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Sense and Sensibility 1995

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites...

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Such a wonderful Austen movie! Its absolutely riveting! The actors are a delight to watch- stunning performances.
I just finished watching Sense and Sensibilty with my mother (she insisted) and although I thought many aspects of it were well done I have to admit I got bored. I am sorry but that had to be the dullest era ever. I thought if I had to see another minute of Emma Thompson staring woefully out of a window I would scream. The acting by some was superb (Alan Rickman for example) but by others it was very mediocre *ahem!*HughGrant*ahem!*. And another thing, is it just me or does Jane Austen just write the same book over and over again? I will admit that I don't know anything past Pride and Predjudice and Sense and Sensibility (so many ands) but there are some very obvious and numerous similarities in the two plots. And one last thing before I go get plastered for New Years: Those dresses they wear (Empire waists) can make even the thinnest actress look fat. They were really scraping the bottom of the fashion barrel when those came into style.
***1/2 / ****
(Much props will be given to all those who can identify the quote in the title :D )

Watching Something's Gotta Give the other day put me in the mood for romantic comedies, again. I haven't been excited about them in a while. In honor of this occasion, here are my Top 5 Romantic Comedies:

5. The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996)
An underrated gem of a movie. Arguably, Janeane Garofalo's shining moment on film. She is notoriously self-conscious, but in this movie she is relaxed, funny, and charming. Being, of course, the Nerd Princess, I have a special place in my heart for this movie about the unconventional beauty (Janeane) winning out over the beauty queen (Uma). Ben Chaplin is appropriately gorgeous as the object of the ladies' affections. A treasure from my high school years.

4. Annie Hall (1977)
This movie is romantic in the most modern, sophisticated sense. To paraphrase a favorite quote, its about two neurotics coming near, recognizing, protecting, and comforting each other. Only, of course, to break up, which is why this movie rates a bit low on a list of romantic comedies. The romance gets lost in the comedy. Still, it features one of the most enjoyable on-screen pairings ever - Allen and Keaton - and gave us reason to count cooking lobsters among the most romantic things you can do with your partner.

3. Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that romantic comedies just wouldn't be the same without Hugh Grant. I was young when Four Weddings and a Funeral came out, and therefore smitten from an early age. That last speech in Sense and Sensibility didn't help matters, but I'll get to that. Notting Hill was okay, but Hugh's bumbly schtick was wearing thin at that point. Then, oh my, there he was slinking out of that elevator, to the tune of "What you want, baby I got it!" Slimmed down, new haircut, plastic surgery(?), $2000 suit, and I'm reduced to my giggly 16-year-old self all over again. An interesting thing happens in this movie, though. Hugh is revealed to be truly repugnant, and the torch of the Gorgeous British Guy is thusly passed to Colin Firth. Really, I'm fine with that. Here's to Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and more of dishy Colin (and Hugh).

2. Sense and Sensibility (1996)
Are you getting the point? I like the British movies. Better actors, better writing, better sense of humor, and, for God's sake, they're actually about adults. This movie reigns above all others England has ever produced, because its just so achingly romaaantic. In that old-fashioned, sigh-inducing, country-wedding sort of way. It also counts as something of an oddity among rom-coms, in that there is absolutely no sex, and noone even kisses someone else on-screen. In fact, only one kissing scene was even filmed, and it didn't make the final cut. So, you have a movie composed of side-long glances, wistful soliloquizing, and maddening twists of fate. Our heroines, Eleanor (Sense, played by Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Sensibility, played by Kate Winslet) are put through the wringer, poor girls, and we are pining with them every step of the way. Oh, and those suitors! Hugh Grant is sweet and subdued as the bemused Edward, Greg Wise is charming as the vivacious but ultimately deceitful Willoughby, and Alan Rickman (oh...dear God) is ssssmoldering as the passionate and loyal Coronel Brandon. As with most British movies, the supporting cast is stacked to bursting with outstanding talents. I'll stop now, but I could on for days about this movie. Suffice to say, it was tough putting this one second, but...

1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
...this one wins as my sentimental favorite movie of all time. It just never gets old. If S&S is the standard by which all English rom-coms are judged, then this is the benchmark for American films. Reiner and Ephron crafted the most genius script, a perfectly apt examination of the foibles of men and women in love. Their words and direction combined with the finely tuned comic talents of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan make for an unbeatable romantic comedy experience. When I first saw this as a teenager, I was taken with Meg Ryan's cuteness and that oh-so-romantic speech at the end. As I've grown older and gotten married, I continue to be astounded at the movie's relevance. In short, they're right. They are absolutely right, about all of it. It really is that complicated, it really is that ridiculous, it is really is that breathtakingly wonderful to fall in love and stay in love. When you can be entertained by the truth, well, how can argue with this movie's supremacy? I love you, Coronel Brandon, but I'm gonna have to go home with Harry.

