Film: Sense and Sensibility

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Film:

Sense and Sensibility

Director: Ang Lee
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Distributor: Sony Pictures

Emma Thompson scores a double bull’s-eye with this marvelous adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. Not only does Thompson turn in a strong (and gently humorous) performance as one of the Dashwood sisters—the one with “sense”—she also wrote the witty, wise screenplay. Austen’s tale of 19th-century manners and morals provides a large cast with a feast of possibilities, notably Kate Winslet, in her pre-Titanic flowering, as Thompson’s deeply romantic sister. Winslet attracts the wooing of shy Alan Rickman (a nice change of pace from his bad-guy roles) and…

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Emma Thompson scores a double bull’s-eye with this marvelous adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. Not only does Thompson turn in a strong (and gently humorous) performance as one of the Dashwood sisters—the one with “sense”—she also wrote the witty, wise screenplay. Austen’s tale of 19th-century manners and morals provides a large cast with a feast of possibilities, notably Kate Winslet, in her pre-Titanic flowering, as Thompson’s deeply romantic sister. Winslet attracts the wooing of shy Alan Rickman (a nice change of pace from his bad-guy roles) and dashing Greg Wise, while Thompson must endure an incredibly roundabout courtship with Hugh Grant, here in fine and funny form. All of this is doled out with the usual eye-filling English countryside and handsome costumes, yet the film always seems to be about the careful interior lives of its characters. The director, an inspired choice, is Taiwan-born Ang Lee, who brings the same exquisite taste and discreet touch he displayed in his previous Asian films (such as Eat Drink Man Woman). Thompson’s script won an Oscar, and 1995 was a fine year for Jane Austen all around: Persuasion was made into an excellent picture, and Emma became the spritzy high school comedy Clueless. —Robert Horton

Related Works

Book:Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen

Marianne Dashwood is young, flirtatious, and ready to meet a knight in shining armor. Her sister, Elinor, is more restrained—she knows that when it comes to romance, slow and steady wins the race. But while both seem to have found what they want, the path to happiness isn’t as straight as they first imagined. True love has a habit of breaking the rules and turning up when it’s least expected…

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