Monday, August 6, 2012

Sense and Sensibility (2008) Review

{Warning: Excessive long-winded-ness, much rambling and a great deal of nonsense lies ahead.  Also, here be monsters.  Proceed at your own risk.  Dead men tell no tales.}

I've never thought of myself as being much like Queen Victoria.  But in The Young Victoria, Queen Victoria confused stubbornness with strength.  And in the case of Sense and Sensibility 2008, I confused stubbornness with loyalty.

S&S 1995 was the very first movie I reviewed here on YAPDB.  The movie has sentimental connotations for me--it was the second Jane Austen novel I read, the second Jane Austen film adaptation I watched, and the second "just us two" movie that I'd watched with my mom.  It's a stunningly lovely film with superb acting and a well-written script.  So it's only natural that I would think it was the only S&S adaptation I would ever need.

And boy, was I stubborn in that respect.  When Melody suggested that I just give S&S08 a try, I laughed her off.  Surely no other adaptation could even come close to the splendor of the 1995 version.  Besides, hadn't I heard that the first scene was a little iffy?  I didn't want to watch that!


But Melody, bless her heart, kept right on pestering suggesting, reminding me how much fun we had had watching Little Dorrit together last December.  (We both watched the same episodes each night and then emailed each other the next morning to discuss them and quote our favorite lines-- it was loads of fun.)  Now she really wanted me to watch S&S08 with her, and it's hard to say no to my Tween, so I finally caved, ordered S&S from the library, and settled down with Anne-girl to see the first episode.  (By the way, we didn't even have to see a bit of that objectionable first scene-- all you have to do is navigate to the second scene in the scene selection, and then rewind until you get to the opening credits.  And bingo, you've avoided the whole thing.  The rest of the movie is perfectly okay.)

After fifteen minutes had passed, I was hooked.  And Melody was gracious enough not to say "I told you so."  (Well, not in so many words.)

I'm not even going to try to keep myself from comparing the two films in this review, because I know I won't be able to.  So I'll begin by comparing the '08 Dashwood sisters with their '95 counterparts.



First of all, Emma Thompson ('95) is the face of Elinor Dashwood for me.  So what if she was 35 when the movie was filmed and Elinor is only supposed to be 19?  She spoke Elinor, moved Elinor, breathed Elinor.  And I didn't think Hattie Morahan ('08) was going to measure up to Emma Thompson's standard.  (When I first wrote that sentence, I abbreviated Emma Thompson as E.T. ... then I looked at it again and decided not to. :P) Hattie Morahan's voice and manner of speaking are quite similar to Emma Thompson's, and though I don't know if that was intentional or not, it definitely helped me to get accustomed to her portrayal.  She's not very pretty at first glance, but as you get to know her better throughout the film, she becomes more and more lovely.  (I've noticed that with a lot of characters in period drama... they become more aesthetically pleasing as the story goes on and you become better acquainted with them.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.)



As for Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood... well, let's just say that Kate Winslet did a phenomenal job and leave it at that, shall we?

Oh, all right, she wasn't that bad.  I just felt that her portrayal of Marianne was much too self-centered and whiny-- and what was up with her running around with her hair down half the time? I think this movie was probably set around 1795, which was when Jane Austen first wrote it, and women did wear their hair down more often back then... but not as wildly as Marianne did in this movie.  Maybe it was an effort on the filmmakers' part to make her look younger, but I felt it just looked sloppy.  


Mrs. Dashwood and Margaret, however, were very well cast.  I've never been much of a fan of Gemma Jones' weepy Little Bo Peep performance in '95, and it was refreshing to see a Mrs. Dashwood who actually had some backbone.   However, Janet McTeer's performance wasn't quite on par with the Mrs. Dashwood of the book.  Mrs. Dashwood is supposed to be practically a carbon copy of Marianne-- easily swept away by feelings, etc.  She's supposed to be just as enamored of Willoughby as her daughter is (although of course she maintains later that there was always something in his eyes that she did not like).  Yet in this movie, she was shown to be a little suspicious of him, which wasn't exactly a bad thing but it wasn't quite in line with the book.

Lucy Boynton played Margaret quite nicely, and she improved as the story went on, but I still prefer Emelie Francois' performance.  Margaret suffers from a severe lack of personality in the original novel, but in the '95 movie she was made into a funny, likable character.  She's funny and likable in this version too-- "If she comes to live here, I MIGHT even POISON her"--but not quite as much.


Before I saw this adaptation, I was one of those who was firmly convinced that Hugh Grant did a splendid job portraying Edward Ferrars in '95.  This was because I had not yet seen how well Edward's role actually could be played.  I still think Hugh Grant did a good job, but he's no longer Edward in my book.  Dan Stevens brought out everything I liked about Edward (and everything I didn't like, which was good-- Edward's moodiness may annoy me, but it is in the book) and his eyes are much nicer than Hugh Grant's.  Ahem moving on.


I also really liked how Edward's relationship with Margaret was developed.  This may have been a little bit of copying off the '95 movie, but hey, it was cute.  Horseback riding isn't quite as fun as dueling with swords (that one scene where she stabs him in '95 is priceless, admit it) but it was still sweet when Edward took Margaret on his horse because that dreadful little Harry Dashwood was riding her pony.  (Speaking of Harry Dashwood.  That child's face was the single scariest thing in the entire movie.  I cowered under the bed when he came on screen.  Well, okay, not really, but it sounds good to say so.)

{I'd just like you all to know that everything that comes after this note has been rewritten from the original.  Because the original was EATEN by the bad, wicked Blogger, who cunningly and with malice aforethought ATE all the words that it TOLD me it had automatically saved.  And now it is smirking at me.  Blogger, why dost thou mock my pain?}


I also really liked how Edward's honor was portrayed so well in this version.  In '95, you have to draw your own conclusions about Edward's marrying Lucy-- here, they actually, you know, showed him standing up to his mother and keeping his agreement to a young woman who didn't deserve the time of day from him.  And the part where he talks to Elinor after Colonel Brandon's offer was heartbreaking in a very satisfactory way.  I was pleased.  Muchly.

Melody had convinced me not to watch Our Mutual Friend (1998) until I had seen S&S, because she said I would not be able to appreciate David Morrissey's Colonel Brandon if I saw him first as Bradley Headstone (the bad guy in OMF).  I took her advice, but when we began watching S&S, I began to think that Bradley Headstone had nothing to do with it and that I just wasn't going to like this guy.  At all.  He struck me as being just a bit stalker-ish in the way he stared at Marianne, and indeed I was inclined to agree with her when she said, "I think he is the kind of man who likes to find fault with everybody and everything."


But I changed my tune as the series went on and found myself liking this version of Colonel Brandon more and more.  Alan Rickman from '95 will always be my favorite, but I now grudgingly admit that there can be two very good portrayals of one character.  And I will quite freely admit that the Rescue Marianne In The Rainstorm scene is much more romantical in '08 than in '95.  In '95, the Colonel just goes out and carries Marianne in, sopping wet.  In '08, we see him thundering through forests and fields on his horse shouting her name, and eventually finds her and brings her back to the house.  It's far more Dramatic and Touching and "Oh-Look-He-Really-Loves-Her"-ish.

Speaking of which, the rainstorm scene was (in my humble opinion) a complete ripoff of the iconic scene from '95.  In the book, Marianne goes out for a walk and gets a bit chilled--a few days later, she comes down with a fever.  In '95, she goes out to see Combe Magna, says Sonnet 116 with the wet wind blowing her hair, gets rescued by Colonel Brandon and falls ill that very night.  In '08, she goes out walking to no place in particular with the wet wind blowing in her hair and her face turned up to the raining sky (doesn't she know you can drown that way???), gets rescued by Colonel Brandon and falls ill that very night.  It strikes me that '08 is trying to copy '95 as unobtrusively as possible.  I'm on to you, Andrew Davies.


Dominic Cooper was the worst Willoughby ever.  EVER.  Well, the only thing worse would be if they had cast David Tennant as Willoughby, because nobody would be able to hate him and poor Colonel Brandon would get booed off screen.  But I digress.  Dominic Cooper's Willoughby was not at all charming, as Willoughby is supposed to be--rather, he was creepy from the very start.  This did not reflect well upon the Dashwood women.  Mrs. Dashwood, Marianne and Margaret were made to look stupid for liking him in the first place, and as for Elinor (who didn't like him), it was kind of a "well, OBVIOUSLY" thing.

Seriously, if *I* had sprained my ankle and this guy came along offering
a lift, I'd run screaming.  Sprained ankle and all. 
I did, however, like that they included Willoughby's whining about how it's not my fault apology scene.  That is, if "like" is interpreted as "let's all punch Willoughby in the face.  Repeatedly."  But '95 left that scene out entirely, which I've always thought was a pity, and I guess half an apology (or a quarter... or an eighth... or whatever it was...) is better than none.  But why on earth was Marianne listening in?  That was NOT the way it was in the book.  She shouldn't even have been out of bed anyway.  Probably she didn't take her medicine either, the naughty girl.

Back to the characters.  Let's have a nice big round of applause for the Steele sisters, shall we?

... I can't heeeeeeear youuuuuuuuuuuu.

*covers ears*
Much better.


I cannot begin to describe how much I enjoyed the Steele sisters in this version.  They were so much better than in '95, it's almost ridiculous.  For instance, poor Nancy was left entirely out of '95.  And she's ten times more hilarious than her sister.  ("I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it just POPT out!")  Her dimwitted remarks really helped to lighten the more awkward scenes, and she was just all-around funny.  "For my part, I find them vastly agreeable, provided they dress smart and behave civil, but I can't bear to see them nasty and dirty, can you?" Lucy, too, was quite an improvement on her '95 counterpart.  In '95, I never quite understood why Lucy confided in Elinor when they first met-- in fact, when I first saw the movie, I thought they had changed it from the book and made it so that she only wanted to tell her secrets to someone.  But in '08, the Middletons discussed the Elusive Mr. F. right in front of Lucy, which gave her ample reason to treat Elinor to the Hands Off monologue.  In addition, the '08 Misses Steele talked bad grammar and seemed real uneducated, which is the way they was in the book.


I appreciated the addition of Mrs. Ferrars (although there were times when I felt a high kick or two, a la Fanny Dorrit, was in order for her) and you could definitely see where Fanny Dashwood's meanness came from.  "Ohhhh Edward, you know you only say these things to annoooooooy me."

Speaking of Fanny, why on earth did the girls call her "aunt"?  She was their sister-in-law.  Not their aunt.  Did Margaret begin referring to her sisters beaux as Uncle Christopher and Uncle Edward after the weddings?  I think not.  (And yes, I'm aware that the Christopher appellation is from '95 and not the book, but it seems to fit him.)   And did anyone else notice that her hairstyle was stolen straight from '95?  She looked ridiculous and Columbia Pictures should sue.  (Anne-girl is expected to "get" that reference, but she is the only one.)


The ball was interesting, but quite inaccurate to the book, and you're probably tired of hearing me spout off about the book, but hey, this is the treasurer of The Book Is Always Better (TBIAB) club speaking.  Mr. America Robert Ferrars and Colonel Brandon were not supposed to be there, though of course the Colonel was quite handy to have around later in the evening when Marianne had her kinda-sorta fainting thingy.  (Did she actually faint?  Or just... sink?)  I was not at all pleased with the way she shouted Willoughby's name across the room, but it certainly was effective when the whole company went quiet and Miss Grey gave the Look of Death.  If they hadn't played the Willoughby Danger Music right at that moment, I probably would have liked it better.

I'm rambling far, far too much and this review is getting way too long, but I'm afraid I'm being too negative so I do want to stick in some positive elements before I start complaining again.  I really liked Marianne's constant letters to Willoughby (and the poor patient footman who had to deal with Miss Why-hasn't-the-mail-come-yet every single morning).  And the whole Elinor/Colonel Brandon mixup was handled quite nicely indeed.  This was when I really began to like Colonel Brandon.
I like the trimming on this pillowcase.  Yes, that was random.

Marianne's illness, however, was not as good as in '95.  I just didn't feel as sad for some reason.  And Colonel Brandon didn't say my mom's favorite line ever ("Miss Dashwood, give me an occupation or I shall run mad") which was a bit of a disappointment. But then, if he HAD said it, I probably would have complained that they copied from '95, so they really can't win, it seems.  (And was anyone else extremely annoyed by the fact that the Colonel came into her bedroom to say get well soon?  That was not proper in those days, peeps.  Not.  In.  The.  Least.)

As for the minor characters, I'm afraid I was vastly disappointed.  Mrs. Jennings was merely adequate-- there was none of Elizabeth Spriggs' over-the-top hilarity, and Mr. Palmer... ugh.  There is only ONE real Mr. Palmer, and that is Bertie Wooster.  End of story.  Thank you, my dear.

Speaking of the end of the story, I was rather disappointed at first that no weddings were shown.  But then I decided that no Jane Austen wedding can possibly top Throw the Coins in '95, so kudos to the '08 directors for not even trying.  Instead, we got to see Colonel Brandon and his newly tamed horse--er, his bride--riding off into the sunset and we all felt happy and warm and fuzzy.  (Except for the horse taming references.  What was up with THAT??)


As for Edward and Elinor, this proposal ties with the memorable '95 "My heart is and ever will be... yours."  And before I watched S&S08, I honestly thought nothing could top that.  So I was prepared to be disappointed with this version, and instead I got a lovely surprise. Cutest thing ever, ladies.  Just go watch it as soon as possible.  (At this point I should insert a link to a video of that scene, but alas, 'tis not available on YouTube.  So you must do it the old-fashioned way and get thee to the library.)

My conclusion?  These versions almost tie.  That's a huge admission coming from me, considering how much I love the '95 version.  I never thought anything could top it-- and nothing has.  But S&S08 has come pretty close, and I know I'll be watching it again.

Isn't it fortunate, by the by, that it was Willoughby passing when Marianne fell?  I mean, it could have been some uncouth old farmer with no taste for Byron.  Horrors.

31 comments:

Miss Melody Muffin said...

Yay! Your review is up!

I saw this version first and just watched the '95 movie several weeks ago. I have to agree, right now, I'd say the versions tie for me. That may or may not change after I see both movies again in close proximity to each other.

For me, Emma Thompson will always be Elinor. Hattie Morahan is too plain. Elinor isn't plain in the book, she just isn't as pretty as Marianne. Hattie's performance lacked Emma's grace and charm, IMHO. Emma IS Elinor for me as Hattie never will be.

I also prefer Kate Winslet's Marianne to Charity Wakefield's.

I can't quite decide which Edward I like better! I really do have to watch the two versions one right after the other, because now, with there being months between my two S&S experiences, I can't know which portrayal of some of the characters I like better!! (No, I am not making that up as an excuse to see both movies again. I don't need an excuse. do I?) :)

To me, David Morrissey looks Colonel Brandon better than Alan Rickman. Overall, again, I'll have to watch the movies again before I can make my final decision.

I think Dominic Cooper might play a decent Chauvelin, don't you? (mental note: casting possibility in dream TSP TV series mentioned here: http://theswirlofwords.blogspot.com/2012/07/a-writer-never-has-vacation.html)

*Applauds loudly.* I agree, the Steele sisters were very good in this version.

Great review, Amy!!!!!

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

Loved your review!

S&S (and S&S95) was also my second Jane Austen book/adaptation/Jane Austen Adaptation I watched with my mom

Melody recommends good period dramas! She recommended Bleak House and I think her and belle'sbeast recommended S&S08 to me.

Emma Thompson will always be Elinor, but I still liked Hattie Morahan's performance. I thought that HM's Elinor was a little too outspoken for the part. Emma Thompson (and yes, I also won't call her ET because Emma Thompson does not need to phone home) was quiet, but I think that worked for Elinor.

Charity Wakefield's Marianne I didn't care for all that much. Like you said, she wasn't bad, but not as good as Kate Winslet. I thought that she didn't play up the sensibility part in her like Kate Winslet did. With Kate Winslet, sure she was over the top at times, but that's the effect you want with Marianne. Kate Winslet IS Marianne. Period.

I have a soft spot for Gemma Jones since watching The Duchess of Duke Street (which is a good period drama; some more mature themes, but still PG I would say). I liked both Mrs. Dashwood's, but I think Janet McTeer was closer to the right age (it was also her birthday a couple of days ago). I preferred Lucy Boynton's Margaret to Emelie Francois's, though -- Lucy Boynton was closer to Margaret's age in the book.

Dan Stevens is definitely the better looking Edward Ferrars. Hugh Grant might have been more accurate in some spots to the Edward in the book, but I just like Dan Stevens's Edward better.

There was a good deal of this miniseries that was copied from S&S95, starting with (like you started with) Edward and Margaret's relationship. And there was also a very similar library scene in S&S08, though Margaret wasn't hiding like in S&S95.

Oh man! Harry Dashwood! That kid was creepy! He just had that blank stare throughout the entire miniseries! It looked like this: 0_0 haha!

Anyways.

I liked David Morrissey's Colonel Brandon, but just not as much as Alan Rickman's.

And the other instant where S&S08 stole a part of S&S95: the rainstorm. Why can't they just do the scene that was in the book? I was surprised that the S&S comic book had the scene from the book (where Marianne goes for a walk in wet stockings). What, is the rainstorm scene the latest trend?

