Sense and Sensibility: A Review

Having now read the book and watched the film from 1995 I am going to review both.

The Book

As always Jane Austen manages to make many witty insightful remarks about English society and it’s one of the romances I find most tense of hers. It really does seem about two thirds of the way in, that there is no way she could possibly pull a happy-ever-after out of the mess of the lives involved. She does, however, and reasonably satisfactorally. One of the sisters at least manages to get her first choice man and while the other sister’s happy-ever-after doesn’t go quite the way she wished I actually like this.

Jane Austen shows that sometimes what we think we want isn’t actually what we need. Sometimes the man that panders to our every indulgent whim isn’t as good as the man who presents us with steady feelings both of love and wisdom, self restraint and devotion. She presents the idea that feelings of love can fade when only flattery and merrymaking are involved but can be strengthened by a consistent companion who provides for and works with their partner in making a future. Essentially she makes a point that the feeling of love isn’t as good as the actions of love.

While this is a point I highly approve of I have to admit it’s not my favourite book. I actually think Miss Austen could have done with an editor who removed a little of the padding from the book to make it shorter but more to the point. That someone would have to understand the whole point of the book, however, to ensure they didn’t remove anything important.

The Film

This is where my love of the film comes in. The film has, for the most part, managed just that. It’s removed some of the slightly uneccessary complications and just included the major plot points. It’s also removed quite a few of the extra characters that didn’t really add anything.

I can also say the acting was completely amazing. Every actor did their part so well. Hugh Grant even managed to pull off Edward Ferrars. My favourite was by far Emma Thompson though who played the eldest Miss Dashwood. Coincidentally she was also the writer and that’s something I loved finding out. When an artist is allowed to do more than one art well I always admire them. So many people seem to think artists have to stay within one realm when often the experience in one type of art can lend understanding to another type. Before I rant about this I’ll go back to the acting part, however.

I also really liked Alan Rickman’s part as Colonel Brandon and Hugh Laurie’s part as Mr Palmer. While neither of them played huge roles they did their’s perfectly. It’s like there was some huge understanding among the entire cast that although the budget wasn’t that large and there were too many of them to have huge parts they all acted their socks off. They truly turned something less likely to do well into a delightful film full of gorgeous historic grace and charm.

This is confession time, however, as the first two times I watched this film I don’t think I really appreciated the acting talent and issues within the story. It was enjoyable enough but it wasn’t until my third watch that this film actually made me take notice of the acting, story and feeling in every scene. I highly recommend people watch it as long as they promise to do so with the seriousness of the film and an open heart to the feelings the actors so lovingly portay.

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