Sense and Sensibility (1971)
From acclaimed writer Andrew Davies comes this enchanting new adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel about love and marriage. Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve when she falls in love with the charming but unsuitable John Willoughby, ignoring her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Elinor, sensitive to social convention, struggles to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Will the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love?
Two sisters--one driven by reckless passions, the other grounded and cautious--struggle with misfortune and romantic mishaps in this splendid 1971 adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
. Austen's novels are marvels of witty dialogue, sly humor, and skillfully orchestrated plots. After the first 45-minute episode of Sense and Sensibility
, most viewers will be able to guess who Elinor and Marianne Dashwood (Joanna David and Ciaran Madden, respectively) will end up with at the miniseries' conclusion. Austen's genius (well-served by the writer and director) is that you care about every twist and turn along the way. Madden's performance brings out all the yearning and passion that make this often-difficult character engaging, while David ably expresses the quiet ardor that makes Elinor so beloved by Austenites. The topnotch cast makes the most of every role; half of the story's pleasure comes from deliciously odious characters like the penny-pinching Fanny Dashwood and the scheming Lucy Steele. The pacing is brisk and scenes don't suffer from excessive reverence. This adaptation of Sense and Sensibility
wonderfully captures Austen's world, where charm may be the inviting face of a corrupt spirit, while seeming stuffiness can mask a steadfast heart. --Bret Fetzer