I find it strange sometimes that a film can catch you at the exact right mood where you really just marvel at it. I can think of only a few times in my life where that actually happened. The 1st was the original “the Manchurian Candidate”, the 2nd was “Schindler’s List”, 3rd was a little film called “the Thirteenth Floor”, and the latest was “Sense & Sensibility”. These moments are like the perfect combination of things you love meeting the exact mood you would want to be in to REALLY enjoy them. Raise your hand if you know what I am talking about.
I take that back. Put your hands down.
The remarkable thing about me watching this movie is that I love Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson as actresses, and yet this movie is not one I had seen before now. So, while I am very familiar with a great deal of both of these fine actresses work, I had not seen this one. I thought that this film looked boring at first brush. Suzanne and I sat back to devour “Sense & Sensibility” in the comfort of the couch and man was it the perfect setting for that kind of movie! I guess it was that I was just very open to receive whatever this film had to throw my way.
First of all, the acting is top notch in this. Of course, all you have to do is just look at this cast! Alan Rickman is a highlight truly. For those of you who may only know him as Severus Snape from the “Harry Potter” films, this is decidedly different role. He is a man’s man in the role of Colonel Brandon. I loved his character – stern but caring is the perfect description of him. I was thrilled by his performance. Kate Winslet is wonderful as the passionate and fragile Marianne. She can play a damaged sole with such tenderness that it is achingly beautiful. Emma Thompson is the true star in this film, playing a more reserved character that is painfully restrained. Her version of Elinor is spot-on perfect! Hugh Grant is cast in a somewhat different role for him: although charismatic he seems rather awkward. It was strange to see him bumble through one tense situation after another, but it was kind of refreshing that way. There’s a familiar face in Gemma Arterton, another “Harry Potter” cast member, as the widowed mother. Hugh Laurie from TV famed hit “House” makes a rather comical appearance. Imelda Staunton – better known to “Harry Potter” fans as Dolores Jane Umbridge – plays a wacky character that is actually quite lovable. And of course, there is Tom Wilkinson in perhaps his shortest role ever!
Secondly, this story has romance all over it. Possible romances, budding young love, passionate affairs, and unrequited love – it’s all here! However, these romances are all created by the times. Well, at least the SITUATIONS are created by the setting of the story. “Sense & Sensibility” is based on a novel of the same name by Jane Austen. It’s a period piece. The deciding factor as a background element to the entire film is that women of England in this era were not allowed to work, so their entire welfare was dependent upon their inheritance or the husband’s wealth. It is sad to see such, really. I mean, it is so far removed from what we know today that it seems almost impossible to comprehend. I just found myself wondering: “that had to have been absolutely frustrating!” The story got me fully engaged. I was so into it that I began to positively loathe one specific character: the smarmy John Willoughby.
I loved “Sense & Sensibility”! I can recommend it to anyone that wants to savor some fine acting, a very engaging tale, and a period piece. If you may have missed this one (like I did), I recommend you look it up. I found it for free on my Comcast On Demand.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE