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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on May 16, 2004
This movie is one of my all-time favorites. I watch it because I find it warm and comforting. The drama and acting was superb.
I think Alan Rickman just about stole the show. He's wonderful in everything. This is the only movie that I've seen him play a good guy, and he's absolutely wonderful. You can't help but to fall in love with him. Where are the Colonel Brandons of this world!
I was highly impressed with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. They were so convincing as the Dashwood sisters that I'll never be able to separate them from the roles.
On top of the fine acting, magnificent scenery, and lovely costumes, you have thoughtful cinematography. Pay close attention to the framing of the scenes. I particularly like the scene where the atlas is delivered to the cottage but not by Edward. While Elinor and her mother are talking about Edward you notice that the camera zooms away. The door frame becomes a picture frame for the scene. You feel like you're in the house, almost eavesdropping. Then Elinor closes the atlas as if to say the conversation is over. There are subtle moves like that throughout the entire movie.
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on July 15, 2004
It seems that for a few years, Hollywood couldn't turn out Austen movies fast enough. This is the only English production of the bunch, and it is wonderful.
The casting is perfect. I thought it very silly that Emma Thompson was going to be the 19 year old Eleanor, and since she produced the movie I thought that was just silly vanity. But she is actually perfect as the too-sensible-for-her-own-good Eleanor. Kate Winslet is great as flaky Marianne. Even little Margaret (Austen's only fully-realized child character) is great as the spunky pre-teen. I remember when the movie came out one reviewer said that Hugh Grant's character "looks like he's forgotten to take the coat hanger out of his clothing" and that is so true... but he's so good as the clueless cad.
The film is beautifully shot, with great sets and scenery. It's a little hard for a modern person to understand why the Dashwoods were so upset to have to move to such a charming cottage! Historical perspective is maintained in the movie, though.
It is also very well written, with my very favourite line in any movie appearing (though I've read the book twice looking for it). Truly words to live by, Mrs. Dashwood tells blabbermouth Margaret that if she can't think of anything appropriate to say, "please keep your conversation to the roads and the weather!" Advice that has never failed me yet :-)
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on July 5, 2004
This is a wonderful movie with a wonderful cast and beautiful script. I don't really know what else to say except that I absolutely adore this film. Alan Rickman is superb as Colonel Brandon, I fall in love with him over and over again each time I watch this movie. He's wonderful, as is Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars. Both characters are so likeable and real, they fit perfectly with their characters and make each viewing as enjoyable as the last. Kate Winslet, as well, is one of my favorite actresses. She fits so well in period pieces like this one.
This film is great whether or not you've read the book. It's good all on it's own. My only complaint is that I cannot picture Eleanor as only 19. While I've always pictured her well above her years, I have a difficult time accepting her age in the film. This is overlooked by Emma Thompson's brilliant portrayal of her.
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One of the Dashwood daughters is smart, down-to-earth and sensible. The other is wildly romantic and sensitive.

When those daughters are from Jane Austen novel, you can guess that there are going to be romantic problems aplenty for both of them -- along with the usual entailment issues, love triangles, sexy bad boys and societal scandals. Ang Lee deftly adapted Ausen's "Sense and Sensibility" into the sort of movie it should be -- a lushly beautiful, quietly passionate period drama.

When Mr. Dashwood dies, his entire estate is entailed to his weak son John and snotty daughter-in-law Fanny. His widow (Gemma Jones) and her three daughters are left with little money and no home.

Over the next few weeks, the eldest daughter Elinor (Emma Thompson) begins to fall for Fanny's studious, quiet brother Edward (Hugh Grant)... but being the down-to-earth one, she knows she hasn't got a chance. Her impoverished family soon relocates to Devonshire, where a tiny cottage is being rented to them by one of Mrs. Dashwood's relatives -- and Marianne (Kate Winslet) soon attracts the attention of two men. One is the quiet, much older Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), and the other is the dashing and romantic Willoughby (Greg Wise).

