Ang Lee, who directed, and Emma Thompson, who adapted the screenplay, have done an excellent job of bringing Jane Austens Victorian novel, Sense and Sensibility, to the movie screen. The movies collection of actors are a joy to watch as they bring out the emotions of an otherwise polite and reserved era in time. The production work is top notch with bright, cascading photography that sets a romantic “I wish I was there” setting. The purpose of the Sense and Sensibility is to bring out the romance in all of us and show us that Austens philosophy of love exists today as much as it did two centuries ago.
Sense and Sensibility could rightly be classified as a love story, but that would just scratch the surface of what this movie has to offer. It is also a period piece, giving us a chance to visit English society in the nineteenth century. Director Ang Lee brought us to this historic time with beautifully constructed sets and sites that drop us right into the country cottage of our heroines. This natural scenery, with its wide sweeping camerawork warps us back to a time without the loud annoyances of TV and machinery. By this example Lee sets the stage for the story to begin..
If there is one thing that keeps this movie constantly going is the work of the superb actors. The talent of the actors suited the roles they played, and their mastering of the characters bring personality and feeling to the screen. The story of the movie bases around two of these such characters who happen to be undergoing the same feelings of love but in strikingly different ways. Kate Winslet plays the wild, fatally romantic Marianne who cannot control her feelings. Opposite her is the experienced Emma Thompson who plays the reserved, intelligent Eleanor who is far more sensitive than she ever lets on. These two sisters embark on a romantic adventure that finds them searching for the right man. The two actors compliment each other with their opposite nature which balances the story perfectly.
Yet, as wonderful as these two characters are, Alan Rickmans Brandon is the core of Sense and Sensibility. His performance is eloquent and beautifully controlled but you can tell the torment he fights inside. His voice may be confident and steady, but his eyes alert you to his true emotions. Brandons heartache touches you at the core but this heartache makes him more regal because of his perseverance.
Hugh Grant compliments this array of actors by giving the film some classical slapstick comedy. He fits perfectly against the reserved Emma Thompson who will occasionally bring out that wide smile after one of Grants humorous anecdotes. Grant brings just enough charisma to his character of Edward to bring a little excitement to the movie.
Although the film did not need use the blockbuster special effects of more recent movies, they satisfy the needs of the movie and there are no errors to distract the moviegoer. By doing this Ang Lee forced the watcher to envelop themselves into the emotions of the actors and not glitzy special effects. The story sweeps you away, and the added quality production work was just bonus to an already outstanding film. All the pieces of the film all seemed to fit in place and this is thanks to the work of the director. Ang Lee made sure that everything was perfect, from the historic costumes to the accents of the actors. This is also a compliment to Emma Thompson who had the trouble of constructing a screenplay that would honor the book, but would also move at a fast enough pace to entertain the reader.
Sense and Sensibility shows us exactly what a movie should be. The movies witty romanticism helps illustrate the Victorian era whose love is not so different from our own. This success is due to the actors who brought the story to a personal level. Without them we would not have felt the emotions of the characters, which made us long to love as they did.