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Sense & Sensibility (2008) Review – A Gorgeous Version of a Jane Austen Classic

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Sense and Sensibility (2008)
Photo: BBC Worldwide

Sense & Sensibility (2008) Review

While the 1995 Emma Thompson adaptation of Sense & Sensibility still stands as my personal favorite adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel, the 2008 version penned by period drama veteran Andrew Davies (’95 adaption of Pride and Prejudice) is definitely a close second. Indeed, there are some aspects of this miniseries I like better (especially since the longer format allows for more development).

Sense & Sensibility 2008
Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret

For those still unfamiliar with Austen’s story, Sense & Sensibility is about a widow, Mrs. Dashwood, and her three daughters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. With the loss of husband and father, these women are left practically with no money since law demands the money and estate go to the girls’ older half-brother, a brother who cares very little for them (especially since he has a nasty, greedy wife whispering in his ear). They must find a way to support themselves.

While looking for a new place to live, Edward Ferrars comes to visit his sister (the girls’ sister-in-law) and forms some kind of attachment with Elinor. He’s handsome, kind, and the two just bond instantaneously. An engagement seems on the horizon, against the wishes of Edward’s sister Fanny, but nothing happens. There’s something holding Edward back, but what?

Finally, the Dashwood women find a new place to live, a cottage by the sea. They move with the hopes Edward will come to visit them. In the meantime, they are introduced to a Colonel Brandon, a man of high means who has suffered a romantic tragedy in losing his first love. Immediately, he is drawn to Marianne and her lively character, but she has no interest in him. Instead, she begins to fall for a younger man named Willoughby who rescues her. The two understand each others’ Romantic spirits and so Marianne throws all caution to the wind, never hiding how she feels for him; the opposite of her sister Elinor, who constantly keeps her secret feelings in check.

Sense & Sensibility
Sense & Sensibility’s fabulous cast of leading men!

Sense & Sensibility is, of course, much more complicated than the brief overview I just gave. It’s about humanity, family, and love, and this adaptation does a stunning job of bringing the story and themes together with a fantastic cast as well. With Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as Edward, you can’t help but fall in love with him just as much as Elinor does. Then there’s David Morrissey as Col. Brandon and Dominic Cooper as Willoughby as the other two, very dashing leading men. The female cast is just as good as their now more familiar male counterparts. While not equal to the performances of Winslet and Thompson (who could match that?), Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield are simply wonderful.

Despite the weird, sensual opening of the new miniseries (I didn’t really get this choice by Davies), the execution of Sense & Sensibility is breathtaking from the performances, the writing, the costumes, to the overall production. If you love romantic period dramas and Jane Austen, Sense & Sensibility is definitely a must see! It is available on DVD, rent, and Hulu Plus.

What do you think of this adaptation of Sense & Sensibility? Sound off below…


Photos: BBC

OVERALL RATING

Five Corset Rating Lower Byte Size

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”

ROMANCE RATING

Five heart rating

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.

I have loved none but you.”

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By on January 17th, 2016

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works as a YA Librarian.

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1 thought on “Sense & Sensibility (2008) Review – A Gorgeous Version of a Jane Austen Classic”

  1. I really, really love this adaptation, and as you said the fact that it really helped that it was longer. Though Emma Thompson is one of my favourite actresses, I think that Hattie Morahan does just as well as her. I loved the scene for instance when she went to the cave by the sea to give some relief to her feelings.Also though Edward is not supposed to be handsome, I loved Dan Stevens in this. He was lovely. One of the best scenes is when Elinor and Edward are alone and the camera moves back and forth between them, showing each of them isolated from each other even though they are in the same room. You can feel the tension and struggle they are each experiencing.

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