Agree 100% on Willoughby. Seriously, no one cast David Tennant as Willoughby! But anyways. Dominic Cooper was creepy from the moment he picked Marianne up after her fall.

"Seriously, if *I* had sprained my ankle and this guy came along offering a lift, I'd run screaming. Sprained ankle and all." Same here! I'd be limping away, but if he came offering me a lift, that would provide the perfect incentive to heal and be on my way. ("Need a lift?" "No no. I got this. It was nothing. I'll just be on my way.")

I still liked 95 Lucy Steele (well, as much as Lucy Steele can be liked), but the addition of Anne is a HUGE plus for S&S08. Poor Anne just popt it all out!

Yeah, I've always been confused why Fanny was "aunt" since she was their sister in law. And yes! She stole Fanny95's hair!

And am I guessing correctly that the reference is from The Princess Diaries?

I always interpreted that scene that Marianne did faint at the ball (I think she felt sick in the book and they left early? I think?)

Mrs. Jennings was a little disappointing in this version, but then no one can compete with Elizabeth Spriggs's Mrs. Jennings (though I heard Patricia Routledge's Mrs. Jennings was good). And only Hugh Laurie can be Mr. Palmer. (Haven't seen Jeeves and Wooster yet, but I've heard good things).

Yeah, no wedding... But I thought Elinor/Edward's ending was sweet.

Both S&S95 and S&S08 have good parts to them and parts that needed improvement, but both are definitely worth a watch.

Sorry for the long comment, but it was such fun to write it!

Melody said...

Guess what? I didn't read one word, not ONE WORD (except what I couldn't avoid seeing on Dashboard :P), before I went and clicked the comment box. I've learnt my lessons. :P

Stubbornness with loyalty... hahahaha. Well put. :P

Haha, yes, Melody, who likes to watch ever single JA film adaptation she possibly can, would indeed suggest you just give this one a try. That was the first thing I found out about you that WASN'T like me. :P

I DID NOT PESTER. I quoted. There is a difference. :D I'm glad to have my heart blessed, though. I'm sure that must be pleasant.
Now now. Let's tell the truth here. You were saying "I want to see this version now" before I suggested we watch it together. :P

I told you so.

Oops, now I said it. In so many words. *hangs head*

Emma Thompson is just Emma Thompson's Elinor to me... and not Elinor herself. Heehee. She was good. But only the book can have the real Elinor.

Haha, hate to break it to you deary, but Marianne IS self-centered and whiny. :P (Okay, maybe not as much as Charity Wakefield. But still, there was a certain part of JA's Marianne that Kate Winslet did not get. It might have made her more likable, but she didn't get it. :P)

Do not ask me why, but the mini-series is set in 1800. How do I know this? Just my Miss Sherlock tendencies. :P There be a part in the movie that tells you (if you are capable of adding and subtracting, which I assume you are). There is a riddle for you, m'dear. :D

I didn't appreciate Marianne's hair being down... besides, it looked so CUTE when it was up! :D But anyways, she was seventeen so it's a slight excuse... Lady Middleton, on the other hand... NO.

But Jane Austen didn't make Margaret a sword-fighting tomboy. Therefore she is not one. *snobbish look*

Much NICER than Hugh Grant's??? "Ahem moving on" indeed.

Um. So. I wrote a long comment. And they told me it was too long. *blushes* Well hey, it was a long post, and I'm a chatterbox when I comment on your blog. Tootuz I get confused and think it's an email and that I should be commenting on everything that strikes me. And a lot strikes me. :P

So. Second half coming out. Sorry, folks, for making you scroll past my excessive longness... scold me and I shall try to mend my ways. I'm a good girl, I am.

Melody said...

Oooooooooooohhhhhhhh. You poor dear. :( BLOGGER, THE FIGHT IS ON. Nobody is mean to my Tween (heeheehee) and gets away with it. NOT EVEN YOU. (Though I admit I would stop blogging before I would switch to Wordpress. Heh.) Start writing your posts in Word. You can add the pictures later, you know. Or you can write a couple paragraphs, paste it, and add a picture, and save it both places. Then you won't lose your wooooords and those are harder to replace than the pictures. :D

Yes, heartbreaking in a MOST satisfactory way. I think I cried during that part. Especially with the [blue] eyeeeeeees....
"Ahem moving on."

La, I didn't say that seeing him as Bradley Headstone first would keep you from liking him as you would have. I meant that if you saw him as Bradley Headstone first, he would CREEP YOU OUT. There is a difference. :D I actually think you ended up liking his portrayal as Col. Brandon more than *I* do. But then, I don't like Alan Rickman's as much as you either, so the scale of liking between DM and AR might be the same. You just like them both more. :P

What, you can drown that way? o.O Are you serious?? Just because Felix King said so doesn't mean I believe it. "Watch it don't rain with your nose stuck up in the air like that, you might drown." Bahahahaha.

You can't say DC was the worst Willoughby ever. You know I hate him as much as I do, but you haven't seen the other two portrayals. Just sayin'. :P

Ummmmm... are you in with all the stuff about David Tennant or did you just say that for Ally's sake??????

You spelled "popt" right!!!!!
Well DUHHHH. ;)

Squeal, you included the "annooooy me" line! :D

She was their half-sister-in-law. Maybe "sister" was much to relative-ly of a term.
I'm just being obstinate. I hated that they did that too. :P

Now. That is not fair. If only Anne-girl is expected to get a reference, you mustn't say so in front of the rest of us. It is quite rude. *Martian*

Nope, I'm never tired of hearing you spout off about the book.

No no, it's "Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad." (Why on earth am I correcting you about an S&S95 quote?????)

But Marianne ASKED to see Col. Brandon. Besides, he saved her life, or something like that. 'Twas an excuse. :D (I didn't say it was a good excuse. I just said it was an excuse.)

I love the Edward proposal scene! Melt.

