Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

United Kingdom 1995
Directed by
Ang Lee
135 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Sense And Sensibility

Jane Austen’s first published novel, dealing with the romantic travails of the two Dashford sisters and adapted for the screen by Emma Thomson, who also plays Elinor Dashford, is given a typically polished yet self-effacing treatment by Ang Lee. The result is a gorgeous-looking costume melodrama, fastidiously creating the look of the period.

Elinor is the “sense” of the title, measured in her affections whilst her younger sister, Marianne (Kate Winslet), only dreams of being romantically swept off her feet, her “sensibility” in full flight. As is typical of Austen, the rigid social system of the time provides the context of the story. Thus Marianne and Elinor are at the mercy of their step-brother (James Fleet) who effectively consigns them to a life of straitened circumstances (they only get to keep two of their original twenty or so servants when they relocate to a “cottage” on a relative’s estate) after the death of their father. Elinor develops an affection for Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) a charming but ineffectual young man whilst Marianne falls hard for dashing Willoughby (Greg Wise), ignoring the wooing of the older Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman).

The characters and their situations are familiar enough as indeed is the style of the film with its picturesque recreation of the period (particularly striking in the early scenes which look like Gainsborough paintings come to life) and lovers of such fare will be well rewarded by the production values alone. The performances however are also first class with Thomson captivating in the lead, although perhaps with just a hint of too much that is modern in her manner and Winslet also doing a fine job as her feisty sibling, their male counterparts Grant, Rickman and Wise providing worthy foils. An extensive cast of experienced character actors including Gemma Jones, Harriet Walter and Robert Hardy add depth to what is an enjoyably light historical romance.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst