Let’s be clear: I just watched the 1995 Sense and sensibility directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson, and none of the other two thousands adaptations to the small and big screen of the novel by Jane Austen published originally in 1811. In this Sense and sensibility I once again found various English actors that I recently saw in Peter’s friends (1992): Emma Thompson, of course, but also Imelda Staunton and Hugh Laurie! And what do I think about it?
I think that it’s a flawless movie. Clearly, the exceptional cast helps: on top of the actors above, there is a magnificent Alan Rickman (professor Snape for Harry Potter, but also the evil Hans Gruber in the first Die hard by John McTiernan), the always great Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant who’s perfect in the role of the dumb/good-hearted one. This is the first movie made by Ang Lee outside Taiwan, and the director demonstrates that he knows how to do his job splendidly (his 2009 Taking Woodstock is also a very good comedy). The movie gives us a credible XIX century England so dump and humid and cold that we almost feel it in our sofa.
Everything works in this Sense and sensibility : the story is compelling the whole time; there is great chemistry among the actors, especially between Thompson and Winslet; costumes are gorgeous; and the dialogues are always pitch-perfect (I don’t know if we should praise Emma Thompson for her screenplay or Jane Austen for her novel!). It helps that the story is not an extremely sad drama, but it gives us an unexpected happy ending (unexpected if you haven’t read the book, of course), and it also gives us several things to ponder. For instance, it is interesting to see how the society of that time treated harshly the women and the poor, and even the poor descendants of once-rich families.
What else is there to say? If you fancy a (not too dramatic) costume drama, Sense and sensibility by Ang Lee is perfect. Emma Thompson even got an Oscar for her work as a screenwriter, and the movie obtained a number of other awards, and I believe that it deserved the success that it had. Let me end this review with a funny anecdote: apparently, Kate Winslet was afraid of working with Alan Rickman, but soon discovered that he was a very kind and amiable person, contrarily to the characters that he used to play on screen. Already two years have passed since the poor Rickman left us… luckily we can continue to enjoy him in all that he’s done in the 38 years of his career! Ciao!