The Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, must search for a new house with their mother; their former home and the majority of the money having been inherited by their half-brother at the passing of their father. The family is given the lease of a cottage by a kind cousin. Disciplined and restrained Elinor forms an attachment to quiet Edward Ferrars, while her impetuous and emotional sister Marianne falls for dashing John Willoughby. However, the Dashwoods' lack of fortune and the strict social structure of 18th century England affects the marriage prospects of both sisters. Written by
The advantage this television version has over the later 1995 film version directed by Ang Lee is that due to its length it allows more important scenes to be shown. This good BBC version keeps in the visit of Edward Ferrers to Barton Cottage and of Willoughby to see Marianne when she is ill. It also deletes the third sister Margaret, which I think is to the good.
It is important when doing Jane Austen not to over act, as suppression makes for tension, and in this the actors do a fine job. The scenes between Elinor Dashwood and Lucy Steele are excellent, seething and polite at the same time. Julia Chambers as Lucy Steele is excellent and equally as good as Imogen Stubbs in the 1995 film.
The male actors are not all bland, Donald Douglas gives a jolly performance and Peter Gale is perfectly unctuous as John Dashwood, but also sympathetic, caught as he is between a domineering wife and mother in law. Bosco Hogan and Robert Swann are a bit dull however.
This is not a sumptuous Hollywood version but fine on its own terms.
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