Sense & Sensibility (TV Mini-Series 2008) Poster

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A bit rushed in places but otherwise perfect, a great-looking serial
IridescentTranquility13 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I very much enjoyed this adaptation of Jane Austen's novel. I believe the trick to reviewing adaptations is to compare them with the book and not to any earlier filmed offerings. While I love the 1995 version, there are some parts of this adaptation that are as good as (sometimes better than) that film.

A strong point is the casting of Elinor. While she acts with great maturity, Hattie Morahan looks as young as Elinor should. Her portrayal of the character is excellent - her facial expressions so subtle yet so clear. Just as Col. Brandon looks as if he's been shot on hearing of Marianne's presumed engagement, her Elinor manages the same thing hearing of Lucy's history with Edward. I also approve of her having her painting as an occupation - Marianne had her interests, so Elinor should have hers. Poor Elinor, though, is always picking up the pieces of Marianne's mistakes - after warning Marianne to behave more discreetly, she is left to fend off Mrs. Jennings' insinuations just before her sister gets the letter from Willoughby.

Marianne is just as good - Charity Wakefield looks the innocent seventeen Marianne should be. A touch I love is the way her hairstyle is curly where the sensible Elinor's is straighter, yet after her illness the style becomes more subdued. She captures the naive character perfectly - genuinely can't see anything wrong with her open approval of Willoughby. And she and Mrs. Dashwood not only act in similar ways but look as though they could be mother and daughter. She does act like a teenager would - I don't know if I would call it selfish - but when Willoughby causes her such heartbreak, she asks "Can we go tomorrow?" in the way a teenager believes the world revolves around her.

I'm not keen on Willoughby. I always thought the point of Willoughby was that he was supposed to bowl Marianne over and charm everybody else. He isn't handsome, rather he seems to be at that awkward phase some teenagers go through before they mature into stunning adults, and he just hasn't got there yet. At times, he comes across as smarmy and even arrogant. When he is rude to Mrs. Jennings' enquiries over where he and Marianne slipped away to unchaperoned, he isn't justified - considering how improper such an outing was. When - in another scene - Marianne leaves the room in tears, he doesn't seem remorseful but almost looks pleased. While I felt for Marianne at the ball, I was glad he was made to feel uncomfortable. The 1995 film gave rise to comments from some viewers about how they wished Marianne had ended up with Willoughby - seeing this version, I wouldn't wish him on anyone.

I am glad that the duel was put in - it is skimmed over in one line in the book so it's easy to miss - because it shows that, deep down, Brandon does have the passion and deep feelings that Marianne wants in a partner.

The minor characters are wonderfully cast - the footman has such pride in being able to give Marianne some post after all her pestering, Mr. Palmer conveys bored displeasure in one look. Lucy Steele does the innocence so well yet I hated her within a couple of scenes - so many of her words have double meanings which hurt Elinor. At the dinner party in episode three there was much tension - realising Mrs. Ferrars, Robert, Fanny, John, the Steeles and the Dashwoods were about to dine together, I knew it would be a hellish evening before the food was even served. Fanny is terrifying in some scenes - her interrogation of Anne Steele (whose accent came right off the page) was like a shark circling a boat. Her tightly styled hair is period perfect and so right for her character - no mercy. I think a mention should be made of Mrs. Jenning's scathing line about her daughter's intelligent - on pointing out Charlotte's embroidery she remarks, "Seven years at a great school and that's all we have to show of it". The good lady seems to walk out of the book when she offers food and drink as cures for a broken heart.

The look of the film is excellent, too. The shells in the opening sequence and the crashing waves give a suitably spartan feel, while the clothes and soft furnishings look correct for the Regency period (particularly the soft colours) - Miss Grey has just the Grecian look of a Regency fashion-plate. The party scene looks like it's lit by candlelight - often evening scenes in period films are unrealistically bright. There are also some beautiful landscape and scenery shots.

