There probably aren’t many girls who haven’t lost themselves inside a Jane Austen novel or enjoyed one of the many film adaptations. Through the years, many of these versions play often on my TV screen. For the most part, I’m also always curious about anything “inspired” by Austen’s timeless classics, like this 2011 film. scents and sensibility

Scents and Sensibility (2011) Film Review

Life as they know it comes crashing down around the Dashwood family. Marianne (Marla Sokoloff) is now a college graduate, only the FBI interrupts her celebration to arrest her father for a ponzi-like scheme. This turn of events automatically freezes the family’s accounts and seizes all valuables. Sensible Eleanor (Ashley Williams) sets out to reassure their mother that everything will be okay. Then there is little sister, Margaret (Danielle Churchran), who depends on several thousand dollars a month in medicine.

‘SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY’ (2011). A modern version of the Jane Austen classic about two very different sisters. All text is © Rissi JC

Eleanor eventually gets a job at a high-class spa which results in meeting her boss’ easy-going lawyer brother, Edward (Brad Johnson). Meanwhile, Marianne pines for her boyfriend John (Jason Celaya) who is working overseas. Distracting herself with interviews, she becomes tired of being rejected, so she lies on her application and is hired as the copy assistant at an office where she meets the handsome Brandon (Nick Zano).

I am not such a staunch Austen purist that I don’t enjoy modern variations. One such example is the Bollywood adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in the colorful, Bride and Prejudice. My impression of this isn’t nearly as curious, just knowing it’s a remake of Sense and Sensibility made it easy watching. What this film reveals is some cute antics but nothing that’s all that memorable either.


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The first few scenes of the movie has bad sound quality that fortunately seems to even out. The story then settles into a comfortable, easy rhythm that makes it easy to match characters with their iconic counterparts. Another downfall is the styling and acting. In nearly everything I see Sokoloff in, she looks the same in every single role; it’s kind of like she does her own looks. Neither she nor Williams are at their best. Aside from some awkward acting brought on by a sometimes ridiculous script, rarely do the actors fit these parts. John doesn’t have the appearance of a heartbreaker any more than Sokoloff plays an overdramatic, heartbroken girl. Edward and Brandon are pretty, most especially Brandon though here he’s much closer in age to Marianne. Also, even as awkward as it is, who can help but cheer that he gets to punch John Willoughby?

As pessimistic about this as I am, it’s cute. There’s some sweet scenes and apart from a few implications, the film is a wholesome one. With the time the film has, everything condenses well, though obviously the film does take liberties. The story has a cute little twist which may not make up for the low-budget flubs but certainly gives this movie basketfuls of sappy charm in its own right.

Content: There’s some minor flirtatious remarks and the girls giggle over cute guys; there is mention to a former affair that could ruin a man, and another woman steals formula secrets to further her own. The film is PG/PG-13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I'd put this movie on the backburner for a while, because I was really dissapointed in From Prada to Nada, the 'other' S&S modern adaptation (I think you also reviewed it a while ago?) But if you say that despite its flaws it's a nice one-time watch, I'll probably give it a go!

    1. This one is more "childish" and innocent than From Prada to Nada. Ironically, overall, I preferred that one over this. It was better production and acting wise, however I appreciate this one because it's wholesome. (Or mostly it is.) Hope you enjoy this one – let me know what you think if/when you see it, Birdienl. :)

  2. Wow, what timing! I had this in my Amazon "Saved for Later" section for sometime when I had some extra super-saver to make-up or something. I'd never heard anybody mention it before, so I'm glad to know that it's probably not worth putting too high on my list. :) It sounds fun though, so maybe I can find a way to watch it without actually having to buy it. :)

    1. LOL! Love what you planned to save this one for, Kellie. I have to add items like that also. It's always an annoyance when I get the order all together and suddenly it pops up saying, "add $2.21 to qualify for free shipping." It's such a little thing but rarely can you find the "right amount." *sigh* Way to tempt us, Amazon.

