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Friday, October 10, 2008

Sense and sensibility (1995)

Jane Austen's novel, 'Sense and Sensibility', published in 1811, has been a fairly popular and acclaimed work of fiction; it is also used in English literature studies. The novel was the first work by Jane Austen to be published, and describes the lives of a English family, used to riches, and suddenly deprived of their riches. They need to fend for themselves, while retaining their pride and honor, and as was expected in those times, to make a good marriage for themselves. The sense and sensibility is in terms of doing the right thing, listening to both the heart and mind, and eventually making a good life.
The movie was written by Emma Thomson, who was initially hesitant to play the lead role, that of the eldest daughter Elinor, and who finally agreed after the age of the character was changed to 27 (from the 19 in the book). The movie (directed by Ang Lee) was both a commercial and critical success; it cost around $16 million to make, and earned a total of more than $130 million worldwide. In addition, the movie was nominated for 7 Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Actress), and won one of them.

Sense and Sensibility (film)

The story is about the family of Mrs. Dashwood and her 3 daughter, Elinor (Emma Thomson), Marianne (Kate Winslet), and Margaret (Emilie Francois). Mrs. Dashwood was the second wife of Mr. Dashwood, and the family is horrified to find out that the estate of Noland Park left to John Dashwood, the son from the first marriage. John and his wife Fanny (portrayed as greedy, and snobby) move in, and the family soon realize that they need to find quarters elsewhere. They are left with an inheritance of only 500 pounds per year. Pretty soon, Elinor starts feeling an attraction towards Fanny's brother Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), not something encouraged or liked by Fanny or by Edwards' mother.
The Dashwoods eventually find residence in Barton Cottage, a small house in Barton Park in Devonshire, owned by a cousin of Mrs. Dashwood, Sir John Middleton. There, an older Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman, playing a character 35 years old) also meets them and falls for Marianne, but Marianne ignores these feelings. She feels more for the young and dashing John Willoughby, who seems to reciprocate her feelings, but at the same time has made the ward of Colonel Brandon, Eliza Williams, pregnant. He is removed from his inheritance and moves to London, leaving an emptiness in Marianne.
The movie is all about the situation that the sisters and their related characters face, and how circumstances eventually lead them to loving relationships. They are not so wealthy as before, but both Elinor and Marianne make happy marriages and lead a good life.

Academy nominations:
- Academy Award for Best Picture (nominated)
- Academy Award for Best Actress (Emma Thompson, nominated)
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet, nominated)
- Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (Won)
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography (nominated)
- Academy Award for Best Costume Design (nominated)
- Academy Award for Best Original Score (nominated)

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