The only downside is that certain parts feel a little rushed - Brandon's mysterious departure from Delaford is filmed so abruptly it looks hurried, not mysterious - and the ending is over a little too quickly. I'm sure they could have stolen a minute or two of screen time from Willoughby and Marianne's unchaperoned trip to add it to the end, but other than that I found the adaptation very satisfying.
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miniseries usually truer to the book than feature films; not this one
ligiaruscu8 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Jane Austen sells well these days, which goes a long way towards explaining the appalling number of film adaptations let loose upon us over the past years. This miniseries, part of this and last years' (2007-2008) batch that includes a lousy Mansfield Park, an adequate Northanger Abbey and an uneven Persuasion, dwells in the long shadows of the 1995 adaptation. On the one hand, it goes to considerable lengths in trying to avoid any resemblance: it does this by including scenes that were absent there (most notably the last encounter between Elinor and Willoughby, where he explains his conduct) and excluding, where possible, scenes that were present there; by having the film begin with a steamy sex scene for which there is no reason other than the hope of whetting the appetite of the viewers; by casting as Elinor an actress as unlike the brilliant Emma Thompson as possible (and whose idea of conveying dramatic tension seems to be to open her eyes very wide and sometimes also her mouth, slightly). On the other hand though, the adaptation has been taking over ideas that occur in the 1995 film and not in the book: like turning Margaret into a well rounded and likable character, which in the book she is not (this is understandable; everybody loves cute little girls with lots of curly hair), like Edward's proposal to Elinor being received with a crying fit (which was not a very good idea to begin with). Talented actors, loving attention to period details and National Trust mansions do not by themselves a good film make. This miniseries has chosen to show Marianne falling rather early in love with Colonel Brandon. This is not only not true to the book (where it is at no point implied that Marianne holds feelings for him other than esteem and gratitude), it also waters down and distorts the core message of the story. If Marianne can overcome her feelings for Willoughby so quickly and easily, then they were not the deep love we had been hitherto led to believe, but just the trifling infatuation one (especially parents) would ordinarily expect from most seventeen-year-olds. Then, her deep distress and the illness that almost cost her life are but the tantrum of a spoiled child denied a treat. Accordingly, there is no lesson to be learned of the story, no proper appreciation of Elinor's self-control, no triumph of sense over sensibility. Admittedly, most people these days expect to be entertained, not educated by books and films (unless it were about sex), but Jane Austen deserves better treatment than this. Andrew Davies has certainly come a long way since his celebrated 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and not all of it seems to have been good to him.
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Not good for fans of the novel
maryplayspiano15 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a big Austen fan and read all the books. I love the 1995 Ang Lee/Emma Thompson rendition of Sense & Sensibility, and so was excited for a new version. But this 2008 3-part adaptation was very disappointing.

First the pros: A "modern" production style a la 2005's Pride & Prejudice made it seem more real to life. The quiet dignity of Janet McTeer's Mrs. Dashwood was wonderful, if not exactly true to the character. Charity Wakefield's Marianne was vivacious and passionate as she should be. The inclusion of the duel scene between Willoughby and Brandon was a nice addition.

Now the cons: Besides the fact that it passes entirely over the seriousness of Marianne's illness and how her renewed outlook on life and romance came about as a result, the whole thing lacks substance. Characters are weak, poor scene transitions, screenplay is too modern and definitely not how they would have spoken in real life (or the novel). Absolutely no reference to Willoughby's eventual regret over Marianne, nor to Edward's explanation to Elinor about his engagement to Lucy.

Too much was left unexplained, as if they just assumed everybody already knows the whole story. And it's a real shame because it took away all the subtle poignancy of emotion the characters experience while navigating the delicate social mores of Regency England (e.g. Elinor's having to perform the "necessary social functions" despite her emotional upheaval, Marianne's scandalous correspondence to Willoughby in London). This is particularly true of single women like the Dashwoods who, with no fortune or male protection, hold a very precarious position in society. It's a primary theme throughout Austen's work, and in this novel most especially.

Perhaps more likable if you've never read the book, but it could have been so much better if they had stayed faithful to Austen's timeless original story.
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My favorite version, especially for Elinor and Marianne
galensaysyes11 April 2008
This serial, like Pride and Prejudice and Emma by the same scriptwriter, is my favorite rendition of its novel. In the first hour it's my favorite by far; in the rest, just my favorite.

The first part, which required the most invention, introduces the protagonists and unfolds the story quite compellingly; later the pace and the choice of incident become more iffy, as though the intended runtime had been shortened during shooting: some closely spaced scenes have a similar tone, without enough contrast between, and some minor characters are introduced and then abandoned. Why the ocean is there, I don't know; it points up the two sisters' different moods but has a way of making some scenes seem like Emily Bronte. I also don't understand why the families are introduced in poses as for portraits; this tends in the opposite direction from the seascapes, towards satire, which seems out of keeping with the general approach.

I take it the scriptwriter has adopted a darker view of the period since his earlier Austen dramatizations; those were charming and merry; the latest two leave out the funniest lines, turn the funny characters into unfunny ones, and seem bent on pointing up the sad plight of women in men's toils. This of course is one of Austen's subjects, but I believe her characters never say outright, as Marianne does here (in some such words), "Are we only men's playthings?" The sentiment is apt, but the perspective seems a little awry .

