Thought to be the “best” by most Austen fans, thanks to its high acclaim and award-winning talents, much of this feature films’ flaws are too much to overcome. Or at least in my opinion they are.

The story remains the same as always starting with the recently deceased Mr. John Dashwood. According to the law, he is forced to leave the entirety of his estate to his eldest and only son, John. Ill without expectation of becoming well again, at his deathbed Mr. Dashwood begs his son to do something for his wife (Gemma Jones), John’s stepmother, and their three girls. All of whom will have barely enough to live on. John’s selfish wife, Fanny descends upon Norland as soon as it’s legally theirs; all with the intent of putting out her husband’s step-family. Eldest daughter, Elinor (Emma Thompson) sees things how they are, her mother and sister, Marianne (Kate Winslet) continue to dream. The one bit of joy comes in the unexpected visit of Fanny’s eldest brother, Edward (Hugh Grant).

Sense & Sensibility (1995) Film Review

And thus the story really gets going. So much of this adaptation is… good. There is a romantic, almost sorrowful score, star-power name recognition and all the passionate sensibility that likely, Jane would approve of, but sometimes even in that it lacks. My first introduction to this story was Emma Thompson’s screenplay and as such, it has some nostalgia. However after further education on the original material (I did work my way through the novel!), seeing other interpretations (the 1981 and 2008 miniseries) and understanding more the intent of the characters, some of the misrepresentations or dismissive manners of plots are quite obvious.

Jane’s novel is actually much more “complicated” than Emma’s script. Having left out certain characters or changing certain points isn’t in bad taste , because all it does is suit the ease of transferring from book to screen and give more time to the characters. The book reads as if the majority is from Elinor’s perspective all without really coming off that way. Marianne seems more at the forefront in the movie because her romance is so dramatic and such a large part in-between that takes us from the opening to how she ultimately comes to terms with not only her disappointments but herself.

TV MINISERIES REVIEW | ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Masterpiece Review: A Perfect Adaptation

Unfortunately, casting is probably the biggest faux pas. Largely it’s inferior to the latest adaption. Before those of you shaking your head, saying how insane I am to say such a thing try to argue the point, see the miniseries first. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I had doubts at first too. Thinking, there is no way any of these performers will top the blockbuster film, and indeed they don’t… at first. It takes time for each of the young, mainly newcomer of a cast (at the time) to win me over, and when they finally do, there is no point in trying to change my mind! For my part, the two I’m most “attached” too in this film is Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet (and even for lesser parts, Hugh Laurie); they have the most potential to be  “irreplaceable.”

Rickman, because he’s dashing as an ideal hero and Winslet for playing Marianne with such fervent passion. In the beginning, I’d no idea that Brandon is only supposed to be thirty-five (and Rickman is really too old for the role). However, it never bothers me. Now, after much whining, trepidation and griping, I cannot help but admit that David Morrissey has nearly won me over with his impression of the colonel. The one truly weak link here is Hugh Grant; his performance is a “thumbs down” job. Emma always plays her roles well – I’ve yet to see her in a bad acting job, but playing Elinor doesn’t work. Partly, I’m biased by her casting because I detest Emma’s crying fiasco in the final ten minutes. I “understand” its purpose, but never the less find it almost painful.

Most costume dramas boast a superb costume design, I don’t love this one, but have heard it’s pretty authentic. Most the movie unfolds as a beautiful love story; one that is passionate but fleeting; another steadfast, not to be returned and another still cut short before it can grow. It also about two sisters who find fault with one another’s behavior and conduct, only to come out of their lessons and experiences better people.

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You can find Sense & Sensibility (1995) digitally on Amazon Video


‘SENSE & SENSIBILITY’ (1995): THE ONE WITH TOO MANY SILLY TEARS. A review of the popular period drama from Jane Austen. All text is © Rissi JC

Content: nothing to note. There is some innuendo regarding the philandering of Willoughby, but it’s not terrible. There’s low cut period dress. Sense & Sensibility (1995) is PG.


About Rissi JC

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

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