Friday, August 7, 2009

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Recently the gauntlet was thrown down, so to speak, by my friend and fellow blogger Jenny. Whilst discussing "Truly, Madly, Deeply" here in one of my entries, she shared my enthusiasm for the movie and the actors in the comments section. She said, "Alan Rickman is sexy. You have have to, have to watch Sense and Sensibility now. If you have already watched it, you have to watch it again and notice Alan and how sexy he is. " So, apparently, I had to ... because gosh, I don't remember thinking anything about Alan Rickman after watching that one. I mean, seriously, he was an old man or something?

Mr. Rickman

So, about "Sense and Sensibility". I never know how to do a good synopsis of a movie adapted from a Jane Austen novel. There are generally too many twists and turns for any of it to make much sense in a small paragraph form. The important bits are that two of the three Dashwood sisters are of marrying age and are looking for love. Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) have vastly different approaches to finding and expressing love. Of course, gentlemen must enter the picture in the form of Col. Branden (Alan Rickman), Mr. Willoughby (Greg Wise) and Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) so as to court the ladies. You are pretty sure there will be a wedding at the end, but the twists and turns and who weds who is always the interesting part.

One of the great things about this one is not only the wonderful performances (shout out to the cranky Hugh Laurie in this), but the direction is wonderful too. I know that the direction has a lot to do with it because I have seen quite a few Ang Lee films now. He is a master when he is directing the shots. As an amateur photographer, I have little patience for any film that doesn't take the time to do something other than simply follow the action with a camera. It *has* to be more than that for a rich movie experience and Ang Lee is one of those directors that totally gets that. I heart that about his films.

Now, keep in mind I was about 20 when I saw this film in the theatre. For some reason, I haven't seen it since even though I own the DVD and really liked the movie. So many movies, so little time. It is amazing how much your life experience plays into what you feel about the same movie. Have you ever noticed this?

At the tender young age when I first saw this, I totally identified with Kate Winslet's character who wanted to be exuberant about love and not play coy. She didn't want to hold anything back and therefore put her heart right out there without even a thought of anyone ever mistreating it. I was all about Mr. Willoughby because he was dashing and charming and FUN. Lord, was he fun.

Now, almost a decade and a half later (good golly!) and at a not-so-tender age anymore, I totally identify with Emma Thompson's character. She holds her feelings deep below the surface so as not to allow just anyone to come along and trample all over them. She feels love just as much as her younger sister, but doesn't run around like a school girl telling everyone. The other epiphany of me watching this at an older age is, indeed, just how sexy Alan Rickman and his character is in this film. He is compassionate, loving, steadfast and true. You may not look at him and think "Woohoo - he MUST be the life of the ball" but I would look at him and think proudly, "That is my kind man whom I love so very much." I would happily sit with him in the garden and let him read me poetry all day. :-)

So, the same film, viewed almost 15 years later which almost translates to a lifetime of experiences, led to a totally different movie experience and result. I have noticed this happen many other times and at first am always surprised at how different the film was in my memory and it takes a while to realize the film and memory is the same, the viewer is the one who has changed.


kda0121 said...

I love this one. The cast, script and direction are all excellent. What wit Jane had.

AbbyNormal said...

Jane Austen always has and always will, rock. Brilliant, brilliant woman and this is a wonderful adaptation.

Jennythenipper said...

Yay! You watched it. I didn't see the movie till I was in my mid-thirties so I completely "got" Alan Rickman right from the get-go. I remembered thinking if only I could go back in time and make my twenty year old self read Sense and Sensibility or watch the movie and draw comfort from it. I read too much Bronte and not enough Austen when I was 20.

"The air is full of spices!"

AbbyNormal said...

Jenny - I was reading Austen in high school. Alternating between her and Woolf which I believe gave rise to my crazy split-personality.

I am glad you pushed me to watch this one again. It was almost like watching it anew.

"Viper in my bosom!" Girl power! :-)