In any case, where this production exceeds its predecessors is in the casting, especially of the Dashwood family. Its Elinor is the only one I've found right, and Marianne, who has been done well by before, is conveyed more fully here. And they're just extremely likable; by the end I was ready to marry both of them myself. Also, the family seems a real family, with relationships that could only be products of having lived under the same roof for years. And the production is sensitive to the qualities of the actresses cast: e.g. having Janet McTeer as the mother, it gives her credit for more sense than the novel does. This elides the point that she's the person from whom Marianne inherits her romanticism; on the other hand, this is clearly portrayed as a byproduct of her youth, and so no further excuse is needed.

The male principals, I thought better cast also. The best of all is Willoughby, although until his last scene with Elinor I didn't see where the production was heading with him. Always before, he's seemed like another Wickham, but here he isn't; he's well-meaning in his own mind, but too weak to carry out his better intentions. Marianne practically throws herself at him, and from our one look at Brandon's ward we can imagine she did the same; he plainly doesn't have the strength of character to have rejected them. The novel gives him a break the serial doesn't: he says he didn't know about his ex-girlfriend's indigency because he'd forgotten to give her his address but she could have gotten it if she'd tried, and Elinor believes him. Perhaps the scriptwriter didn't, or thought the audience wouldn't; anyhow, in the novel Elinor's final judgment on him is more severe: that his only motive throughout has been selfishness. I was sorry this speech was eliminated, but it would have been superfluous, since one infers the same from the actor's reading of the scene. As for the other beaux, this Colonel Brandon comes nearer the mark than the others, in being younger and more reserved; Edward is better, too, but not so much so: he's like a synthesis of the former Edwards and another actor I can't place; rather in the Hugh Grant line, but more skillful at it. I don't fully get the character; but then I didn't in the book either.

The sisters, however, are something else again. Here at last is an Elinor I can believe in--about the right age, long used to being the voice of reason in her family and of being accepted as such, from necessity rather than choice; practical, circumspect, long-suffering, but with her spirit alive and unspoiled. A nice touch is the indication at one point that someone so unfailingly right in her advice can sometimes be a drag to live with.

Of the prior Elinors, I thought Emma Thompson's was an expert portrayal, as one would expect, but the actress's core character--the one all her characters are built around--is a mild neurotic of a type I don't see as having existed before the 1920s, and certainly not in Austen's time. Moreover, the rhythm of that character is a distinctively 20th-century rhythm, and Austen's prose had to be wrenched to make it fit; Thompson did so with considerable skill. but the result was a translation more than an interpretation. Then there was the age issue: Thompson's Elinor was a middle-aged spinster; Austen's wasn't. The Elinor of the earlier BBC serial seemed closer in some ways but still not right; she looked rather like a clumpish Cinderella, and gave some of her lines inflections that sounded cold and cutting in a way not the character's.

Yet as impressed as I was by the new Elinor, by the end I was even more impressed with Marianne. She's played as young (until she grows up), with all the silliness, stubbornness, and excess that are part of the baggage of that time of life. And of course the sexuality. Few scenes have been more erotic, with less "happening" in them, than her forbidden tour of the house she imagines will be hers. Both of the prior Mariannes were fairly accurate (except for the air that Kate Winslet's characters always have of being spoiled university girls), and both quite alike in being romantic above all; this Marianne has more dimension, as well as more suggestion, about her, and reminds me of girls I've known.
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Deficient characterizations mar otherwise fine acting and production values
sissoed4 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
One of the essentially unique and appealing aspects of Jane Austen is that the hallmark of a good person is constant awareness of the feelings others are experiencing, and the desire never to cause those feelings to be painful or embarrassing. Part I of this new "Sense and Sensibility" fails to capture this important quality: there are several instances in which each of the "good" characters are profoundly insensitive to the feelings they are triggering in others. This version doesn't realize that in Austen, good manners have moral significance, because they protect feelings. Part II is better, and avoids this problem.

The first problematic moment in Part I is Edward Ferrars' abortive "non-proposal" scene with Elinor. In this scene, Edward clearly creates a moment that he must know will cause Elinor to feel she is about to receive a proposal -- and yet he disappoints her. The key error is that Margaret is in the room when he enters, and she scoots out when it appears he has come to propose. The fact that Edward lets her leave without stopping her is what ruins it: by so doing he allows not only Elinor, but also Margaret, to think a proposal is coming. By letting Margaret think this, it is inevitable that Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood will know. Thus Edward has compounded his error by making it impossible for Elinor to decide to keep the entire encounter a secret. It is inevitable that his rejection of her will be known to her mother and sisters, thereby aggravating her discomfort.