      Hope you can, Kellie! I found it to rent so that was really nice. Let me know what you think if/when you get a chance to see it. :)

      BTW: Been meaning to tell you – love your profile pic! May have to steal your idea for Twitter, Goodreads (are you on Goodreads?), etc. :)

    2. Hehe! The last two orders I tried to make left me with like .62 cents left! What can you buy for under a dollar??? :D No, I'm not on Goodreads, but I've been seeing it around – what exactly is it? I'm assuming it has to do with books and we know I love anything with books. :)

    3. Oh, wow! That would be a challenge. There's nothing for some .62 cents. Sadly.

      Goodreads is really like an on-line reader's journal where you can organize a virtual "bookshelf." You can mark what you're reading, "rate" books you've read, enter giveaways and of course, have some good book conversation. I just recently joined and am having fun with it. It's nice in the sense that it helps you keep better track of your books, but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like just another on-line profile to keep up to date. :)

  3. Let me see…..I enjoyed this although the acting was a bit….um…bad at times ;-) Loved the casting of Edward and Brandon and the whole flower thing was fun. I wish the plot had been better developed however

    I did record this when it is was on TV…so I should watch it again with fresh eyes

    1. Hey, Ella! Glad to see you around, girl. :)

      Yeah, mainly the acting struggled in this one. However I liked the guy who played Brandon (don't remember Edward so much) also. What this "genre" struggles with is too much of a formulaic plot (i.e. Hallmark movies) however it's that dependability that we so love. :)

      The perfume business/plot was unique. That I remember liking.

      Hope you enjoy a second-viewing! It was cute. :)

  4. I saw this on Amazon and was curious about it. Thanks for the review! I've seen just about all adaptations of Austen, modern or no. And yes, some are definitely better than others. This one certainly seems cute enough for a little light entertainment. I kind of had the feeling that it wouldn't be fabulous which is why I've been hesitating to buy it. I will buy some movies without watching first, but wasn't entirely sold on this one. Still, if I get a chance to rent it, seems like it wouldn't be too bad at all. Perhaps a bit like Pride and Prejudice a Latter Day Comedy. Have you seen that one? (I should probably just search your movie tags but. well. anyway. Decided to ask! :P)

    Ha! I so agree! Sokoloff does always look and act the same. Never thought about it before, but you're right! :D

    1. My mother is big on renting before buying a movie. I agree with her, however it's these "kind" of movies I will buy – Hallmarks or direct-to-DVD movies – since rental stores don't get them and I don't use Netflix or stream. Fortunately I did find this one to rent and I was happy not to have bought it. It's cute… just not the best Austen contemporary. :)

      Yes, do see it if you ever find it, Kara. It's actually very similar to P&P: Latter-Day; the production, acting, etc. (That one was cute though I've yet to review it. Hopefully someday!) The acting is mediocre for this S&S however it's "clean" and that counts.

      Yeah, Sokoloff just always looks/acts the same. Don't know why though. :)

  5. Oh, I like this movie… I reviewed it on my blog, too! It is rather cheesy, but it's still a delightfully fun romantic comedy!

    Very sweet and I felt Ashley and Marla played sisters well, although I did have one complaint… their little sister Margaret was not casted well. She looked too old and healthy to play the younger, helpless, sickly sister. I felt that this casting, although I do like the actress, just didn't seem to fit the part.

    All in all, as you said it is wholesome and I just fall for almost anything (as long as it is decent) that is Jane Austen related! It also has a lovely DVD cover.

    By the way, it is often played on Lifetime Movie Network!

    1. It is a sweet movie, Net! I like that it's wholesome and family-appropriate. :)

      The casting wasn't the best. Everyone did okay however there have been other Austen contemporaries I've preferred. Nevertheless, it was adorable! Modern adaptations do tend to take liberties so that is likely why the ages may not have been quite right (or in the case of the 90's S&S, the age of Elinor is quite unbelievable – no matter how good Emma was! :D).

      So glad you liked this one (think I saw your fab review). And thanks for the LMN tip. Really appreciate it. :)

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