BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sense and Sensibility

This Thanksgiving, I watched Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Huge Grant, and Alan Rickman. This move is from 1995, so I'm not going to worry about spoilers. I figure anyone who wants to see it, has by now. :-)

Mr. Dashwood dies, and by the inheritance laws, everything goes to his first-born son, leaving his second wife and three daughters penniless. He gets his son to promise to take care of the family, but his conniving and witch of a wife manages to talk him down to doing nothing for them. While they're trying to find somewhere that they can afford to live, the witch's eldest brother (Hugh Grant) arrives and it turns out he's not only kind, but he'd like to be a minister. He develops an affection for Elinor (Emma Thompson) which the witch detests and she arranges to have her brother recalled to London.

The widowed Mrs. Dashwood announces that a cousin has offered them a cottage on his property and she and the girls move to a new part of the country. And along with the cousin, they meet his mother-in-law? (I can't remember) and she turns out to be a matchmaker. She tries to set up Marianne (Kate Winslet) with Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman).

Marianne, though, finds herself taken by the dashing Willoughby who turns out to be a libertine who dumps her to marry for money. One of his past affairs got him in trouble and he needs the money of an heiress. Marianne is heartbroken at first, but over time realizes that Brandon is more worthy of her love and her feelings for him change.

In the meantime, some Lucy person tells Elinor that she's been secretly engaged to the wannabe minister, which breaks Elinor's heart, although she's too circumspect to show it. When Lucy informs the witch of the engagement, Hugh Grant's character loses his fortune to his youngest brother (although I'm not sure how since inheritance law should apply across the board, yes?) and this Lucy chick marries the younger brother who's now rich. That leaves the minister free to marry Elinor.

The movie closes with the double wedding of the two sisters--Marianne and Brandon and Elinor and the minister. Willoughby is on the hillside, watching and knowing that the woman he loves is lost to him for all time and he's stuck in his loveless marriage. The End.

First off, let me say that my parents have become leery whenever I bring a movie over for Thanksgiving. I have a terrible track record for having duds on this holiday. Unfortunately, this year wasn't any better.

My folks managed to sleep through most of the movie. When they did wake up, I got all kinds of questions. I had to tell my dad three times that Emma Thompson wasn't Kate Winslet's mother. I saw why he was confused, though. Emma Thompson was too old for the role she played.

The plot seemed convoluted and it left far too many questions unanswered. Who was this Lucy chick and was she really secretly engaged to Hugh Grant's character for five years? Or was she in cahoots with the witch? How'd Lucy end up with the younger brother and why was the younger brother interested in her? How did the younger brother get handed the family fortune? And if the family disowned the older brother for being engaged to Lucy, why didn't they then take the fortune away from the youngest brother when he married her?

Maybe if I'd read the Jane Austen book that this movie is based on, I would have had a better understanding of what was going on, but I hadn't read it. I wasn't lost, but the movie just seemed to skim over things that I wanted answers for. Of course, squeezing a novel into a 2 hour movie isn't easy, but it would have been better to leave some stuff out rather than have unanswered questions. At least IMO.

I also kept thinking where is Marianne's chaperon? Isn't her mother or someone worried she'll ruin herself? That was a huge deal back then, at least that's the take I get on it. Yet she's running hither and yon with Willoughby who's a libertine. Huh?

Anyway, overall I found the movie a bit dull and I didn't find the romances believable. Elinor takes a couple of walks with the wannabe minister and they're both in love. Marianne being infatuated with Willoughby was a little easier to understand because she was so into her emotions and he did rescue her and all, but you just knew there was something off about the man. How she switched her affections to Col. Brandon is never shown, we just see her attitude has changed as the colonel reads to her and then boom, they're getting married. I wanted more.

My rating: 2 stars out of 5