Friday, October 30, 2009

Top 10 Austen adaptations: #1

~No. 1 - Sense and Sensibility 1995~

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And so we finally come to #1! Most of you have probably guessed what it is by now. :-)

Sense and Sensibility 1995

Well. . . where to begin? I think this review is going to be the hardest to write in this series. . . probably because I like this film the most! So try to be bear with me. It's hard for a fangirl to write a well-written critical analysis - "Oh, I LOOOOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH!!!" :P Oh, and prepare for a barrage of pictures. . . I have literally hundreds of S&S pics saved on my computer, and I had a hard time choosing which ones to include in this post. Hopefully my blog doesn't take too long to load these days. . . 

Sense and Sensibility 1995

This film is, in a word, exquisite. Unlike other Austen adaptations - such as P&P05 - there's scarcely a false note in the entire movie. Everything - cast, screenplay, score, etc. - seems to fall into place, creating a glorious symphony of a film.

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Gotta love this scene, even though it's not in the book. . . 

The cast was just about perfect. Yes, Emma Thompson was too old, but her performance as Elinor Dashwood was brilliant - she's such an incredible actress. In light of this, the fact that she was technically several years too old to be Elinor isn't so very important! It simply adds a slightly different dynamic to the film, having an older Elinor, on the verge of "spinsterhood". 

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Elinor (Emma Thompson), Marianne (Kate Winslet) and Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones)

In fact, you could argue that having an older Elinor actually helps rather than hinders some plot points - for instance, when Colonel Brandon is telling Elinor about Eliza. A retired old soldier like the Colonel, telling his life story to a 19-year-old girl? I know Elinor is supposed to a very mature 19, but in the context of the story, I don't think it hurts to have an Elinor in her late 20s. (Emma Thompson was actually in her 30s when filming S&S, but she could pass for a 28/29-year-old.)

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon

Alan Rickman was lovely as Colonel Brandon, Greg Wise was suitably dashing and romantic as Willoughby, while Harriet Walter, Gemma Jones, and Elizabeth Spriggs were all excellent as Fanny Dashwood, Mrs. Dashwood, and Mrs. Jennings, respectively. Hugh Laurie was unforgettable as Mr. Palmer, and Emilie Francois was delightful as "Captain" Margaret Dashwood! Hugh Grant was okay as Edward Ferrars, though I'm not really a big fan of his. . . 

Sense and Sensibility 1995

The real standout in the cast - alongside Emma Thompson - was, of course, Kate Winslet. She embodied the role of Marianne so beautifully. And there was great chemistry between the two actresses - they were very believable as sisters. Many of the best scenes in the film were those between Emma and Kate.

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Greg Wise as John Willoughby

Sense and Sensibility, the book, is unlike any other Austen novel in that it concentrates (this is just my opinion) more on two female characters and their relationship, than it does on the romance. This is, after all, the only Austen book with two heroines. The heroes, on the other hand, are not as well developed as most of Jane Austen's other male protagonists. S&S 1995 does a great job at emphasizing Elinor's and Marianne's relationship, and rounding out the male characters in the story.

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Beautiful Neo-Classical architecture

Emma Thompson's Oscar-winning screenplay is brilliant. She does manages to condense the novel into a feature-length film, while still preserving the wit and richness of Austen's prose. Much of the dialogue is taken straight from the book.

Sense and Sensibility 1995

Patrick Doyle's score is. . . hm, I'm trying to think of an adjective that doesn't sound too gushy! It is sweepingly beautiful and romantic, one of my all-time favourite movie soundtracks. The soundtrack CD is a must-buy for anyone who loves the film - whenever you're in need of a bit of romance, just put the CD on and re-live the film all over again. . . 

Sense and Sensibility 1995

The soundtrack contributes enormously to the depth of feeling in this film. This is one of only two Austen movies (I think Persuasion '07 is the other one) that has had me in tears!

Sense and Sensibility 1995
LOL, poor Alan Rickman seems to be straining a bit. . . Kate Winslet wouldn't be the lightest actress to carry around

Visually, it's a beautiful film to look at. Gorgeous locations, and some of my favourite costumes from a Regency-era movie. I much prefer the early Regency fashions - 1790s and very early 1800s - to those of the 1810s and 1820s. S&S95 is set around 1800.

