Jane Austen's last novel provides the plot for this earlier Granada miniseries. Set in pre-Victorian England, this movie tells the story of Anne Elliot, who now having lost her "bloom" is ... See full summary »
Widow Dashwood and her three unmarried daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, inherit only a tiny allowance. So they move out of their grand Sussex home to a more modest cottage in ... See full summary »
This BBC production, set in the small town of Highbury depicts the often hilarious attempts of Miss Emma Woodhouse to make proper marital matches for all of her friends. Though often ... See full summary »
At age 10, Fanny Price is sent by her destitute mother to live with her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. As a child she was often made to feel that she was the poor relation but... See full summary »
Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside ... See full summary »
Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, a loving father whom she cares for, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her... See full summary »
Jonny Lee Miller
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
"Sense and Sensibility" (1981) is a BBC mini-series directed by Rodney Bennett. The basic plot of Jane Austen's novel is familiar. The Dashwood sisters are forced to leave their home because their elder half-brother inherits the estate after their father dies.
Elinor Dashwood (played by Irene Richard) represents "sense." She is practical and pragmatic. Marianne Dashwood (Tracey Childs) represents "sensibility." The meaning of this word has drifted over the years. In Austen's time its meaning was closer to "sensitivity." Marianne is the romantic sister. She loves music and she awaits the man who can sweep her off her feet. Each sister finds a true love, and in both cases their love is thwarted. How they respond to their situation is what makes this a great novel.
How directors respond to this great novel is also interesting. Starting in 1971, four versions of Sense and Sensibility have been brought to the screen. Three were made for television by the BBC, and the fourth was a theatrical film from 1995 directed by Ang Lee, and starring Emma Thompson as Elinor and Kate Winslet as Marianne.
We have recently watched all four versions. Although this 1981 version carries a dismal IMDb rating of 6.8, we liked it the best of the four.
All of the versions have high production values, and all are worth seeing. Although all the movies are based on the same novel, they are all quite different. If you had the time and inclination you could compare the four versions on many variables. For example, there are three critical male characters in the films, and at least a dozen other important supporting roles. What the directors emphasize, and how the actors respond,gives each version different strengths and weaknesses.
In my opinion, Irene Richard and Tracey Childs embody the characters that Austen created better than in any other version. Peter Woodward makes the perfect John Willoughby, the romantic hero with whom Marianne is in love. It's an important supporting role, and Woodward portrays it extremely well. To me, this version looked and felt closer to Austen than any of the others.
It's not clear to me why other IMDb members didn't appreciate this movie. I loved it, and I recommend it as the Sense and Sensibility to watch if you're only going to watch one version. However, all of the versions are available on DVD. Why not watch all four and decide for yourself which is the best?
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