THE VERSIONS ALMOST TIEEEEEE!
I feel enormously gratified. I have succeeded in my endeavour to convert you (I'm just saying that for effect tootuz my real endeavor was to get you to watch it at all), and now we Once Again have the Same Opinion. And we can gush forever about a certain pair of eyes, and you can enjoy the out-of-character-ness of it on my part. :D

Some uncouth old farmer who had never read a word of Byron in his life, you mean. (I'm sorry, it just popt out!!! If I am a wild Beast I cannot help it, it is not my own fault...)

Lydia said...

Can I just say that I agree with almost everything you have said? Ok, I agree with almost everything you said!
I got the saying "it looked rediculous and Columbia pictures should sue!!!!" it's from Princess Diaries right?

AnnaKate said...

Gah. You finally saw it. Let me allow this to sink in for a moment.

Okay.

Wasn't it awesome? I fell in love with this version. The 1995 will always have a special place in my heart, but.... sorry, the 2008 is just plain better in its representation of Austen's beautimus novel. (I, too, am biased; it was my first Austen book and remains my favorite, tied with Henry Tilney... ahem, I mean Northanger Abbey.)

Emma Thompson is a lovely Elinor. But I have to admit that I do SLIGHTLY prefer Hattie Morahan, if simply for her age and the way she handles that scene at the end. Also, she seemed to handle the sister-relationship with Marianne more gracefully; they seem far tighter and less mother-daughter in this version.

AHEM. You did NOT just say that Charity Wakefield failed at being Marianne, did you? Cause she is so much better than Kate Winslet. ;)

Dan Stevens is my Edward forever and always. <3 (Nope, I am SO not biased by the fact that he's also my beloved Matthew Crawley. ;)) He is the one who made me like Edward Ferris, and he's the one who eventually made me love him. Don't kill me, but Hugh Grant just seemed a little... awkward as Edward. And not in a good way. But that's just me.

Ah, my beloved Colonel Brandon. Portrayed equally well in both the '95 and the '08. =) I love BOTH for different reasons.

And the ending. I love this ending, with Brandon romancing Marianne is such a lovely and tender and gentle and patient way, and Elinor and Edward raising chickens. It's priceless.

So glad you saw (and liked) it, Amy!

Anonymous said...

Sighhhhh. S&S08 is my absolute FAVORITE version of S&S!!!! So insanely good. Glad you liked it and glad you watched it before Our Mutual Friend... but get thee to a library and watch it. Anyway, Edward is one of my favorite JA heroes and I like him in this version a WHOLE lot more than in the '95 version. (His whole "Beating carpets?" scene was THE BEST. Love, love, love....)

Refraining from a long comment because it would be all fangirlishness,
Eowyn : )

Payton Wilson said...

Ahem. I have arrived to bestow my normally unpopular opinions. ;) Consider yourself warned, Chauvie dear.

Ummmm... actually to hear my opinion, you should just scroll up and read AnnaKate's comment, because we pretty much agree. =)

I much prefer Hattie Morahan over Emma Thompson. Sorry, but the fact that Emma was 35 and playing a 19-year-old really bugged me. Like AnnaKate said, the relationship between Emma and Kate Winslet almost seemed more mother-daughter instead of two sisters. And I personally think Hattie is adorable. She's not beautiful, but she's cute. =)

And I really can't decide between the two Mariannes. Both were phenomenal...

And Dan Stevens... Wow, LOVE that guy. He IS Edward Ferrars. I saw the 1995 version first, and I was somewhat satisfied with Hugh Grant's performance, but then I saw 2008, and Hugh Grant paled in comparison. Dan Stevens is everything Edward should be. Now when I watch 1995, Hugh Grant is just... blahhhhhhh.

Okay, Chauvie. Let's get one thing straight. David Morrissey IS Colonel Brandon. I enjoy Alan Rickman's performance, but he mumbles, talks through his teeth, and he's WAY older than 35!! He could be Marianne's grandfather! David Morrissey on the other hand is just perfect, manly, handsome, and passionate. And he went in to see Marianne when she was sick because she ASKED to see him so she could thank him! :P Silly, silly Chauvie. =D Heehee.

Dominic Cooper... ewwwwwwww. Greg Wise is SOOOOO much better as Willoughby.

And oh, the proposal!! I'm afraid it was infinitely better than '95. Dan Stevens just melted me in that scene. And Hattie Morahan was sooo cute.

So there you go. Once again, I take the unpopular side. The 2008 version IS Sense and Sensibility. And I believe it is the S&S that Jane Austen intended it to be. =)

Payton Wilson said...

Oh, and I couldn't help but smile when you mentioned Dan Stevens' eyes. =) Aren't they amazing? They're not Tom Hiddleston's, but they're still very pretty...

whats.in.a.name said...