Sense and Sensibility 1995
A devastated Marianne

Like I said at the top, this is an exquisite viewing experience, spanning a range of human emotions and experiences - particularly love, in its different forms. This is, after all, Jane Austen. :-)

Sense and Sensibility 1995

All this talking about Sense and Sensibility makes me want to watch it again. . . I've probably seen it 50 times, but I'm not sick of it yet!

Sense and Sensibility 1995

P.S. - many of my photos are from KateWinsletFan.com

Sense and Sensibility 1995

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course! We all knew what #1 would be. LOL

Yes! Nobody can do Marianne Dashwood like Kate Winslet! Before I saw SandS '95, I was like, "The Titanic girl? (never saw Titanic, but want to)She's probably just one of those overrated Hollywood glamour girls." Whoa, was this girl wrong! She's one of my favorite actresses now, even though I've only seen her in this and Finding Neverland. Only wish she'd do more family-friendly stuff.

I've always loved that picture of Marianne and Willoughby walking arm-in-arm with the lush green hills in the background. So quaint and English-y!

Maybe you could do a top 10 period dramas (Austen and others) sometime. Just a little suggestion there. It's been a fun series! Thanks!

~obsessivejaneite

Tracie said...

I just re-watched this last week!! I would have to agree with you that this is the #1.

I didn't know before reading your post that Emma Thompson actually wrote the screen play! Yet another reason to love her!

This has been a great series!!

Miss Jen said...

Oh my.... what can I say?!
*sniff... sniff*
This was a simply
marvelous post!!!!!!

Sense and Sensibility
1995 has been my FAVORITE movie
ever since I was a little girl...
and remains so!!!!
I have almost every line memorized
and always tear up at the part
where dear Marianne is on the hill
viewing Willoughby's house in the rain....
"love is not love which alters...when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove." *sigh*

I have watched this movie
over and over again and like you
too~ "never get tired if it"
The music... is AMAZING... ;)

I can *sigh* play "My Father's Favorite on the Piano"...
An aspiration I had ever since
I was a wee girl.

*hugs* Dear kindred spirit!!!

Love~ Miss Jen

The Editrix said...

She's one of my favorite actresses now, even though I've only seen her in this and Finding Neverland. Only wish she'd do more family-friendly stuff.

I've only seen her in S&S, but she's one of my favourite actresses too, on the strength of her performance in S&S alone! I'm with you, I wish she'd do more family-friendly films. . .

Maybe you could do a top 10 period dramas (Austen and others) sometime. Just a little suggestion there. It's been a fun series! Thanks!

Hm, that's an idea. I'm kind of sad now that this series is finished - I've enjoyed it so much! I just hope my readers don't get sick of the "Top 10" formula. . .

I didn't know before reading your post that Emma Thompson actually wrote the screen play! Yet another reason to love her!

I know, isn't she brilliant?! :-D She's a sort of hero of mine. . . if I could meet any actress or screenwriter in the world, I think Emma would be the one!

Miss Jen - oh, really! That is so cool - it's your favourite movie as well as mine! (At least, my fave non-LOTR movie. ;-) )

I always cry at that bit, too. . .

I wish I could play piano! I can only play chords on piano. . . I play guitar, but it would be difficult to play "My Father's Favourite" on guitar, LOL. . .

Siminy said...

Here is were someone says.

"I'm not a big fan of this movie"

Yup, Me, I said it.

Sorry I had too. I'm happy to note however that you are not a big fan of Edward Ferris in this adaptation. Thank goodness. At least we agree on something in this movie! =)


Sense and Sensibility '95 super fans look away now. What follows might cause you pain.



I must admit, I tried watching this the other night....

....I couldn't.

*Cringe as people throw things mentally at me*

Hey, I did watch the parts with Hugh Laurie in. They were funny!

But I'm sure you wouldn't agree with my choices. hehe.

Which is a good point. Is anyone else out there doing this?

If so, would you leave a comment here so that everybody knows?

I'm wondering if I'm the only person who doesn't like this movie. Oh well.

And anonymous, I agree with you that Kate Winslet did an excellent job in Finding Neverland! I can't agree about her performance as Marianne though.

