesting.
  • If it wasn't for Jane Austen's novels and their screen-adaptation, we wouldn't be much familiar with the English gallantry and the bourgeois manners of the early 19th century. Her oeuvre encapsulated a time where women didn't have a way to go through life without landing on the "marriage" square, hardly an issue to please feminists but who would call Austen traditional or submissive for all that? She respected the conventions but made powerful social commentaries in the indirect sense that her female protagonists never married someone they didn't love. Marriage was the end, but love was the means to achieve it, while marriage of convenience was the privilege of the mediocre ones.

    Now, there is an interesting point of comparison between her two most celebrated novels: "Sense and Sensibility" and "Pride and Prejudice". "Sense" was Austen's first success, written at a very young age, yet it deals with characters evolving in the realm of adulthood, while in "Pride", written by an older Austen, the heroines are the Bennett Sisters who aren't older than twenty. It is just like Austen was a painter who had to go to the top of the mountain to have a clear view on a plain after having painted the mountain from the plain. With enough experience and wisdom, she was able to make a brighter portrait of a young generation who get the man through their actions. In "Sense", the Dashwood sisters are fully-dimensional characters, Elinor (Emma Thompson) is reserved and introverted while Marianne (Kate Winslet) is romantic and flamboyant, they're more mature than the Bennetts sisters, but at the expense of their reactivity.

    In "Pride", luck and men's valiance were not elements to count on, and many round trips allowed the heroine to confront her suitor. It is possible that "Pride" was a bit too modern while "Sense" was more obedient to the perception of women's role at the time (rather static), but the directing by Ang Lee and the screenplay worked in such a way that the quest for marriage isn't actually the most interesting part of the film. And while I don't think I give away the ending by saying that each one will find the true love, it's obviously not the point of suspense; the real question is how these people interact. And just like your typical Austen's stories, there's a good deal of passions and deception, or romantic studs popping up at the right moment and forcing the women to all align in the house to promptly welcome their host. Some are dark and brooding (Alan Rickman) other shy and amiable (Hugh Grant) and a few too perfect to be true (Greg Wise) but they all have one thing in common, they're conveniently called to office in London whenever marriage seems too close, a snobby bitch or karma playing the same game postponing the overdue rendezvous with destiny.

    But as predictable as these films are, their quality is elsewhere, starting with the acting. Literary movies have this quality that the abundance of words and plots can sometimes distract from simpler moments that actually elevate them more than any monologue or speech. This moment occurs when Edward (Grant), is ready to confess something to Elinor. They have spent enough time together to grow a deep feeling. He's about to say something about his… you expect the word "feeling", he says "education", and you can see something click in the blink of an eye in Thompson's face, 'devastation' as it would really show in a woman who learned to hide her feelings. There's no doubt that Emma Thompson is one of the greatest actress of her generation. On the other hand, Marianne will also face abandon and the reaction will fit her passionate personality. While, the plot in itself can be summed up by women waiting for the right men to come, so (God forbid), they don't end up as bitter spinster, there is more to enjoy, the text and more importantly, the subtext.

    And on that level, Jane Austen's stories are exhilarating hymns for eloquence and literacy, whether when the characters write intimate correspondences, share their personal thoughts with their friends or relatives or try to convey a strong message by still respecting the conveniences, I just can't resist by the way Shakespeare's language is being honored. You finish the film and you just want to express your feelings with the same economy of obviousness or flamed passion when called for, and a similar urge generally invade me when I finish the Ivory and Merchant movies. There is something just irresistible in these British heritage films, they make you realize how close we still are to these times by the scale of history, but light-years ahead as far as mediocrity and plainness is concerned.And it's a credit to Austen's writing and Thompsons's rewriting (earning her an Oscar) to have translated the story in a tone that wouldn't make feminists' neck hair stand up and wouldn't portray men as misogynistic pigs.

