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Sense & Sensibility / Miss Austen Regrets

4.5 out of 5 stars 612 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sense and Sensibility (2008) (DblDVD)

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?

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Lush, dramatic, and beautifully acted, the BBC's three-part miniseries Sense & Sensibility captures the languid urgency that resonates throughout the Jane Austen novel on which it is based. The miniseries begins with a seduction scene: As a young girl cautiously gives herself to a man, she asks, "But when will you come back?" He answers ominously, "Soon... very soon," and gallops off into the night. We know what she does not--that he will not return for her. But viewers do not learn until the end who the couple are, and how their actions set off a chain of events. It is inevitable that this period piece will be compared to the 1995 big screen adaptation that starred Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant, and won Thompson an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. To its credit, this later version stands up incredibly well, with actors whose looks match Austen's written description. And due to a longer running time than the film version, there is more attention paid to detail and minor characters. Sense & Sensibility focuses on the longings of the Dashwood sisters Elinor (Hattie Morahan) and Marianne (Charity Wakefield). After their wealthy father dies, leaving his entire estate to their milquetoast half brother John (Mark Gatiss), Elinor, Marianne, their younger sister Margaret (Lucy Boynton), and their mother are left penniless. John and his shrew-like wife Fanny move into the manor, making the Dashwoods feel like unwanted guests. It is only after Fanny's handsome and kind brother Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens) arrives for a visit that Elinor feels happy again. Marianne, too, has attracted the attention of two suitors: serious and shy Colonel Brandon (David Morrissey) and dashing Willoughby (Dominic Cooper). Learning that the 35-year-old colonel is interested in her, a stunned Marianne says, "You do realize that it will be impossible for me to speak to him again." Her actions are that of a little girl, running away and hiding when he comes to call on her. But her feelings for Willoughby are real: the kind of love a girl feels for the first time. The differences in the sisters' choices, actions, and secrets set the tone for an era when a perceived impropriety could ruin a woman's reputation and her family's standing in a community. Filmed in England with good use of aerial shots, the production has a sweeping feel that adds a distinct flavor to the drama. As with many Austen novels, the heroines in Sense & Sensibility go through many misunderstandings before their happily-ever-after ending. But that ending leaves viewers satisfied that things turned out just the way that they should.

Austen fans will be delighted with the second disc in this set: Miss Austen Regrets is a perfect companion to the miniseries, starring Olivia Williams stars as the author, and Greta Scacchi--who could easily pass as Williams' real-life sibling--as Austen's sister Cassandra. The film takes a bittersweet look at Austen's life and hints at what could have been had she married one of her suitors. Smart and headstrong, Austen refuses to cave into society's notions of what a proper woman should do. While her famous heroines all paired up with dashing gentlemen, Austen found that the loves of her life were her written creations. --Jae-Ha Kim


Special Features

Audio commentaries Interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and writer Andrew Davies Photo gallery Audio commentaries Interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and writer Andrew Davies Photo gallery Audio commentaries Interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and writer Andrew Davies Photo gallery Audio commentaries Interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and writer Andrew Davies Photo gallery Audio commentaries Interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and writer Andrew Davies Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, Dan Stevens, Janet McTeer, Mark Williams
  • Directors: John Alexander
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 174 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (612 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012OVCE6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,802 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sense & Sensibility / Miss Austen Regrets" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Jane Austen fans have reason to rejoice. After a mixed repertoire of new Austen adaptations, BBC has done it again with a pleasurable, charming and faithful adaptation to "Sense & Sensibility."

No doubt this version of `Sense & Sensibility' will be compared to the popular and well-loved 1995 film version starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. And it certainly has big shoes to fill. After all, the 1995 version was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, won Emma Thompson a Best Adapted Screenplay award and catapulted then-unknown Kate Winslet to stardom. And while that version sets the bar for all other versions that follow, even its most faithful fans would certainly admit that it did have its flaws. For one, at a 2-hour or so running time, the audience was treated to a few excised characters, the absence of some key scenes from the book and some actors who were noticeably too old for their roles.

Nevertheless, I approached this new S&S with some trepidation. I felt that there was no way for this version to top (or even equal) the one from 1995. Imagine my surprise when I found myself totally captivated by the end of this miniseries. While it started slowly, it became more and more enchanting as it went along and I found myself falling in love with most of the characters.

Among its successes are as follows (WARNING - SPOILERS GALORE!!):

1 - A strong screenplay by Andrew Davies. After penning the screenplay to such period drama favorites as the 1995 "Pride & Prejudice" (yes, the one with Colin Firth), "Wives & Daughters," "Middlemarch," "Daniel Deronda" and the new delightful "Northanger Abbey," Andrew Davies is well-known among period drama fans.
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Format: DVD
For the purposes of my review here, I shall review Ms Austen Regrets, followed by Sense and Sensibility and lastly, Persuasion.

MS AUSTEN REGRETS

This perceptive and insightful new biopic focuses on the latter years of the famous author's life, and it makes for riveting viewing, though it is quite sad. Ms Austen's works continue to garner generations of new fans, yet she died at the age of 41 in 1817, unmarried and relatively poor [despite the positive reviews her works garnered].

I had often wondered if Mr Darcy of P&P had been modeled on a real-life character - here, that thought is put to rest as Ms Austen [played by a well-cast Olivia Williams] tells her niece Fanny Austen Knight "The only way to get a Mr Darcy is to make him up."

I much preferred this biopic to the movie "Becoming Jane" as in that movie, we are led to assume that Tom LeFroy was the great love of Jane's life and it all seems a bit melodramatic - here, the portrayal of Ms Austen's private life and thoughts on love is given a more realistic treatment. Tom LeFroy is viewed here as someone she was attracted to but once out of her life 'she didn't spend more than five minutes thinking about."

This has a ring of truth to it in my opinion as so little is really known about Jane Austen's love life - due in part to the fact that much of her personal letters were destroyed by her sister Cassandra after Jane's death. What is portrayed in this biopic [by screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes] is based on the surviving personal correspondence and family recollections.
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This three DVD set captures the latest and very adequate BBC versions of "Sense and Sensibility" (adapted by veteran Austen screenwriter Andrew Davies) and "Persuasion". It includes "Miss Austen Regrets", only just aired in February 2008, a nicely done biopic of romance writer Jane Austen.

Jane Austen left very little behind for her future biographers. Her family destroyed much of her correspondence at her death. This film is faithful to the known details of her life, and fills in some of the gaps with cautious but respectful speculation.

In "Miss Austen Regrets", a 40-ish but still feisty and flirtatious Jane Austen (in a sympathetic performance by Olivia Williams) is called upon to advise her young niece on a possible marriage. Jane enjoys a quiet notoriety for her romantic novels, which are a guilty pleasure of Regency England. She lives with an aging mother and loving older sister (nicely played by Greta Sacchi) in a rural cottage. Writing novels was not quite a respectable occupation in that day; Jane writes because she must and because she needs the money.

The conundrum for Jane's niece, as we discover was once true for a younger Jane, is whether to marry for love or money and safety. In Jane's fiction, her patient heroines all eventually managed to marry for both. In her own life, we learn that a younger Jane Austen was deterred by her parents from one agreeable but penniless suitor, then turned down a wealthier one whom she did not love.

The movie is studiously ambiguous about the impact of Jane's choices on her life. The straitened financial circumstances of her family are clearly a burden for her.
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