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 (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.
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.
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You can find Scents and Sensibility digitally on Amazon Video
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.