    The film says something important: the strength of your character doesn't depend on what he or she accomplishes but how it can strongly affect your own feeling or how can they resist the cruelties of life without necessarily triumphing over them. All through the film, I was totally rooting for Marianne, Elinor, their mother (Gemma Jones) and the way they endorsed or rebelled against conventions at crucial times where simpler things were complicatedly expressed. Indeed, everything that happened is due to something said, a promise or a misunderstanding. It's all in the way words are used, misused or distorted and that's one of the many delights in this lavish movie.
  • newtonjoyce4 July 2004
    I really enjoy the wholesome content of movies made such as this one. For producers and writers to take a classic and put it on screen is a sure fire success. Especially, when it is of a wholesome nature. Very few of them exist today, so our family enjoys watching moral and clean films like this.

    From a historical content, we can learn much of women's roles and how they have changed. Men's roles as well. There were advantages and disadvantages to both. If only we were all consciousness and honorable as days past. If only we were all God fearing and attended church as a well turned person would.

    To heat a house such as those would be a challenge and to have servants would be fun. I wish I had a "cottage" like that one!
  • I should be honest that I am not crazy over British costume dramas or a huge fan of Jane Austen's classic novels. I think that also means that I would never go crazy over a film like this. Emma Thompson, who also adapted the novel to screen, plays Elinor Dashwood, the oldest sister and she represents "sense." Kate Winslet plays Marianne Dashwood, the younger sister who represents "sensibility." Their father has died and he must leave his fortune to the son of his first marriage. This causes complications between the family and the daughters' hopes of marriage.

    Elinor begins a relationship with a rich man, Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant). They are then separated because of Edward's wealthy family. Marianne, on the other hand, is in love with John Willoughby (Greg Wise). At the same time, wealthy Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) has eyes for Marianne, but she thinks Brandon is too old for her and prefers Willoughby instead.

    The film sometimes has a few heartwarming and humorous moments, but overall I was quite bored of the film. The acting is pretty standard and the performances still deliver. Winslet's Marianne is who really shines in the cast. Director Ang Lee shows his versatility in her occupation perfectly – the guy can make a good Taiwanese film, a British costume drama, a film based on American suburbia, a Chinese martial arts film, an action film and even a gay cowboy movie. The film is simply told, maybe being a little too long (never read the book) and might be great for fans, but I actually got bored while watching the film. The ending is predictable but yet wraps the story nicely.
  • This would have to be one of my favorite movies. Emma Thompson is wonderful as the wooden Elenor. You feel her repressed passion and love throughout the film. Kate Winslet is perfectly cast as the romantic, impulsive Maryanne. She absolutely shines in my mind. From the very start you are taken on a journey to a time when women had only their charms and beauty to secure their financial happiness and lively-hood. It is a story of two sisters, one who understands the way of the world and one who dreams of love, and passion. Hugh Grant plays the predictable bumbling English man as he does in all his movies, but to my mind the standout performance was the amazing Alan Rickman(Colonel Brandon). He delivers as the staid sombre Colonel with a huge heart. This is definitely one to see with the girls, it will make you dream of a time gone where men held women in awe and an innocent mind was a virtue.
  • Re-watching this film recently, it struck me just how influenced it is by its absolutely brilliant director and how this allows a more sombre and less comic note to be stuck that would be usual with an Austen adaption (think Emma, P and P, or even Clueless!) The women are utterly isolated and alone in a cruel society - and Lee provides wonderful images of this, as when Marianne scuttles through the grey empty rooms of the new cottage, almost blending into them colour- wise, or when she is a mere speck of white on a hilly field. The costumes and landscapes may be beautiful, as has been reiterated in the comments, but they are also restricting, encumbering, blinkering and harmful: Marianne breaks her ankle, catches pneumonia. The women sometimes seem reduced to nodding bonnets! The green hills are forever about to be swathed in grey mist as it always rains (an ongoing joke in the film). In many ways this can be read as a companion piece to the wonderful Ice Storm. Both reveal through sympathetic character portrayal the feel of a period, and both build up to sudden groundswell of emotion. In the Ice Storm, the denouement will be tragic. (I REVEAL END HERE _ BUT SHOULD HARDLY BE SURPRISE!) Here, the audience can finally melt alongside Elinor - what relief her tears are for us all! and Lee's restraint, quiet observation, and subtle greys and greens gives way to a true Austen finish with happy marriages and a shot of silver coins being flung against blue sky, as for once, the rule of money and rain is abandoned.
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