Oh my fucking god. Here we go again.
Why am I putting myself through the torture of watching the same movie for 25 days in a row again? Well, it’s all for you. Seriously, you were all so amazing and excited last year for the 25 Days of Pride & Prejudice, so I could hardly say no. I put it to a vote a few weeks ago, and y’all came back and said you wanted me to watch Sense & Sensibility this year.
So here I am, it’s 11pm on Friday, and I have HAD A WEEK, but I am COMMITTED to the cause. I WILL watch this movie! I WILL blog! (If I repeat it enough forcefully, it must be true, right?)
Just in case there was any confusion, I am of course talking about the seminal Austen classic, the 1995 movie version of Sense & Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee and starring and written by Emma Thompson, (who I believe won an Academy Award for it) also starring an extremely fresh-faced Kate Winslet, (pre-Titanic, even) and an even more baby-faced (if that was possible) Hugh Grant. And of course, of course of course, the late, great, Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon.
A couple of things before I start though — as always, we don’t bash adaptions here. I suspect I’ll run into this less this year because this movie (for some reason?) doesn’t inspire the out and out hate that the 2 005 Pride & Prejudice does. Regardless, I want to say that any jest is made in good faith and from a place of truly loving this movie, and never with any ill will. That is to say, if you’ve come here to see me rip a new one out of this movie, best leave now. If you expect 25 blogs that will make you think and laugh and maybe rewatch Sense & Sensibility in a new light, welcome!
It’s a fine line. Please don’t be one of those people (on any of our platforms) by talking shit about this movie just because you may not like it. Let people have their joy.
Secondly, I’d really love it if you have any ideas for blogs, please send them my way. It’s Day 1 and I’m already like “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…”
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how stunningly perfect this movie is.
I have a theory that this is the (modern) Austen adaption that inspires all others.
Or at least, it should.
Despite it being more than 20 years old, it doesn’t feel like it. Honestly that’s always been one of my qualms with the Pride & Prejudice miniseries. It was also made in 1995 but it shows its years far more than this movie does. I think we have to chalk to up greatly to the talents of Ang Lee’s directing and Emma Thompson’s writing.
Costumes are beautifully made (and as I want to discuss further in a future blog, they age appropriately with the declining fortunes of the Dashwood family), the scenes are period appropriate, and the language is accessible while still evoking Austen’s prose. There are so many adaptions that would kill to have any one of those going for it, and I think the more successful adaptions that followed–in some way–base themselves on what Sense & Sensibility first did so well.
And that brings up a further success that I think this movie does well: It is easy to understand.
I think sometimes people have issues feeling solidarity with characters set in the past. The customs and language are just too far removed from our own to feel a connection. But in this movie, I truly feel Elinor’s despair, and Marianne’s sensitivity. I commiserate with Colonel Brandon and despise Willoughby for his actions. This is a far, far better characterization than many adaptions that try to stick too closely to the source material. As much as I love her, Austen is simply not accessible to every reader. This movie is a perfect entry point for those who want to start somewhere easy without losing the canonical setting and timeframe of Austen’s works.
Anyway, the first night is always the easiest, especially because I haven’t watched Sense & Sensibility in a few weeks in preparation for this! So please, join me again tomorrow night when I really have to dig in and accept my fate.
Thanks for tuning in!