This is what I'm TALKING about

So last night I settled down to watch the new Sense & Sensibility as part of the Estrogen--sorry, the Jane Austen Season.

And yeah. I am really liking it. I think my favorite thing about it is that it's not 90 minutes long. I should have known something was up when I kept seeing things like thoughtful, deliberately paced scenes. And beautiful lingering shots of the countryside. And conversations that exist solely for character development. It was a novel experience, given how dang rushed the rest of these recent adaptations have been.

Plus, it's Andrew Davies, and I think you can automatically calm down when you see his name in the credits. "It's okay, I'm Andrew Davies. I gave you the Wet Shirt Scene. I know what I'm doing."

Now for other impressions:

The first two minutes of the movie spice things right up with a bosom-heaving seduction scene. And even though they don't say who it is, you know it's Willoughby and that poor Eliza. Which is kind of a smart move, really, since the seduction sets off such an important chain of events. Plus, it's one thing to hear Alan Rickman intone "She was . . . with child . . . " and fill in the blanks. It's another to actually see it and think, "Oh that's right. Willoughby totally lied to, knocked up, and then ditched that poor orphan girl. Willoughby sucks, dude!" (Note to Alan Rickman: Never stop intoning, though. Never stop.)

Fanny Ferrars Dashwood. She is a nasty, nasty snake of a woman. The actress playing her is brilliant and I want to slap her until my hands cramp up.

Lots of characters that were cut out of the Emma Thompson screenplay have now been reinstated. It's loads of fun to meet everybody. People I can't wait to meet next week: Lucy Steele, who I'm hoping to loathe entirely, and Bavmorda as Edward's mother. Nice one.

But speaking of Edward, I absolutely have a new crush. He is so, SO sweet an' cute. Both Spitfire and I really, really like him so far. No stammering and mincing about here, Hugh Grant.

Willoughby is too short. But he's played by our BF James McAvoy's cheeky friend Spencer from Starter for 10. So we'll give him a pass on that one.

Colonel Brandon is growing on me, even though I always associate David Morrisey with his role as the completely cracked-out homicidal schoolmaster Bradley Headstone from Our Mutual Friend. I'm slowly getting used to the idea that he is not going to be beating anyone to death with an oar during this movie. Unless Willoughby keeps asking for it.

It's nice to see characters played by actors who are in the right age range. I'm loving Elinor, and Marianne is sweet even though the actress is no Kate Winslet. Some of you may have seen that brown dress Marianne is wearing before. The boobage may have thrown you off, though. I understand.


Dick said... [reply]

You should quit the library and write this stuff professionally. You are at least as funny and clever and smart (how do you remember all this stuff...) as those people who make fun of peoples clothes at the Oscars, etc.

mom - I really need to log in one of these days.

i i eee said... [reply]

Queen Bavmorda! "Bring me the child!"

abby said... [reply]

I almost fainted with delight at Edward. When he offered to beat the rug for Elinor, I exclaimed take your shirt off. I could see he didn't want to ruin his nice shirt with all that dust.

Melanie said... [reply]

I really liked this adaptation too. As much as I love Emma Thompson, a 40 year old Elinor just doesn't do it for me, and in my opinion Hugh Grant was never a convincing Edward. Another item on my Amazon wish list.

Bridget said... [reply]

I had the same problem with the psychopath-schoolteacher-turned Colonel Brandon.

This Marianne doesn't look nearly as good as Kate Winslet did when the character is wandering around outside during a rainstorm, though. She almost looked like a normal person would!

Katie said... [reply]

"Some of you may have seen that brown dress Marianne is wearing before. The boobage may have thrown you off, though. I understand."


Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Excellent review. I'm going to have to see this, as the Emma Thompson screenplay is one of my favorites. (Director Ang Lee, who is just awesome also.) I re-read the book late last year and one of the funniest characters was actually Lucy's highly desperate older sister who hangs on the fringes repeating a lot of the same thing over and over. I would have like to have seen HER in the Thompson screenplay.

The biggest disappointment of your review however was that I clicked on teh Andrew Davies link hoping to see Colin Firth dripping and surprised as he saw his dearest, lovliest Elizabeth, only to be met with the world's most lengthy resume.

I agree that I like the bluntness of the seduction scene: in Thompson's version, Willoughby is so beautiful that it is very easy to forget he is a scoundrel. In fact, the YouTube "I Need a Hero" montage uses Willoughby as often as the good guys. I thought that was funny.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Oh, and BAVMORDA? I haven't heard a Willow reference in at least a decade. Though, for most of the late 80's and early 90's, Sorcha was probably my first choice for a girl-child's name.

Jenna L said... [reply]

"I'm slowly getting used to the idea that he is not going to be beating anyone to death..."

Funny thing is, this is how I felt the first time I watched the Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility. I spent the entire first half of the movie wondering why I wanted to yell at the Dashwoods not to trust Colonel Brandon. It wasn't until a really long ways into the movie that I realized the only other thing I had seen Alan Rickman in was Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and I was subconsciously waiting for him to turn out to be the villain.

I really enjoyed what I saw of this adaptation and I was quite fond of this Colonel Brandon since I have never seen him in anything else. So I'm very much looking forward to next week.

Suzanne Bubnash said... [reply]

You said it where Hugh Grant is concerned. He was a huge casting boo-boo in the movie. This Edward Ferrars is everything HG isn't and much much more . . .

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

I missed it and can't wait to get it--probably through Amazon.

I loved the old one, but you're right about the pace and missing characters--and casting. Although I love Emma Thompson, having her plan Elinor was similar to having Kenneth Branagh play Hamlet--an amazing performance, but a bit out of character. Kate Winslet was amazing in her role and I feel sorry for whatever actress has to follow it up. Dang right Alan Rickman should never stop intoning ("The air was full of spices"--oh buddy, you bet it was!)

Thanks for the review of the new one, now I can't wait to see it that much more.

Carly said... [reply]

I agree with you on most points. It's great to have a version that includes more characters and is better in many parts. And although I too like the new Edward I have to say I think he's a litte too likeable. In the book Edward was very akward and Elinor only fell in love with him after getting to know him well. I personally liked Hugh Grant, although I understand some people's problems with him.

Also, I think Col. Brandon is still way too old looking. I'm supposed to believe he's 35? Sorry, don't think so. And Mrs. Dashwood as 40 is just laughable! Maybe they want me to think people aged faster back then?

I will say, I've watched it all on YouTube and I don't think you'll be too dissapointed with the next half. I especially enjoyed finally seeing Lucy's older sister. So perfect!

Also, speaking of James McAvoy, have you seen "Penelope"? Soo good! One of my new favorite movies and he was great in it.

miranda said... [reply]

I have been enjoying the Jane Austen season, and did like Sunday's installment. I think it's fun to see what different films pick up out of the books, and compare how the films present the same story.

Cas said... [reply]

Blast! I have not seen any of it yet! My most regrettably absent scent in the Emma Thompson version (thought I do love it and cry every time, first when Elinor is crying by Marianne's bedside saying "Dearest do not leave me!" and second when Margaret climbs up in her tree house and says "He's sitting next to her, He's getting down on one knee!!" and then all the way to the end)is when Willoughby comes to Elinor and tells her all about why he left Marianne. I cant want to find this version! Thanks for letting me know about it!

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