In the book there is no such scene at all, and in the 1995 film the analogous scene occurs as Edward approaches Elinor in the stable, where she is saying good-bye to a favorite horse. In that scene, just at the moment where he might be expected to indicate he is about to propose, he instead raises the subject of his education in Plymouth -- baffling, but very clearly not the beginning of a proposal.

The second is the loss of an opportunity to show that Marianne is sensitive to the feelings of Elinor. This is done in the 1995 film at the dinner at the Middletons, in which Sir John and his mother-in-law are teasing Elinor over having a beau whose name begins with F. In the film Marianne is acutely sensitive to Elinor's discomfort, and defuses the situation by abruptly offering to play music. This scene has the slenderest foundation in the book, a mere line or two in chapter 7, but it works well in the 1995 film. The Marianne in this version never shows such concern, nor demonstrates an appropriate and mature way of protecting Elinor's feelings, as does the Marianne in the 1995 film.

The third, and by far the worst, incident, is where the Dashwoods are at their cottage and Col. Brandon is seen coming up to the house. Marianne jumps up, drags Margaret out, and goes for a long walk, leaving Elinor and Mrs. Dashwood to cover for her. We are shown Col. Brandon sitting for what appears to be hours, waiting for Marianne to return, while Elinor and Mrs. Dashwood presumably tell white lies about her absence. Brandon is thus subjected to embarrassment and disrespect, as it must be very clear to him that he is being snubbed, and the other women are all dragged into aiding this. Eventually Brandon gives up and leaves. We might expect that on Marianne's return, Elinor would reprove her -- as, in Jane Austen's novel "Emma," Mr. Knightly reproves Emma for her insult to Miss Bates during the picnic on Box Hill. But in this version, Marianne's twisted ankle, and the appearance of Willoughby, are tacked onto the end of her overland excursion to avoid Brandon, so that Marianne re-enters the cottage in Willoughby's arms, and all the focus is on the new romantic young man. Marianne's misconduct to Brandon never gets reproved by Elinor or by Mrs. Dashwood, nor do either Elinor or Mrs. Dashwood complain that Marianne has not only treated Brandon badly, but also themselves, by putting them in a position where they had to pretend, falsely, that her absence was merely a coincidence.

Finally, as regards the character of Edward, the version presented here (excepting the "non- proposal" scene discussed above) is pretty much the character Austen wrote; but I have to say, that the character as presented in the 1995 film is far superior to the one in the book and in this version. In the 1995 film, from his very first entrance, Edward is acutely aware that the Dashwood girls have lost their father and must be grieving; and he is also aware of his sister's grasping, insensitive character, and he does what he can to make amends for it, by such actions (which are not in the book) as declining to take a room that is one of the girls', and by helping to restore the spirits of Margaret.

In favor of this version, the casting, the acting, and the production values are all excellent. The people are very believable. The problem is that the good people are not nearly as admirable as the people Austen created. Judging from Part I only, this version takes characters who are genuinely concerned for the feelings of others, and reduces them to people who pretty much just care for themselves, with an overlay of thinking that good manners must be performed because, well, that is the done thing.

In Part II, the characters are consistent with the way Austen wrote them, but several key scenes are cut and the feel is a bit rushed. The proposal scene at the end is very well done. Overall I recommend it but this version doesn't present the characters with the richness Austen offers.
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Another feather in the BBC's cap
MOscarbradley16 January 2008
Praising the BBC for the quality of their costume dramas may be the equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle but in some respects it's what they do best and "Sense and Sensibility" is no exception. Of course, comparisons with Ang Lee's splendid film version are inevitable yet somehow the intimacy of television and the somewhat greater length that a serialized adaptation can afford gives this a deeper dimension that the albeit very entertaining film version.

The writer is Andrew Davies who is a dab hand at this sort of thing and the casting is, as ever, impeccable. Perhaps the best actors working anywhere in the world today are on British television, (note the recent adaptation of "Cranford"). The performances here are superb. Both Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield succeed in banishing all thoughts of Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, (no mean feat), while David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon and Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars are outstanding, acting rings round Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant who played the same roles in the movie. Morrissey, in particular, is one of the best actors on television, perhaps anywhere, and it is always a pleasure to see him. But then the whole cast are terrific as is the assured direction of John Alexander. Just perfect for a Sunday night in front of the fire.
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wonderful cast and settings, but a poor screenplay
strezise23 February 2008
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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Jolt of a lifetime...
peterquennell18 April 2008
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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summeriris6 July 2014
I watched this three times because I wanted to be sure I could make my points. For this I deserve a medal. The first time I watched it I thought it pretty good, the second time things started to bother me, the third time I felt like throwing something at the TV screen.

