There will be some spoilers in this review, fair warning.I grew up watching the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and have always loved it. Later on, when I was older, I read the book, and liked it too. Recently I heard about this film version and since we had it at the library I thought why not? So here are my thoughts.
My general overall opinion of this movie is that it is decent. It is in three 50 minute episodes but despite being a good bit longer than the 1995 version, I don't think the storytelling is nearly as good. There were some scenes that were included in this version that were not included in the 1995 version, namely when the meet Mrs. Ferras, Mr. Willoughby taking Marianne to see Allemand (which is only mentioned in the book) and Mr. Willoughby coming and explaining himself when Marianne is sick. Also they included Anne Steele in this version, who is not included in the 1995 version.
I thought the casting was well done. I really loved the Elinor, who was acted by Hattie Morahan. I think she did a very excellent job. Colonel Brandon was another character I really enjoyed. It took me a while to get used to him but then he really grew on me. The rest of the casting was alright. Something that surprised me was the casting of Mr. Weasly from Harry Potter as Sir John Middleton. However, he did do a good job, though I couldn't get the Mr. Weasly image out of my mind. The Willoughby I felt could have been done better... he seemed to look (and sometimes act) as if he could have a dark secret... but according to the book he is supposed to be so friendly and have such wonderful manners that one could never suspect ill of him. Also I thought the Marianne was a little too toned down.
A few things I disliked about this version besides them not telling the story as well are as follows:
- There was a scene with Willoughby and Marianne kissing, which I do not think would have happened.
- In the scene were Elinor tells Edward about the living that Colonel Brandon has offered him after everyone knows about Edward and Lucy's engagement, Edward makes somewhat of an apology then about how he treated Elinor, which I don't think was right for him to talk about considering his engagement. Also, Elinor tells him that he didn't act at all badly, which I disagree with and in the book she thinks he did act wrongly in not removing himself from Norland on realizing he loved her.
- Marianne being engaged to Colonel Brandon so quickly after she gets better... though I do think they showed the romance fairly well, though almost too much romance. Also, they have Marianne be engaged to Colonel Brandon before Elinor and Edward are engaged... which is NOT true to the book.
- I thought the cottage looked too reduced for them to be living in. Yes it is supposed to be a cottage, but in the book you get the impression that it is still nice.
- The lines didn't seem to be taken from the book as much as they should have been. I am not asking for them to quote the book word for word, but there were very few lines that were from the book.
- I think it was a little over romanticized.... maybe actually, though I hate to say this, oversexualized. See my last point for one of the main reasons I think it is oversexualized.
- Above point in mind, I don't think they developed the romance between Willoughby and Marianne enough.
- This is a WARNING. The first scene is a sex scene between Willoughby and Eliza (Colonel Brandon's ward). It is not explicit... but I went ahead and fast forwarded through it.
All in all, I did think it was an okay version and I would watch it again. The Elinor was, I repeat, great, and that alone makes me want to watch it again sometime. Have you seen it? What are you thoughts on it?
Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.