But things begin to spiral out of control when Willoughby seems about to propose to Marianne... only to abruptly break off his relationship with her. And during a trip to London, both Elinor and Marianne discover devastating facts about the men they are in love with -- both of them are engaged to other women. And after disaster strikes the Dashwood family, both the sisters will discover what real love is about...

I have to give Emma Thompson credit -- she not only turns in a brilliant, tightly-wound performance as Elinor (although she does look a bit old for the role), but she also wrote the faithful, solidly written script for Ang Lee's movie. The narrative glides silkily through the story, and adapts Austen's writing into elegantly vivid dialogue ("Can he love her? Can the soul really be satisfied with such... POLITE affections?") with some moments of gentle humor ("How did you find the silver? Was it all genuine?").

And Ang Lee takes what Thompson has wrought and makes it even lovelier, filling it with pale light, misty country hills, luxurious manorhouses, sunlit gardens and yards, and rain-swept fields where handsome men go riding on horseback. He has the knack for coaxing intense emotions from small gestures and words, and evoking budding love that is unsaid and unexpressed until the end (especially for Edward and Elinor). The absolute peak of his skill is right before Marianne's terrible illness, when she's left standing on a hilltop in the rain, whispering a Shakespearean sonnet.

Marianne and Elinor make excellent dual heroines for this book -- that still love and cherish each other, even though their polar opposite personalities frequently clash. Thompson plays Elinor as being tightly wound and a bit repressed, while Winslet races joyously through the dramatic and romantic parts of the story, only for Marianne to crash and burn when Willoughby betrays her.

And the supporting cast is no less brilliant -- Jones and Rickman are particularly good as the girls' loving mother, and the mellow, quiet Colonel Brandon (the man "everyone thinks well of, and nobody remembers to talk to") who stands by hoping for Marianne's happiness. Wise, Robert Hardy, Elizabeth Spriggs and Harriet Walters all give excellent performances, and even Hugh Grant (who usually annoys me like an unreachable itch) did a good job as the shy, studious Edward.

"Sense and Sensibility" is an emotionally powerful tale about two very different sisters, and the rocky road to finding a lasting love. And it was beautifully done by both of the people at its core -- Thompson's writing and acting, and Ang Lee's direction.
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on January 21, 1999
I really enjoyed this movie mostly because of the acting talent. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet did an incredibly good job of bringing their characters to life. After reading Sense and Sensibility, I also realized that this version was very close to the actual text. For anyone who likes romance movies, try this one and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!
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on September 1, 2003
Sense & Sensibility is my favorite Jane Austen novel and this film version was very well done, but it is also very abridged. Obviously the story had to be edited to fit into a two hour movie, but several important plot points seem to be omitted. If someone hasn't read the book certain parts of the story seem vague, such as the relationship between Edward and Lucy. The performances by the cast, especially Winslet and Rickman were top notch. In my opinion this has been Kate Winslet's best performance yet and she should have won the oscar. I usually like Emma Thompson, but to put it blunt, she was about twenty years too old to play Elinor. All in all this was a enjoyable film, the production quality and the performance by Kate Winslet is reason enough to watch this movie.
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on December 9, 2013
Ang Lee's superb movie based on an equally marvelous screenplay by Emma Thompson exudes the sort of timeless propriety, decorum, good sense...and yes, sensibility that Jane Austen herself might have desired from a movie - if only movies had been around in Austen's time.