What a lovely review! I laughed to myself several times as I read.
I'm so glad you enjoyed this version, especially when you didn't expect to. I'm nearly the exact opposite of you! I watched the '95 version first, but I really didn't care for it! Before you throw me out for heresy, permit me to tell you why. (You still may want to throw me out for heresy afterwards.) I didn't really care for Hugh Grant, for one thing. He didn't seem capable of completing a sentence! He never seemed to warm up and be amiable, which I think he does, to some degree, in the book. I also am not a big fan of Alan Rickman. I say this in a small voice for fear of angering many: I don't really like his voice. It sounds villainous in a smooth, silky sort of way.
However, just a few weeks ago, I saw S&S '95 on the shelf of the local library and decided to give it another chance. It was several years since I'd seen it and I had a long car ride coming up. I must say that it wasn't as bad as I remembered it. I have yet to complete the film (my laptop was running out of charge)but it didn't bother me nearly as much as it used to.
I do love the '08 version. I think Hattie Morahan is lovely. (I may be biased since Elinor is the Austen heroine I'm most like.) I also think Charity Wakefield did a lovely job. I've heard several people say she seemed whiny, but I haven't seen that. Perhaps, with whiny in mind, I'll pick up on it in the next viewing. Dan Stevens is fantastic! Although, perhaps not shy enough. I still like him, though. Edward gets the short end of the stick so often among Austen fans. It's a shame.
The scene where Col. Brandon never bothered me, unlike the scene in P&P '05, in which Bingley enters Jane's sick room. That irks me no end. I always want to shout at the screen, "He wouldn't do that!!!!" I may or may not roll my eyes. I love the look Col. Brandon gets when Marianne puts her hand on his, especially since he came in the room with an almost fatherly expression.
As for Willoughby, they seemed to cast and portray dark and dangerous, not handsome and romantic. He seemed rather like a bad boy from the beginning. (I do so hate that term.)
I've yet to be truly satisfied with a Lucy Steele. I think that in the book, she really in conniving and malicious. She keeps telling Elinor how faithful Edward is and how well received she is by his family when she meets them. I think it's because she's heard something of Elinor and she's jealous. I got a little of this feeling from '95, but not really from '08. I do like Anne Steele, especially her accents and her "beaux."
Thank you for the lovely review. Do another again soon!
Blessings,
"Elinor"

whats.in.a.name said...

Oh, I remembered something I forgot to put in my first comment! It does bother me that they messed with the timeline in the '08 version and had Marianne become engaged to Col. Brandon before Elinor was even proposed to by Edward. I don't think it's in keeping with Marianne's character (she wouldn't be so easily won) and it certainly doesn't follow the book. The book talks about how her heart became as devoted to Col. Brandon as it had been to Willioughby.
I, too, and a loyal member of The Book is Always Better Club.

Katy-Anne said...

I'm glad you wrote this review, because I just might give S&S 08 another try. I got it at the library a few years ago, not having heard about the very objectionable beginning. So I was horrified when it began like that and turned it off immediately. Frankly, I love the '95 version anyway and wasn't even sure I wanted to see another version.

By the way, I love reading your posts and trying to recognize all the random references that have nothing whatsoever (so it would seem) to do with the topic. The Princess Diaries one here was apt.

Hayden said...

Wow. I agree with every point you made.

Seriously.

And I love the scene where Edward poposes. I do. I may watch it again on Youtube just 'cause.

Miss Melody: Dominic Cooper as Chauvelin? Hmm...that bears some thinking about :)

Jessica said...

I love the '08 version! Not really better than the '95 one, but I had watched that SO many times, that I was ready for a fresh take on the story.
I like Edward so much better in the '08. Also, I like Charity as Marianne quite well. Not as much as Kate Winslett, but still...
I didn't mind her hair down, either. ;-)

Oh! And yes, Lucy's sister was hilarious! I laugh so hard at her speeches. Haha

Lauren said...

I really enjoyed your review, but one thing that has prevented me from seeing this version was the costumes shown on the cover, I really didn't want to watch it after seeing Mariannes dress, it seemed too indecent for a J.A character.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Kim said...

Wow! You have some very "vocal" followers. I will keep my comment brief.

The S&So8 version had more story and filled in a few of the blanks, but the S&S95 version had more humor. I love them both!

Still having trouble getting past seeing David Morrissey as anyone other than Bradley Headstone *shudder*

Margaret Hale said...

I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds really good! Although if I ever do see it, I should probably read the book first. I know, I haven't read it yet, how awful of me :)

Harry Dashwood sounds quite interesting, and it's neat that they put in Mrs. Ferrars.

Miss Dashwood said...

Squeep. Lotta comments.

Miss Melody Muffin,
I didn't quite feel that Hattie's performance lacked grace and charm... she just wasn't quite as Elinor-ish as Emma Thompson. And yes, I completely agree with you about Marianne. :D
Dominic Cooper might indeed make a good Chauvelin! He's a bit young, though.

Miss Elizabeth,
Melody recommends good everything. :D
Actually, I felt that Dan Stevens was much more accurate to the Edward in the book. He nailed the teasing part of Edward's personality, which I really liked.
Hahaha, the blank stare of Harry Dashwood...
Yep, that reference is indeed from The Princess Diaries... my sisters and I haven't seen the whole movie but we do like to quote bits and pieces from the promos on our Mary Poppins DVD. Heehee. "I look like a moose!"
Don't apologize for the long comment; I loved reading it!

Melody,
I am proud of you, m'dear. Heehee.
True, I did say I wanted to see the version before you suggested watching it together. I was mistooken.
Marianne is not self-centered and whiny! Okay, well, maybe for some of the time. But not all the time. And CW seemed to be that way almost all the time.
I did figure out how it's set in 1800... the birth dates in the Bible near the beginning. Heehee.
True, JA did not say Margaret was a sword-fighting tomboy... but neither did she say she WASN'T. "And you can stick that in your schnitzel."
I know, I know, I should write my posts in Word... but I prefer to be able to do my pictures at the same time. I be stubborn, you know. ;)
Hahahaha, the blue eyeeeeeeees... heeheehee.
No, m'dear, you cannot REALLY drown that way-- at least I don't think you can... but I was just being silly.
I'd say I'm sort of in with all the stuff about David Tennant... the fact is that I haven't yet seen him in a full-length movie (just various clips and stuff) so I can't objectively form an opinion yet. Not that my opinions are ever objective.
But Marianne wouldn't have asked to see Colonel B while she was in her NIGHTGOWN. You just didn't DO things like that.
Heehee, now see how long my comment has gotten... oh, well, if I am a wild Beast...

Lydia,
It is indeed. :D Glad you liked the review!

Miss Dashwood said...

