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Sense and Sensibility

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Sense and Sensibility is a British-American period drama film directed by Ang Lee and starred by an ensemble cast that includes Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and James Fleet. The film is an adaptation of Jane Austen's 1811 novel of the same name and was released in 1995.

The story revolves around the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they navigate propriety, romantic interests, and economic security in an English society that offers women limited opportunities for independence. The plot primarily grapples with the contrast between the two main characters' philosophies- Elinor's application of sense and Marianne's pursuit of sensibility, embodying the novel’s title.

Emma Thompson takes on the role of Elinor Dashwood, the elder sister, a character marked by practicality, reserved demeanour, and sharp intelligence. Thompson breathes life into the character with her impressive performance that shows Elinor's inner warmth, wit, and deep affection for her family, concealed behind her refined, rational facade.

Marianne Dashwood, played by Kate Winslet, is the younger Dashwood sister who follows her heart with reckless abandon. Winslet's compelling performance captures Marianne's youthful impulsiveness, romantic flare, and emotional outpourings. She imbues her character with an intoxicating mix of vivacious energy and deep-rooted pain.

James Fleet plays the affable, though somewhat financially constrained, John Dashwood. Through his skilled portrayal, Fleet brings to light the character's internal tug-of-war between societal expectations, familial duties, and his own moral compass.

The director, Ang Lee, has done a commendable job of interpreting Austen's novel. Upon a solid and unparalleled screenplay penned by Emma Thompson, Lee manages to preserve the spirit of Austen's story while injecting it with dynamic visual narrative. His direction carries a deep sensitivity for the characters and a keen eye for the subtle social nuances of the time.

The film begins with an atmosphere of gaiety and familial bond, which takes a sudden and drastic turn when the sisters' father (Tom Wilkinson) passes away. Faced with significant financial constraints due to the laws of inheritance, which favour their half-brother, John, the sisters, alongside their mother, Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones), are forced to leave their elegant home, Norland Park, for a more modest lifestyle in Devonshire.

What follows is a nuanced exploration of love, heartbreak, and the significance of financial security in a world that often devalues emotions in favour of monetary gain. The film sensitively portrays the predicament of dependent women, such as Elinor and Marianne, torn between love, societal approval, and the necessity of establishing economic security through marriage.

Set in the charming backdrop of the English countryside, Sense and Sensibility renders a visually stunning period drama. The enriched, real-world illustration of Austen's novel, comprising the exquisite costumes designed by Jenny Beavan and John Bright, and the backdrops that range from stately Georgian interiors to the stark beauty of Devonshire, forms a character in its own right—adding texture and vibrant colour to the film.

The film lays equal importance on the bond between the sisters as it does on their respective romantic pursuits. It beautifully captures the complicated dynamics between the passionate and sensitive Marianne, and the pragmatic and resilient Elinor. The relationship between them unravels the stark contrast between their personalities and behaviours but also underscores their deep-rooted affection and mutual understanding for each other.

Sense and Sensibility witnesses an ensemble of talented actors that include the likes of Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. They brilliantly bring to life Austen's timeless characters, and their performances deftly capture the subtle shifts in relationships and the changing social dynamics of the era.

The film is not just an insightful depiction of women's roles in 18th century England. It also weaves a poignant tale about the quest for true love amid societal restrictions and expectations. Its balanced fusion of romance, drama, and subtle humour rounds out to a gratifying viewing experience.

Sense and Sensibility is an immersive film that takes you back in time, offering a rich blend of romance, realism, and social commentary. It is a masterful adaptation of Austen's timeless novel, beautifully portrayed and finely tuned by the stellar cast and the exquisite expertise of Ang Lee, well deserving of its reputation as a classic in period film genre. It’s an intriguing exploration of the enduring human emotions—love, duty, hope and the resilience of the human spirit when tested by life’s rough waves.

Sense and Sensibility is a Drama, Romance movie released in 1995. It has a runtime of 136 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.7. It also holds a MetaScore of 84.

How to Watch Sense and Sensibility

Where can I stream Sense and Sensibility movie online? Sense and Sensibility is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Sense and Sensibility for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Ang Lee
Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Greg Wise, Gemma Jones, Emilie Franois, Elizabeth Spriggs, Harriet Walter, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs, James Fleet, Richard Lumsden, Hugh Laurie, Robert Hardy, Tom Wilkinson
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