Goodness, I'm beginning to worry if this comment is coming across as terribly offensive. I hope not.

Andy Moore said...

Aw, Wives and Daughters wasn't in your top 10 :( It's so perfect, within my top 3.

Both the latest S&S are great too, hard to say which one is the best though - they both have strong points where the other is weak IMHO.

Siminy said...

Wives and Daughters? Andy! That's by Elizabeth Gaskell! Not Jane Austen. =)

hehe, you should do one!

Alexandra said...

Hey!!! Yaayy!!! I know I've raved about this all ready, but S&S 95 is my favorite Austen adaptation peroid. Very happy to see all the pictures!

I agree with you 99% on this (99 because I happened to like Hugh Grant's Edward).

I think my favorite scenes would be Marianne in the rain at Willoughby's house ("Love is not love...") and that whole scene ("She'll be wet through when she returns." "Thank you for pointing that out, my dear."...and then Colonel Brandon carrying her home breaks my heart every time.) Edward's proposal scene ("My heart is and always will be yours")and the wedding scene is lovely. And all the Hugh Laurie scenes. I better not go into the HL aspect of the film since I have extensively all ready on here. ;-)

Now I want to go watch the film again! Very happy with your choices and I really enjoyed this! Please do your top ten costume dramas...I love costume drama talk anytime! ;-)

Charleybrown said...

Lovely post!
S&S is a sentimental favourite of mine for more than one reason which I won't elaborate on now.
...and I have to say that Edward (yes, played by Hugh Grant) and Elinor are my favourite Austen couple.

Jo March said...

I love this film! I've only seen three Jane Austen adaptions total, but this is my favorite!

EchoOfMercy said...

Oh, I love S&S.:)

I noticed on your sidebar that you have an asterisk beside North & South. What was objectionable in it?

The Editrix said...

Whoa, lots of comments! :-D

Siminy: that's okay!! You know, I often feel the same way about P&P95, since it is such a gernerally-loved adaptation. Kudos to you for not being afraid to voice your opinion! :)

Andy - like Simone said, it's my top ten Austen adaptations!

Alexandra - those are my favourite scenes, too!! And I might have to do a top ten non-Austen adaptations. . . I'll have a think about it, anyway!

Charleybrown and Jo March - glad you both love the movie :-)

EchoOfMercy - well, N&S is definitely not for little children. . . you must admit, it's a very dark movie at times. Several characters die, one character commits suicide (not onscreen), etc. There is some minor violence and language, but it just deals with a lot of mature topics that would be too much for a 6-year-old to understand.

EchoOfMercy said...

I've never watched it, but I want to. There's languages in it?!!

The Editrix said...

I meant there's some swearing - nothing too bad, maybe a few d**ms, something like that.

It is really, really, good, though! I highly recommend it to anyone 12-13 and over.

If you're concerned about content, here are a couple of conservative Christian reviews: here and here.

The Editrix said...

Oops, the first link isn't working - copy and paste this instead:

www.charitysplace.com/review/northandsouth.htm

Autumn said...

I love this version of S&S. THe actresses do a great part in bringing the charecters to live . i also have only seen Kate winslet in just S&S and Finding Neverland, yet she always does a magnificent job . And Emma Thompson can words describe such an actress?
Blessings
Autumn.

Marian said...

This is a great Austen film, probably the first one I ever saw! Though there are things I like better in the newer version, overall this is IMO the better of the two films; definitely a classic, and well-done all round. I have to get that soundtrack...I have some of the piano sheet music, and it's lovely!

The Editrix said...

Autumn - I just realised I've seen Kate Winslet in two movies - S&S, and "Flushed Away", an animated kid's movie, where Kate voices one of the characters. . . LOL, not sure if that counts. I'd like to see Finding Neverland sometime.

Marian - it was one of the first Austen movies I ever saw, too. I was probably about 6 when I saw it for the first time.

The soundtrack is gorgeous, isn't it? :-)

the W. family said...

This is the first Austen movie we saw as well! It's so good! Although I really don't care for the actor they cast as Edward....

Oh, and don't worry about all the pictures - I love lots of pictures!

~Alyssa :)

Naomi K said...