AnnaKate,
It was awesome indeed! I agree, the sister-relationship between Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield was very sweet and believable, but I really liked it in '95 too.
Oh, no, dear, I did not say CW failed at being Marianne! I just said she wasn't as good as Kate Winslet. There were some good elements. But they were few and far between. *ducks*
Good gracious, I won't kill you for saying Hugh Grant was awkward as Edward. Because he was! And Edward is supposed to be awkward... but I still definitely preferred Dan Stevens' portrayal.
I LOVE the ending too. Could have done without the Evil Birds of Utter Creepiness (aka the chickens) but all in all it was swellissimus.

Eowyn,
Ooh, I definitely want to see OMF sometime in the near future! Wasn't the carpet beating scene sweet? Sigh.

Puddle,
Emma Thompson actually didn't play a 19-year-old... they moved Elinor's age up to 29 to make it more believable for '95. But I agree, she really was too old. However, I didn't see a mother-daughter relationship at all-- I thought the sisterliness in '95 was great!
Heehee, I don't think I'll ever be satisfied with Hugh Grant's performance again. ;)
Alan Rickman does NOT mumble or talk through his teeth, Puds! He does have a bit of a speech impediment but his wonderful acting makes up for it. And yes, I know Marianne asked for Colonel Brandon, but like I said to Melody, that just wasn't Proper. Asking or going.
I think I liked the proposal scenes equally... but yeah, Hattie Morahan was incredibly cute in that part. And I liked the hug. It's so cute when couples hug.
Well, I think S&S08 is the version that Andrew Davies intended it to be... but you're right, it IS closer to the book than the other one. ;)


Elinor,
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Don't worry, I won't throw you out for not liking '95. To each her own, eh?
I really do like Alan Rickman's voice... I guess I'm in the minority there though.
Dan Stevens was not quite shy enough, I agree with you there. But I did like how he captured the moody side of Edward's personality.
Ugh, I hate the whole "hey-look-it's-Willoughby-let's-play-the-bad-guy-music" thing.
I actually DID get the conniving and malicious feeling from the '08 Lucy... much more than in '95. And Anne Steele was hysterical!
And yes, I wish the Brandon/Marianne thing hadn't been quite so rushed. Of course it's a bit rushed in '95, too, but they had such a limited time frame there.

Melody said...

M'dear Miss Dashwood,
Actually, I think Emma Thompson's Elinor was supposed to be 27. I've definitely read that before. And Emma T. herself said mid-20s, I think, in her diary thing which I got from the library once but didn't read all of.
Heh, sorry for piping in there. Bad form, I know. :P

JA didn't say she wasn't a tomboy? Well they probably didn't use that term back then. JA indicated that Margaret was a lady-like sort of little girl, wanting to copy her sisters, which is nothing like Margaret 1995. *snooty look* Besides, the Real Margaret is 13, so that votes Miss 1995 out of Book Accuracy altogether. (The same can be said for Elinor, but that is completely beside the point. At least they do not state her age in the movie.)

Well then I suggest you switch over to HTML every so often and click CTRL + A and then CTRL + C, and then at least you have it all copied. :D

But Marianne was far too sick to change out of her nightgown. Besides, I think it was a robe. What about when Elinor threw a shawl around her nightgown and went down the hall with a candle to fetch Mr. Palmer in the middle of the night in the 1995 version? She would have never done THAT, either. She would have dressed first.
:D

Miss Dashwood said...

Katy-Anne,
Oh, do try it again! The objectionable scene is easily skipped and the rest of the film is so lovely. Heehee, I'm glad you like the random quotes!

Hayden,
I melt every time with that proposal. ;)

Jessica,
A fresh take on the story is always nice... IF it's true to the story. Cough, cough, P&P05... :D

Lauren,
For the most part, the dresses in this film are very modest. Unfortunately there IS a dress Marianne wears near the end of the film that is quite revealing (and naturally that would have to be the one on the cover... sigh... which is why I don't have the DVD cover in this post). However, this dress only appears once and the rest of the film is quite modest. Minus the first scene, of course. Skip that. :D

Kim,
I love them both too!

Margaret,
(Haha. It seems funny calling you that. ;P)
You should definitely read the book! "Yes, or I will nevah speak to her again." Kidding. I will speak to you again if you don't read it... but I do highly recommend it. :D

Alexandra said...

Oooooooh. This is one Austen film I have a strong opinion about. Shocking, no?

I haven't seen this yet. I know i will eventually. Curiosity and all that. But really. There are some major issues I have with S&S08...

1. Kate Winslet is not Marianne. Marianne is me. Completely and totally (well, KW's Marianne...I like to think I'm not self-centered and whiny. No comment). I connected on SO many levels with that character. And from the bits I've seen and the opinions of others...Charity's performance could completely ruin the story for me.

2. No Hugh Laurie's Mr. Palmer. Duh.

3. HORRIBLE Dominic Cooper. Greg was so lovely as Willoughby. (BTW. David Tennant Willoughby!?!?!?!??! WOWZA. The thought is amazing. They should have TOTALLY cast him in this as Willoughby. I would have watched it, I would...sigh, what a horribly lovely thought!!!) And a friend of mine said DC's Willoughby looked like "the offspring of Satan". Rather harsh, but he did look the part. Ahem.

While I've only read bits and pieces of the book so I can't compare to it (I took it with me on the flight, read a few paragraphs and then got caught up in an Agatha Christie instead...ahem), I really loved both Emma Thompson's Elinor and (coughs) Hugh Grant's Edward. Emma's age brings a whole new twist to Elinor's dilemma, and Edward was so adorably awkward...the couple was sooooo adorable and a nice change from the dashing hero and lovely young heroine. So I'm one of the minor Hugh Grant lovers (probably because i'm not an Janeite...ahem). And Emma is just such a completely PHENOMENAL actress (did you know that she and Hugh Laurie dated in college?) that she brings soooo much to the character.