The cast is extraordinary and Patrick Doyle's sublime score elevates the whole affair to an exemplar of the costume drama/comedy. This disc looks fairly good, albeit there are some crushed blacks in the darker scenes. Otherwise, colors are rich, fine detail pleasing and everything looks as it should in 1080p. Enjoy.
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on May 18, 2000
Don't miss this movie! It's a brilliant adaptation of the Jane Austen classic and simply lovely to watch. Emma Thompson did an excellent job on the screenplay, and deservedly won an Oscar for her efforts.
I agree that in the age department, Emma Thompson was not suited to carry the role of Elinor Dashwood (who's supposed to be only 19). However, Ms Thompson's acting was brilliant and flawless, and as the story unfolds and draws you in, you hardly remember to notice or care about the age factor anymore. I thought Emma Thompson's portrayal of Elinor was not unlike the character of Margaret Schlegel (which she played in "Howards End") who's also a kind gentlewoman who loves too much and suffers inwardly.
As a story, "Sense and Sensibility" (S&S) has a far more serious premise compared to 2 other Austen works ie. "Emma" and "Mansfield Park". Perhaps this partly explains why S&S is the more highly-acclaimed movie (it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars) compared to Gwyneth Paltrow's "Emma" and Frances O'Connor's "Manfield Park". In S&S, there are very sad scenes involving unrequited love, quiet suffering (Elinor's and Col. Brandon's) and long illness (Marianne's). Many scenes will make you reach for that box of tissues eg. when the always calm-and-collected Elinor burst into uncontrollable tears the moment she hears the (happy) truth concerning Edward Ferrar's situation, and when Marianne (still lying ill in her bed) thanks Col. Brandon softly (for all his help and kindness).
I also admire Alan Rickman's acting. He is perfect as Col. Brandon, a very good man whose love for Marianne is (sadly) unrequited. His love is of the best kind - he doesn't court with (empty) flowery words, instead he displays so much care, concern, lovingness and tenderness by his every look towards Marianne and by his every action to make her well and happy. I was nicely surprised that in the movie, Col. Brandon looks more dashing and handsome than John Willoughby (to me anyway).
Kate Winslet's "Marianne" is adorable as well. She sings beautifully and has such grace and beauty that it's no wonder men fell in love with her at first sight.
I shall not give away the ending, of course. But for the benefit of any viewer who have not read the novel but wish for a better and more satisfying understanding of the final scene involving Marianne, just remember the following sentence which I quote from the novel:
"Marianne could never love by halves."
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on February 9, 2002
There are two movies I watch with my little sis when I feel in that "girl bonding" mood. One is "Little Women" and this beautiful film is the other. It centers around two sisters, who are very different, but a complement to each other. Marianne, played by the beautiful Kate Winslet, and Eleanor played by the impeccably talented Emma Thompson (who also wrote the screenplay). What is so refreshing about Jane Austen's writing is how her novels seem contemporary even though they are not. Her characters speak and behave in ways that anyone today might speak or behave. The relationships in this film between Eleanor and Edward, and Marianne and Willoughby are very familiar to us because they are typical of a modern day relationship. Who hasn't been in a situation like Eleanor? You desperately want to be with someone, but you're too afraid to tell them, or there's someone else in the way? Or maybe you've been in a relationship like Marianne's, where you're dumped for no apparent reason except money? This film conveys the love, joy, and pain of these two sisters in a way that is sometimes witty, sometimes sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking. Break out the Kleenax! =)
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on April 19, 2000
This beautiful celluloid adaptation of my favourite Austen novel really is well-worth all the awards it was nominated for and received.
But why, oh why, was Emma Thompson cast as Elinor Dashwood? In this film it seems that Elinor is supposed to be a spinster but in the book Elinor is only nineteen and far from having "lost her bloom" as her half-brother John Dashwood (James Fleet) puts it.
Having said that, however, Thompson does do a good job as the sensible, pragmatic eldest sister who has to appoint herself head of the family when her father dies and their mean, snobby sister-in-law sees to it that they are left in poverty.
Everyone here is well-cast from dashing young good-for-nothing Willoughby (Greg Wise) who casts a spell on impressionable young Marianne (Kate Winslet) to the gentle and sensitive Colonel Brandon whose faithful love for the said young lady appears unrequited.
And I like the actress who plays the youngest sister, Margaret. She certainly shows promise.
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