What we have here is a very bad adaptation, very bad direction and pretty poor camera work. We have a Margaret who spouts rhetoric from 'The Female Eunuch'. A Marianne who changes her emotions on a dime while being trained to be the perfect wife for Col Brandon, who is all Regency Action Man alpha male. An Edward who really could use some lessons in handling an axe, an Elinor who also needs some lessons in beating carpets and a scriptwriter who'es earlier successes has given him the inflated opinion that he is a better writer than Jane Austen. He isn't and this pretty poor adaptation proves it.

It had some good points, Anne Steele was funny even if she did have a completely different accent from Lucy.
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Good looking, well -acted but over-compressed
johnmcc15016 January 2008
Perhaps we are getting used to Andrew Davies's adaptations but I think he was below par here, perhaps because of the short duration. This version had what are known as "high production values", ie it looked good and was well-acted. However Jane Austen's dialogue and characterisation really lost out when compressed into three episodes. Andrew Davies would rightly say that 21st century television is a very different medium from an early nineteenth century novel. In its own terms, therefore, as a TV drama it was quite good, as bonnet-fests go. However if you had never read the book, you would have probably thought that much fuss has been made over a fairly uninteresting story. I guess you could compress Sense & Sensibility still further until people would believe that Jane Austen was first published by Mills and Boon.

On the plus side at least they got the characters' ages right. In the 1995 version Emma Thompson was 36 but playing a nineteen year old. However good she was, she was far too old for the part.
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A great TV mini-series.
alexlotrfan17 January 2008
I totally disagree with all the negative comments about this film. I mean, it was a little rushed at times, especially at the end. However, all in all it was a great film to watch and you did not feel in any way that Elinor and Marrianne married the wrong men! In the Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant version, I think you get the impression that Elinor should marry Col. Brandon!

The acting was of the high quality you expect from any BBC production and the music was absolutely fantastic. The editing was a little patchy at times, but otherwise sound.

I would absolutely recommend this version to any true Jane Austen fan, it does not disappoint, in fact it leaves you with that same warm fuzzy feeling that each novel and most of the film adaptations always do!

Happy Watching!
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Entertaining new version
pawebster20 January 2008
This is a good new version. I'm surprised it was made, since the one with Emma Thompson is still quite fresh in people's minds.

However, I think that this one has some better characterisations. Both versions had good Mariannes, but this one is hard to beat. Hatty M. plays Elinor with all the right emotions, but I'm not always sure she is quite in period.

This could partly be Andrew Davies' fault, as he is responsible for some dialogue that surely would never have come from the pen of Jane Austen.

David Morrissey is excellent as usual, as is Dan Stevens (who has the great advantage, in my book, that he is not Hugh Grant. I think he would have been good as Willoughby, who should surely be more handsome than Edward). Dominic Cooper is not good as Willoughby. His looks are wrong, his speech tends towards Estuary English in places and in others he does not speak clearly. I could go on.

Lucy Steele's sister does something close to an impression of Alice in The Vicar of Dibley. Why does she have a non-standard accent, whereas her genteel sister does not?

I should also mention that the settings and overall look of the production were first rate.
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Good, but not quite great version
runamokprods1 December 2011
A solid adaptation that didn't quite match up to the Ang Lee and Emma Thompson film. That had more energy, pace, intensity and humor. This is more lyrical and gentle, which works almost as well... for a while.

I actually loved the first two hours, but the last hour didn't work as well for me, perhaps because of the different overall tone tone. The climax felt more soap opera-ish, and also more uneven, with the slightly jarring attempts at humorous over the top characterizations clashing with the more subtle feel of the piece. The acting is generally excellent, but there were times when performers didn't quite seem to all be in the same film.

Worth seeing if you are an Austen fan, but if you only need one film version to be happy, I'd watch the Lee feature first.
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Already giving 1995 version a run for its money.
rachybabes3 January 2008
I believe that this adaptation shall be another triumph to add to Andrew Davies already sublime list of adaptations!! The beginning of the first episode left me a bit doubtful but then it really got going. I for one am waiting in anticipation for episode 2 to air!!

In response to the previous comment on the camera work - have you been watching TV and film lately?? Each adaptation offers us something new from the story, a story which has already been exploited many times before and is well known.

