Mar 28

Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winsley, Hugh Grant ★

I have recently reviewed the movie “Pride and Prejudice”, and suggest that you review that review and the subsequent comments before reading this review. This is another of the Jane Austen novels put to film, and I will be doing several more Jane Austen reviews before the end of the year. As mentioned previously, I have absolutely no intention as to ever reading any of her books.

I’m not sure if Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility first or Pride and Prejudice first, but it is of little regard, since they are essentially exactly the same story, names and a few details changed. I guess that Jane ran out of creative juices. Perhaps the only difference is that the lead eligible maiden (Maryann) preferred men that read Shakespeare, rather than prefer dancing. The general details of the story between the two novels are practically identical. A family loses its fortune (in this instance, through the death of father) and must move out of the mansion with numerous servants to live like paupers in an ordinary house without servants. Yet, the two oldest eligible maidens are equally pursued by very wealthy gentlemen. The suitors mysteriously disappear to London, and the two oldest daughters journey to London to find their loves. Maryann discovers her lover is now interested in a more wealthy maiden, and so she eventually falls back in love with her original love interest, Snipe, who should have taken her back to Hogwarts. Eleanor discovers that her lover, whom she thought was engaged to somebody else, has broken off that engagement. Maryann goes through a near death experience, miraculously comes back to life, and the movie ends as a double wedding, just as in Pride and Prejudice. I was able to predict half way through the film exactly what would happen, based on recently watching Pride and Prejudice.

Why the title Sense and Sensibility? I presume it is because the oldest daughter, Eleanor, had the most common sense, and tended to hold in her emotions. The middle daughter, Maryann, was an emotional, flirty, “artistic” and impractical type, an addle-brained maiden desperate for a man (just like P&P!). Realism is lost in the novels. Wealth, like in P&P, simply did not exist as such in England at the time of Austen’s books. The gentlemen are aptly defined in the script of the movie as “men without an occupation or profession, and nothing to do” (loose quote). Austen herself was never married, so these novels were probably her painting wishful fantasies of herself into the feminine characters of her books. I know of many young ladies who have watched these films and used them as models for behavior and desire in courtship. In reality, this movie, as in P&P, only makes sense if really viewed as a comedy rather than a romance novel. Because of extreme similarity and “fictions” of both S&S and P&P, I will not be belaboring my point any longer to the weariness of the reader.

I will next be reviewing “North and South” based on a family recommendation. Then I will get back to several more Jane Austen novels. Since I have not seen these movies, you’ll have to wait for my comments.

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