When Mr. Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson) dies, he must leave the bulk of his estate to the son by his first marriage, which leaves his second wife and their three daughters Elinor (Dame Emma Thompson), Marianne (Kate Winslet), and Margaret (Emilie François), in straitened circumstances. They are taken in by a kindly cousin, but their lack of fortune affects the marriageability of practical Elinor and romantic Marianne. When Elinor forms an attachment for the wealthy Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), his family disapproves and separates them. And though Mrs. Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs) tries to match the worthy (and rich) Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) to her, Marianne finds the dashing and fiery John Willoughby (Greg Wise) more to her taste. Both relationships are sorely tried.Written by
Included amongst the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »
The baby that Mr. Palmer holds is wearing a disposable diaper underneath his 18th century clothing. See more »
[Edward and Elinor are baiting Margaret, who is playfully hiding]
I, eh, wish to check the position of the Nile. My sister tells me it is in South America.
Oh. No. No, um, she's quite wrong, um, for I believe it is in Belgium.
Belgium. Surely not, I think you must be thinking of the Volga.
[under the table]
Of course, the Volga, which, as you know, starts in...
Vladivostock, and ends in...
Precisely. Where the coffee beans come from.
Ugh! The source of the Nile is in ...
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Jane Austen: This is her first and most human-centered work. More than cruel commentary on society this is -- Deft work.
Emma Thompson: Her former husband is a decent actor, but his genius is in understanding how to cinematize Shakespeare -- no small challenge and no small talent. I'm thinking of how he would later put Kate's Ophelia in a padded cell! What Emma has done here is change a detached narrative text into discrete scenes anchored by dialogue. A cursory comparison with other Austen films (except the later 'Emma' which borrows much from this) will bear this out.
Ang Lee: This is Lee's first English film, and already since he has established himself as a sensitive master of vision, like Ridley Scott and Steven Soderbergh. Lots of sensitive uses of the space, especially doorways. Many hard/soft contrasts (which he equates with sense and sensibility which is okay). He is a subtle visualist. Subsequent work is more confident than this, but its all softly refined, understated.
Kate Winslet: All of the above are the results of first seriously public efforts and Kate's case is the same. At this writing seven years later, she is one of the anchors of multidimensional film acting. Kate makes this whole thing live. Austen's stance is one of self-aware storytelling: she is at once IN the story and OUTSIDE it, commenting on it. That's something that Kate already had mastered this early: she acts both the role and the girl acting the role.
Honorable mention: Emilie Francoise, whose screen presence is rather remarkable.
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