Since it seems to be the rage to comment on this post, I think I will too :) Let's see, I watched it for the first time this spring and I've think we've checked it out from our library two other times since then :) We enjoyed it a lot! (us girls, we don't let the boys watch it b/c of all the "necklines") - especially the droll humor. (our favorite character is Charlotte's husband) I got engaged this fall and my sisters keep "quoting" certain lines to me :) I do like Edward in it, but then, I've never read the book or seen other adeptations of it, so I've nothing to compare him too...I think I've enjoyed it more each time I've seen it and I have a feeling it'll be one of our favorite "girl movies" for years to come :)

The Editrix said...

Alyssa - nope, I don' like Hugh Grant either. . .

Good, I'm glad you're enjoying the pictures! :-)

Naomi - oh yes, it is so funny - so many brilliant lines, epsecially Hugh Laurie/Mr. Palmer's. :-D

I got engaged this fall and my sisters keep "quoting" certain lines to me :)

LOL! And congratulations on your engagement! :-)

Rebekah said...

I like this version too though I must admit that like you, I don't care for this version of Edward. He is too awkward and quiet and ... I don't know. I thought the actor who plays Edward in the newest version did the best job of the two!

I must also confess that Elinor's age drives me crazy - silly I know - but it does!! Maybe it is because I am the age she was supposed to be - 19 ... It didn't used to bother me so! LOL

Great post!! I agree that it is a great movie ... maybe I'll have to get my sisters to watch it again soon ... :D

To the KING be all the glory!
Rebekah

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

The Editrix said...

I must also confess that Elinor's age drives me crazy - silly I know - but it does!! Maybe it is because I am the age she was supposed to be - 19 ... It didn't used to bother me so!

LOL! Fair enough.

Wow, I think this a new record for comments on my blog. . . thanks everyone for commenting!

Anna said...

Thank you so much for these reviews. I absolutely loved them!! And would have to agree with most of them too. You did a great job. I've watched this one a bunch of times too.

Anonymous said...

This series was such fun, Elise! Thanks for sharing your "top 10" Austen adaptations. :)

Surprisingly, this wasn't my first Austen film (that was either "Emma" or the 6-hour P&P), but I've seen it dozens of times and while I really enjoy it, I think overall, my favorite S&S adaptation goes to the latest BBC production.

The only actor that is really miscast in the '95 version is Hugh Grant. But I also think everyone else is just as well cast in the '07 version, with the exception of Col. Brandon. I mean how could anyone cast David M. in the role after seeing him in such a "creepy" role in "Our Mutual Friend"!? Much like Jeremy N. as Mr. Knightly, Alan Rickman will always be the "best" Col. Brandon. :)

With the 2007 version, I also liked the extended length and seeing some of the things there wasn't time for previously.

Both are still wonderful, for various different reasons.

The Editrix said...

Anna - thanks so much!! I'm glad you've enjoyed the series. :-)

Anonymous:

I mean how could anyone cast David M. in the role after seeing him in such a "creepy" role in "Our Mutual Friend"!?

Haha yeah. . . David Morrissey was actually my favourite Brandon for a little while. Then I saw Our Mutual Friend for the first time. . . I still like Morrisey as Col. Brandon, but overall I'm beginning to like Alan Rickman's Brandon better - again!

With the 2007 version, I also liked the extended length and seeing some of the things there wasn't time for previously.

Both are still wonderful, for various different reasons.


Agreed. :-)

Jo March said...

I was scrolling through your blog just now, and saw pictures in the sidebar for the first two Anne movies. I've seen both, I'd be curious to hear what you think of them. Would you consider writing posts for both of those sometime?

BTW, this is one of my favorite blogs, since I can read a real, honest, Christian review of some the best movies around :)

~Jo~

The Editrix said...

Aw, thankyou! :-)

That's true, I've never written any "Anne" posts - yet! I'll have a think about writing some soon.

Emily said...

Reading this makes me want to watch it again! I am also a HUGE fan of this version; Kate Winslet did a fantastic job as Marianne, and I can say the same for Emma Thompson.

Also, Emma Thompson did such a good job on the screenplay that she had me convinced the library scene (where Edward and Elinor are trying to get Margaret to come out) was in the book! How shocked I was to find it wasn't... :)