Really - I have never been one to watch period pieces, but just these last few weeks I have been in quite a mood to watch them.

To summarize:

Emma & Sense and Sensibility - Very adorable, feel-good movies. Yes, yes - I know there are some tears, but you know it will have a happy ending.

Gosford Park - Although I can appreciate Robert Altman I've never been a huge fan. I did enjoy this one very much - great cast and great storyline.

Pride and Prejudice - Started off this whole spell I'm sure, because I loved this one. Even though it's 5+ hours, I watched it in one sitting.

Girl With the Pearl Earring - Colin Firth said that this was definitely not a departure from his usual roles. Serious man with hidden tenderness doesn't quite know how to deal with love. Although I found the ending depressing, it wasn't overly so. Overall - very good.
I truly like movies taken from Jane Austen novels and all the re-makes thereof.

Just as you are able to learn a lot about a rock artist by paying attention to the tunes he covers, you can tell a lot about a writer or director by comparing his/her re-make to a previous version or to the novel from which the screenplay was adapted.

Sense and Sensibility (1995) is excellent, but it would have been average without Emma Thompson's wonderful performance which glued the production together. Gemma Jones is an ideal Mrs. Dashwood. I do like Hugh Grant, particularly his more recent work, and so I wish he'd been a little less bumbling as Edward.

Pride and Prejudice (1996) is also wonderful. The casting was inspired, with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth mixing it up admirably as Eliza Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. David Bamber as Mr. Collins, Susannah Harker as Jane, Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Lady Catherine, Julia Sawalha as Lydia, Alison Steadman as Mrs. Bennett and Benjamin Whitrow as Mr. Bennett all give admirable turns. Terrific ensemble acting.

Bridget Jones' Diary is entertaining turn on Pride and Prejudice. Again with marvelous casting (Sorry UK, Renee Zellweger did carry it off well) and the fun of having Austen hands return - Colin Firth reprises his Mr. Darcy role of Pride and Prejudice, Gemma Jones of Sense and Sensibility as the irrepressible Mrs. Jones, and Hugh Grant, also of Sense and Sensibility - adds the magic. The sequel novel is not near as good as the original, but hopefully with the strong cast returning the sequel film will be OK.

Cate Beckinsale's turn as Jane Austen's Emma (1996) is serviceable, but the production is sturdy and solid and doesn't have the fun of the other Austen movies made at about this time. it is much more serious, darker than the 1996 updated Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow which has more of the whimsey which is possible with an Austen production.
Beautiful, absorbing, perfect acting.
Wuthering Heights (1939)
The great classic from 1939 when Olivier was at his handsome best. One of very few film adaptations that I actually like better than the book it's based on.

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
The best film adaptation of a Jane Austin novel which accurately captures Austin's story and its spirit and humor. Fantastic ensemble cast and impeccable period detail.

Secret Window (2004)
So many people hated this movie so much, I was prepared for a real cinematic disaster. I was surprised that I thought it was really pretty good. Johnny Depp is usually worth watching and he was good here too. I didn't catch on to what was really going on until almost the end and liked the conclusion.

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)
This is a direct-to-video release of the sequel to Starship Troopers from several years ago. My husband really wanted to see it so we rented it. Really pretty bad.
I watched Sense & Sensibility yesterday afternoon. I've never seen it before, and really thought it was a good movie. Did anyone get nominated for that movie? I could relate to all those disapointments and heartbreak the two sisters went through. Especially when Maryann stood in the rain staring at that house. But i don't have some man to come and do anything for me. When she laid in that bed, and her sister spoke to her, I cried so hard. I never really liked Hugh Grant, but he was ok in this movie. Alan Rickman of course was my favorite of the men. He rules. I assume everyone has seen this movie, since it's been out almost 10 years. If not, the story is about a family of women in the 1800s, whose father dies, and all the money passes to his oldest son. He makes the son promise on his death bed to take care of the rest of the family, and the son does. But the son's wife talks him out of giving them any money, so they have to move into a distant relative's "cottage", which sounds bad, but was actually a beautiful mansion on the property of a grand estate. The story is mostly about the 2 older sisters, Played by Kate Winslet, and Emma Thompson, and their pursuit to be happily married.
Though this movie came almost ten years ago, im gonna review it now. Sense and Sensibility is based off of a great, but long book. This is probably the most successful portrayal of a Jane Austen book, even better than the A&E movie Pride and Prejudice, because they actually contained the story in two hours. the acting was great and it gets extra bonus points for emma thompsons golden globe speech.