A huge well done to all involved - i just know this adaptation will give the 1995 version a run for its money!!
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quite disappointed
samantha-for-ck6 April 2008
I have to say that I'm incredibly surprised that this version has received so many positive reviews here. I find this adaptation far inferior to the Ang Lee directed/Emma Thompson penned version from the 1990s. I am utterly shocked that I find the screenplay almost intolerable - especially as it comes from the master pen of Andrew Davies who I have deeply admired for years. The writing is quite dumbed down, the majority of the characters have not been fully fleshed out and in general the production seems quite rushed. Given that there is a longer running time than the Ang Lee version, I expected MORE development, not less. While the casting of Elinor in this adaptation is more believable than the older Emma Thompson in the Lee version, I believe that is the only improvement to mention. And to be honest, I believe Emma Thompson (while perhaps not quite looking the appropriate age for the part) did a superior acting job. The actor cast as Willoughby is completely wrong in nearly every way. The director has apparently decided to go the "romantic route" as the moronic director of the most recent Pride & Prejudice did in his depiction of Regency England. I regret that I wasted three hours on this as I had been waiting for it to arrive for more than a year.
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Lecter Meets Austen
orinocowomble15 September 2012
While this film was shot in stunning locations making it a visual feast, that's not enough to carry a three-hour miniseries. Particularly when Mr Davies has cannibalised whole passages from the 1995 script by Emma Thompson. I hope he had her permission to "quote" at least, since he lifts exact lines from her work again and again--not to mention incidents, and even camera shots that were repeated from the earlier film, almost frame for frame. It is interesting that even the voice and intonations of the actress playing Elinor resonate heavily with Thompson's own performance.

There are a few parts of the original novel that are given more play, such as the hair-ring, etc. but all in all I felt I was watching a wannabe remake of Ang Lee's film. They say that "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery" but in my opinion this is a most unflattering, barefaced copy bordering on plagiarism.
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Sense and Sensibility 2008
rmb337 January 2008
To be the same or not to be the same. Andrew Davies's obviously watched the film and did a cut and paste; grabbed the nearest thesaurus and changed some words. Fair play to him but it was very patchy in a sense. Cuts from Scene to Scene; no transition.

I waited eagerly to see Andrew Davies's edition but the interior of the cottage was what it would have been in the 1800s but the persons living then where shorter, so watching the ducking and diving of characters was comical. I bet there were a few sore heads during filming.

Did they use the same cottage in the film version?

I did not like the person playing Willoughby; too young and very odd looking. Give me Greg Wise anytime. I loved the person playing Edward; very Hugh Grant but he pulled it off. The rest of the casting was off centre,the only believable one was Hugh Grants' double.

The narrative was stifling; almost as if the characters where searching for the correct words of the century to use.

Short, patchy and disappointing.
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Not bad ... but lacking in poignancy
slincn7 March 2008
Not to add to the plethora of comments about the screenplay, but Davies in many ways failed to live up to the promise of the book. Each one of these adaptations that comes along is better viewed separate from the others, but I think Davies failed to capture important scenes and weave them together to tell a shorter, yet still powerful story. There were parts that have been cut from previous productions (notably the duel scene from Thompson's), and yet in those the story did not seem as strangely disjointed and haphazard as this one. It still shows fine acting and beautiful sets, and captures a bit of Austen, but I did not empathize for the characters the way that the book demands -- they did not come to life that much.
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gypsiestookmyname18 March 2008
This was appalling.

It was completely dumbed down, I mean, to a ridiculous extent, more-so than the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. The dialogue was cliché and horribly bastardised from the book itself, as were the characters. The acting was wooden and the character interaction or development had no subtlety whatsoever, it was the opposite to nearly everything we hold synonymous with the contemporary society, everything is over-the-top and left out a lot of important facets to the entire story, such as the class issues in Elinor and Henry's relationship, I could go on, but I stopped watching after the first episode and it was a struggle to make it that far, believe me.

The whole thing was just really poorly done from start to finish. It was like watching a parody of a bad Jane Austen adaptation, the BBC and everyone involved in this project should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, it was TRIPE.
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It makes sense to say this was a successful miniseries but it is nowhere near the perfection of the Ang Lee-Emma Thompson version
inkblot117 April 2008
In newly 19th century England, a family of three daughters is put into turmoil when the father dies. You see, the young ladies are the offspring of the man's second marriage and the main inheritor of his estate is his son from the first one. This leaves poor Elinor (Hattie Morahan), Marianne (Charity Wakefield) and their much younger sister Margaret, along with their mother, with far less means of existence. They are forced to move out of the family home and seek smaller accommodations in the country. Alas, also, their prospects for a "good" marriage are likewise dimmed, as they have no sizeable dowries. Nevertheless, upon their move to a charming cottage in the countryside, the girls meet two marriageable men. One of them, Colonel Brandon, is a thirty-something, wealthy landowner whose still-single status is the result of a broken engagement long ago. However, he is instantly smitten with the musically gifted, outspoken Marianne. Yet, the age difference may prove to be a barrier. Elinor, too, meets a most eligible man, Edward, the brother of their catty sister-in-law but, here again, something is amiss. He becomes extremely close to the more reserved Elinor, only to remove himself from the situation, for some unknown reason. Enter Willoughby. He is a handsome man who gallops into their lives on the day he rescues Marianne from a sprained ankle. Marianne's heart is lost to this gentleman, but, he may have some big secrets to hide. Will the sisters meet a good fate or a bad one? This is a very nice miniseries, with some attractive stars and some nice settings and costumes. The actor playing Colonel Brandon, especially, bears a striking resemblance to Liam Neeson and will set hearts to flutter. Yet, to anyone who has seen the Ang Lee film, with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, this one pales in a close comparison of the two. There is no sweeping score, no gorgeous cinematography, no amazing art direction and no Hugh Grant. That is not to say it does not have its moments or that it will not please most fans of Austen, who would be content to see a new version every year for the rest of their lives. In such light, do try to catch this new adaptation, either on Masterpiece Theatre or when it is released on DVD, if you are a devotee of Jane's works. You will hang on every word and feel great contentment as the film fades to black.
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good points and bad points in yet another Austen
didi-510 April 2008
The best thing for me in this version is David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon. So often he plays villains and nasty pieces of work, so it is good to see him in another kind of role.

Other than that, what does this 'Sense and Sensibility' have that the 1981 and 1995 versions don't? Marianne is good in all three - Lucy Steele is appalling in this version (what was going on with the accent?). Willoughby just doesn't look right, somehow, although Edward Ferrars is less silly than Hugh Grant made him in the film version.

Really, this TV version is superfluous, but it is watchable, and perhaps the best of the four adaptations of Austen made in 2007/8. It looks as if it benefits from a reasonable budget and has some locations befitting the period. Ultimately it may just feel a bit too modern to be successful.
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Willoughby: Toad, Colonel Brandon: Prince Charming (As it should be)
jlcdrama7 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I just saw this mere hours ago and I couldn't get it out of my head. I'd like to start off by saying that I read the book and then saw the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility and couldn't imagine what could top it. It's simple: this mini-series.

Within minutes I was saying that I liked this adaption better than the 1995 movie. I mean no disrespect to Emma Thompson who wrote and starred in that movie, but this was a lot better. There were a few flaws in the film that I hadn't really paid attention too before until I saw this version. The main one being the age of both Thompson who played Elinor and Alan Rickman who played Colonel Brandon. Both were far too old to be playing Elinor who is supposed to be 19 and Brandon who was 35, in which Thompson was in her thirties I believe, and Rickman was 49. The problem wasn't so apparent until I saw this version.

The age problem for Rickman in particular helped convey in the movie that Marianne should have wound up with Willoughby instead of Brandon. The point Austen wanted to make in the book was that Marianne's idea of Brandon being too old was silly seeing as 35 isn't that old. Shallow viewers of the 1995 version would be bothered by the more obviously older man (who looked to be in his fifties) marrying a teenager.

The main thing that won me over in this movie was the portrayal of the men: Edward, Colonel Brandon and Willoughby. Hugh Grant in the 1995 film was good, but at times he seemed too awkward and insecure. Dan Stevens played Edward as having a bit of a sense of humor (like in the book) but still a private man. I instantly liked him. But honestly it was Colonel Brandon and Willoughby when stood out the most.

Willoughby is often forgotten to be the villain of the story, this mini-series made it clear from the start that he isn't a good man. Purists might not like the opening scene of Willoughby seducing Eliza, but I thought it worked well particularly when Willoughby showed Marianne Allenhelm. It reminded us that Marianne is treading through dangerous waters and has no idea of who she is dealing with. In the 1995 film, Thompson left out the scene with Willoughby explaining his actions to Elinor after Marianne is jilted by him. My thought there was that Thompson felt that would draw too much sympathy for Willoughby, but I think that was a mistake. This mini-series included the scene and showed more of Willoughby's selfish character. I felt no sympathy for him at all. In fact I found it hard to believe a word he said. As it should be.

Colonel Brandon is often forgotten about by scholars and that is shame because he is one of my favorite heroes. This adaption did him justice because not only did David Morrissey look the part, but Brandon was given more screen time. Unfortunately both Austen and Thompson didn't show much of Marianne's journey to falling in love with Brandon, but this one filled in that gap. At last we were finally able to see why Colonel Brandon was meant for Marianne instead of Willoughby. When she said that Brandon was "a truly romantic man" I squealed because I'm sure Austen meant the same.

Beyond the men, I will say that the Elinor, Marianne and all of the other characters were done incredibly well. I found nothing lacking in any of them with the exception of Mr. Palmer who was much more amusing in the 1995 version, but since he was a minor character I wasn't offended.

