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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 »
wonderful cast and settings, but a poor screenplay
I loved the look of this adaptation of the novel and thought almost all the characters were ideally cast. In fact, I can't imagine a better Elinor, and the rest of the Dashwood family was close to ideal. As usual the BBC found lovely settings, though the cottage is too basic to be believable and too close to the sea (!): Austen's concept of a cottage was a great deal more than this (four reception rooms downstairs, I believe). The problem is the screenplay, which trivialises so much of the novel, fails to understand some of its basic premises, and relies on visual titillation at the expense of the dialogue that was much more in evidence in the BBC's generally superior previous attempt. The moral of the story, both implied in this adaptation and explicit in the book, is to do with the dangers of excessive sensibility and not editing your feelings in order to conform to social conditions. It is not to do with what you do being more important than what you feel, as Marianne puts it during her sudden, Stepford-wife transformation to rationality. Her illness is not physical, and certainly has nothing to do with the ridiculous scene in the rain Davies has devised: it is in her mind. The whole point of the story is to show the danger of over-indulging one's feelings and disengaging from society. Davies: read the book again, and even if the book is to be changed, at least be consistent. The end product here was, I believe, a dumbing down of one of the most miraculous stories of the very early nineteenth century.
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