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Jonny Lee Miller
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Jonny Lee Miller,
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 Devonshire. There, the prevailing ambition is to find suitable husbands for the girls. With help from wealthy neighbor Sir John Middleton, suitors for Elinor and Marianne are soon found, but not landed. They include dashing Willoughby, future vicar Edward Ferrars and retired colonial gentleman Colonel Brandon. Written by
The scene: Elinor finds Edward chopping wood in the rain. We see Elinor approaching with her arms holding the shawl over her head and shoulders. When the shot shifts and we see Elinor from her back, the shawl is covering only her head, with arms over the shawl. See more »
Truth is, my wife is (was) the family's one Jane Austen addict so I had zero inkling up-front of the two truly extraordinary story arcs. To say that this production is one wild, nail-biting roller-coaster ride is putting it pretty mildly.
To follow Hattie Morahan's warm, kind, brave and hypnotically beautiful Elinor through to her dismal and heart-breaking dead-end in life, via a seeming never-ending series of emotional whacks... that's story-telling of the most profoundest kind.
And then into that truly stunning few moments where eyes are absolutely GLUED to Elinor's quivering back... that's movie-making beyond awesome.
I've dutifully watched the movie version too now. These REALLY go well together. The movie is intensely beautiful to look at and has great crowd scenes. Highly worth watching for the alternative take on the Marianne story; I liked it without necessarily preferring it. Each version has some dialog that greatly helps understand points in the other.
No review I've read yet has mentioned the great voice-over commentary on the DVD. Director, producer and four leads. Nice happy family that one is. Hattie Morahan is self-effacing almost to the point of invisibility, but she has a truly great laugh we hear often. Remarks by "Edward" and "Marianne" and "Willoughby" are warm, funny and at times really insightful, and leave one liking each of them a lot.
Plus we hear just how the director and producer arrived at many of their outcomes, adjusted things post-production, set up the scenes in the many houses and the studios, struggled for continuity, and came up with that proposal scene - told in that self-effacing and often funny British way, but they're true talents.
And Janeites, please get this: the team makes it increasingly clear that there are several hours of unused scenes still in the can. They are not offered here on this DVD. So, a 4-or-5-hour director's-cut version? Okay. You know what to do...
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