SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

Another (and in my opinion the BEST) adaption of Jane Austin's book Sense and Sensibility.

The 'sense and sensibility' of the title refer to different ways of dealing with life, and are represented by two sisters. Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson) represents 'sense', while her younger sister Marianne (Kate Winslet) represents 'sensibility,' a term its modern equivalent might best be described as emotionalism.

The film is a romantic and touching adaptation of which Austen would have been proud, and also offers a delightful portrait of Regency society.

The story begins when Mr. Dashwood dies, but there is significant problem with this beyond the loss of a husband and father. He was a wealthy man and by laws of inheritance, his estate is to go to his son from his first marriage, which leaves poor Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters (Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret) in straitened circumstances. Now penniless and desperate, they are in need of a place to live.

A good-hearted cousin and his well-meaning but somewhat meddlesome mother-in-law Mrs. Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs) takes them in and there they begin to be exposed to many other people of society. This is all very well, but their lack of a good dowry and their overall finacial troubles affects the marriageability of both practical Elinor and romantic Marianne. They are likely to be spinsters for the rest of their days.

In time Elinor, who is very practical and kind, meets the sweet, young and fantastically rich Mr. Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), the younger brother of her very un-kind sister-in-law. They develop a close bond and soon are falling in love with one another, but neither one is sure of the others true feelings. Then Edward's pompous sister Fannie manages to break up the friendship by arranging for Edward to be far away from poor Elinor, leaving her and Edward's hearts broken.

Soon after this, Marriane (who is entirely too fanciful and sensitive to people's actions) meets the dashing and fiery John Willoughby (Greg Wise). But Mrs. Jennings is furiously trying to match her up with the gentle and wealthy Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), who has loved her since he first laid eyes upon her.

But Willoughby is more to Marianne's taste, and she has already fallen in love with him. She is all-too-soon stricken when she learns of his engagement to another. Not for the sake of love, but because of her enormous inheritance, which will have Willoughby set for life.



Meanwhile Elinor is positively downhearted because she thinks that Edward and another girl, the slyly malicious Lucy Steel who has come to visit, are secretly in love with one another. She soon realises that the young girl and Edward have been engaged for the past five years.

Back in the country, Marriane has completely taken leave of her senses and goes walking in a thunderstorm to see Mr. Willoughby and his new wife's house over the hill. She becomes very ill and falls into a semi-coma and develops a horrific fever. Elinor is determined to save her sister's life and does not leave her side for a moment. With the help of Colonel Brandon and an elderly doctor, as well as Elinor's constant words to Marriane to get her to wake up, she finally does recover and they return home.

It seems that both sisters are destined to be husbandless for the remainder of their days. But in the true spirit of Jane Austen's romantic writing, Edward comes back to find Elinor. He explains to her that Lucy has fallen in love with his brother, Robert, who she met at a dance in London. When their mother heard of this, she promptly disinherited Robert.

At this point, Edward tenderly asks Elinor to marry him and she accepts. Likewise, Colonel Brandon finally asks for Marriane's hand in marriage and she also excepts. The two weddings are held on the same day, in the beginning of summer in a little country church with many friends and much happiness all round. And Mr. Willoughby watches from his horse on the hill, saddened that instead of marrying Marriane, the woman he loved, he is stuck in an unhappy marriage all because he worried about the size of his fortune.


     

   

This is true romance, and through the hardships and heartbreak, true love and a happy ending find their way to both the sister who is all sense and the one who is all sensibility.

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