In short, Thompson's version was good but this one outshone hers. Sense and Sensibility had more complicated plot which is why I think a mini-series like this was better suited for it on screen since more time can be devoted to it. If you want to watch the best version of Sense and Sensibility, this is for you. I also recommend reading Colonel Brandon's Diary by Amanda Grange if you are as smitten with his character as I am.
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Beautiful to look at and well acted, rushed at times but overall a fine mini-series
TheLittleSongbird3 April 2010
The book "Sense and Sensibility" is a great one. It is beautiful, poised and poignant and just a joy to read. Out of the adaptations of the book I have two favourites. One is the 1995 film with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, which was visually stunning and impeccably acted by the whole cast. The other adaptation is this one. I do marginally prefer the film, but this mini-series is mighty fine.

This adaptation of "Sense and Sensibility" isn't without its problems though. There are some scenes that felt rushed, particularly the ending and Colonel Brandon's departure from Delaford. Also, Dominic Cooper's performance as Willoughby was uneven. Cooper is a good actor, and has charming presence, but compared to the Willoughby in the book and the Willoughby in the 1995 film, this Willoughby seemed somewhat unlikeable and arrogant and the complexity of his feelings for Marianne I felt could have been explored more.

However, this is much to love about this mini-series. For one thing, it looks beautiful. The costumes are lavish, the scenery is sumptuous and the photography is crisp. I especially liked the shots of the cottage and the sea. The music is truly pleasant to the ear, romantic, lyrical and whimsical, the sort of effect Patrick Doyle's score in the 1995 film had on me. The script wasn't too bad really, it had a sense of intelligence about it even if it had some questionable modernisations on occasion.

The acting, with the general exception of Cooper's Willoughby, is excellent and ideal for the characters they play. Hattie Morahan is a mature and subtle Elinor, and Charity Wakefield is beautiful, innocent and tragic as Marianne. They are solidly supported by a superb Janet McTeer as the mother, a dashing Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars and a suitably sincere David Morissey as Colonel Brandon(an improvement over Alan Rickman, Rickman was good but Morissey fitted the character better). Overall, this is a fine mini-series, perfect to go with the 1995 film and it manages to be solid as an adaptation. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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Appalling camera-work
monkagemagic1 January 2008
Further to my earlier comment about how bad this adaptation is, it's also struck me how bad the camera-work is - it's up, down and all over the place; never still. It's making me feel seasick. Were they drunk during filming? As far as the script goes, I'm wondering how much the director tinkered with Andrew Davies's screenplay as it's just so laughably clunky. I can't believe this is how it left Davies's word processor.

Oh and the music - dreadfully ill-chosen, too, with one piece purloined from, I believe, The Virgin Queen - a reflection of the laziness of this production, to my mind.

Let me add in response to Rachybabes: the camera work is simply incompetent. Take, for example, the scene in the house when Willoughby pays his visit. The camera shakily follows every last move. That isn't modern, it's incompetent direction.

The script is part-Austen and part-chav and the acting as wooden as a Stoneybridge Town Amateur Dramatics charity production.

If you take your Austen-tinted glasses off you'll see it for what it is, a really, really bad adaption - and if that script really is Davies', then I'm afraid to say that the Emperor forgot to get dressed this morning.
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great version
stormygail5025 April 2008
this 2008 movie of sense and sensibility is a very pleasing one. i really enjoyed the characters, especially Elinor's. Hattie morahan is a more believable Elinor in manner and age. it seems as if she had taken on the mother role of her family and was the voice of reason leaving the other characters to dwell in their fanasties, with Marianne's romantic ideals and the mother's inability to accept their position upon the father's death. i loved this portrayal of Edward Farris much better altrhough i could still see a lot of Hugh grant's mannerisms in Dan Stevens version of Edward. Dan Stevens does an excellent job of making you believe his character and liking him and admire his morals while all the time hoping he unites with Elinor. although i really liked the role of col. Brandon in this version i still like Alan rickman's portrayal..he speaks so beautifully and so much like the men of education of that era. i love the way he speaks.

i really liked this movie and after listening to Andrew Davies explanations or comments on this version you come to appreciate even more, such as the comments of the choice of the cottage the dashwoods come to live in.

overall i loved the ending to this version much was nice to see that the girls found what they were looking for especially Marianne. the 1995 version left you feeling there was something missing from Edward's declaration of love for Elinor..watching the deleted scenes at least gives you better closure with their romance.

i loved this movie version that i ordered it before it was released--well here in Canada anyway. i heartily invite people to watch this movie
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