Despite the more than slightly lackluster camera work this is overall an enjoyable incarnation. The cast and crew do a fair justice to the story, the intensity of long sought romance is well executed, and the uncertainty of Wentworth’s affections is duly felt, little else however seems to matter.
The extended time seems to have been ill managed, as the frustrated ghost of an old romance dominates the movie’s psychology with long silences and much scenery. To be fair it does increase the viewer’s pleasure at the inevitable happy outcome. Yet the story seems less lively than its 1995 predecessor. Background characters like the unsurpassable Miss Musgroves, and the involvement with Mrs. Clay and the family’s financial trouble appear almost as grudging afterthoughts. The Musgrove family, particularly sister Mary is disappointing when compared with the wonderful satire of the 1995 version.
Perhaps a close comparison is unfair; this is a very enjoyable and admirably cast production that adheres sufficiently and with engrossing historical detail to one of the best and most mature of the Austin canon.
Overall: a strong effort despite a slightly mouseish, somewhat too young and consistently thunderstruck female lead. Although I stick by the 95 rendition this version is far from unwatchable and shouldn’t be overlooked by the true Austin-aficionado.