Heyyyyy now. I get chills every time I see the Brandon-carrying-her-home scene. Do not insult it. :)

And NO THROWING THE COINS scene. That scene is so amazing. And you don't need the Willoughby confession scene because it's so obvious just seeing Willoughby on his horse on the hill. All that whole dialogue captured (IMO) so much more dramatically in that silent moment with no dialogue. Testament to great screenplay on Emma's part and great acting on Greg's. And I do think it funny that they ended up married in real life. :-P

The screenplay was so incredibly, good-old-fashioned British wit and humor, it's one of the best parts of the story. Emma's a genius. Wait, I said that all ready.

Sooooooo yeah. I will see this someday. But S&S95 holds such a special place in my heart (the only Austen that would actually make it in my top-ten-favorite-period-dramas-of-all-time list) that I hate the idea of "spoiling" it with another.

My long opinion. :)

Julia Rogers said...

Helloo Amy,
I just wanted to say I am SOOO proud of you!! For watching S&S'08 !! I have been hoping you would.!!

But FYI I TOTALLY got the "She looked ridiculous and Columbia Pictures should sue. " hahahahahah I cant tell you how hard i laughed!! =) that is one of my top FAVORITE quotes!! I CONSTANTLY use it! = ) but my sister doesnt know it because she hasn't seen it. =) I also use the "oi" that comes before it for EVERYTHING..I mean for every thing i want to emphasize! =) I have wondered soo many times if any of you period drama nuts (of which I am a major one btw) liked chick flicks as well. = )

Juanita's Journal said...

Poor Emma Thompson. I had no idea that she would become a victim of ageism.

I don't know why people demand that Elinor is portrayed by a much younger actress. Hattie Morahan was 29-30 years old when she portrayed Elinor. Technically, she was also too old for the role, if one continues to demand that Elinor to be portrayed by a much younger actress. And honestly? I thought it was a mistake for Austen to describe Elinor as a 19 year-old in the first place. No actress who has portrayed Elinor, has ever been able to portray Elinor as 19.

Holly said...

I LOVED this review, Amy...I agree with almost everything you wrote.
Ahh, such a beautiful mini series of the classic 'Sense and Sensibility', but of course, not quite as good as the 1995 version! :)

Anonymous said...

First of all, I agree with EVERYTHING AnnaKate said! Second of all, OMG I Love Your Blog! Thank you! It's such a relief to, if not have direct conversation with, "talk" to others who understand and love these movies as I do! Funny, witty, informative, just great! While I absolutely love both versions, my heart belongs to the 2008 movie/miniseries, which because it was longer, was able to fit more in, flesh out things in a way the first movie couldn't. This is the movie (along with the first one) that I will always have on the TV when I'm doing ANYTHING around the house, it's part of my natural environment, just something I find very comforting to see and listen to. I also get decorating inspiration and my living room has been absolutely inspired by Barton Cottage (2008 version). I used to have reddish walls and brown wood-toned paint on my window trim with alot of English cottage-inspired clutter, and now have completely lightened up and minimalized thanks to the Dashwoods! My husband is very grateful! :o)
Angela

Anonymous said...

Oh, almost forgot to mention in my above comment that my favorite part of S&S (both versions) is when Marianne slowly falls in love with Col. Brandon at the end. Just perfection! As Elinor said "I shall have to find a colonel too!"
Angela

Anonymous said...

S&S 2008 is by far my favorite version, period!

I think Hattie Morahan did an amazing job! She may have been in her late twenties when she played the part but she looked a lot younger (younger then Emma Thompson) I also think Charity Wakefield looked younger as well.

Kate Winslet was a little to immature in my opinion.

Lets just say I like all the actors actresses in 08 version :) And Nancy Steel wins the award for the most laughs :) She fit the part perfectly.

I did watch "Our Mutual Friend" first and did not like David Morrissey at all! But then as I watched S&S a "couple" of times I like him a lot. I think he is the perfect one to play Col. Brandon.

A thing I didn't like about the 1995 version was, Marianne didn't like Col. Brandon at all until close to the end.

~Kristalyn

Emily Blakeney said...

Watched this version just the other day...I have to say I didn't quite like it better than the '95 version (Mrs. Jennings, Sir John and Mr & Mrs Palmer just weren't up to the standard), but I think I like the '08 Edward and Colonel Brandon better....

RosieP said...

I've seen only four versions of "Sense and Sensibility" and if I must be honest, I'm a fan of all four. However, I do believe that the 1995 and 2008 versions are superior to the 1971 and 1981 versions. Which is ironic, since the latter two versions are probably shorter than the two made in the 70s and 80s.

Anonymous said...

Having watched both the 95 and 08 versions I have to say that 08 is my favourite :-)

I think it's as simple as preferring the actors in 08. Sorry to say (as it is a bit ageist) but Elinor IS meant to be younger and whilst Hattie Morahan is older, she doesn't come across as older - Emma Thompson is a brilliant actress but she didn't convey a young woman to me, I'd see her more portraying someone like Anne Elliot in Persuasion.

Dan Stevens and David Morrissey are spot on as Edward Ferrars and Col Brandon. Dan Stevens because he brought a bit of spark to the character - I though Hugh Grant made him too awkward, you couldn't even imagine him having the guts to preach to a congregation despite the character wanting to be a clergyman. Col Brandon as well suffered from the old person syndrom, as with Elinor, Alan Rickman is an excellent actor but was seriously too old to be suitor for Marianne, although David Morrisey is older, he is young enough (and handsome enough) to imagine that Marianne might fall in love with him.

I agree with most of the other comments on the characters, I thought the 08 portrayal of the Middletons, Mr Palmer and Mrs Jennings weren't great but I liked the Misses Steele, Mrs Dashwood and Margaret.

The only other comment I'd make is a little bit of laughter at the reaction of some people to the first scene (not on your blog but elsewhere!). It really isn't that bad and whilst it's a bit out of place in a Austen period drama, it was sadly not out of touch with the time and that it was the way that some, like Willoughby, behaved. Showing it in this version isn't that much of a jump out of time.

Sorry for the long comments! Thanks for the great blog 😄

Michelle