Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on May 21, 2019
I can’t decide which Jane Austen novel is my favorite. Sometimes it’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE, other times it’s SENSE & SENSIBILITY, and I’m often convinced it’s PERSUASION (that letter!). Maybe I love all three novels the same. And that is why I gobble up all remakes and film adaptations like cheesecake dripping with honey.

Everyone who’s read S&S knows what it’s about, so I’ll just describe SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY. Two sisters have to readjust their lives after their father is arrested for conning investors (Fonzie Scheme). They lose all of their money and properties, and their mother and younger sister — who has Leukemia — have to move with a relative. They need money for the treatments, and that’s when Elinor (Ashley Williams) and Marianne Dashwood (Marla Sokoloff) seek jobs. Their reputations are ruined, so they could only find dead end jobs. But there may be hope! Marianne creates lotions and soothing creams, and this catches the attention of Elinor’s boss. Plus Elinor meets this cute lawyer and Marianne works for a brooding but kindhearted man, different from her two-faced fiancé...

You’ll know which characters fill in the Austen roles in this adaptation. It’s a cute movie — a sweet and emotive romcom — but, like most modern-day Austen adaptations, they miss the mark on the nuance and character study in Austen’s novels. What sets these sisters apart? Why is this Marianne so emotionless when she’s supposed to be the overly emotional and impulsive one of the two? In the original S&S, Elinor was the “strong one,“ the one in charge of the finances and stability after her father dies. She suffered a great deal, but she kept her feelings to herself. Why? Because she didn‘t want to burden others. Does this Elinor do this? Nope. In fact, she yells at Marianne in various scenes. This movie also reeks of entitlement and first-world problems. In the early 1800s, losing your home and fortune to a distant male relative was a big deal. Women couldn‘t own property, and in a household with one widow and three daughters, it was important for the women (at least one of them) to marry well. The conflict in this remake is weak. To create tension, they gave Margaret Leukemia. It was the only way to make this feeble storyline a little relatable. I see this more as a regular romcom than anything else. They used the Austen and S&S thing because... well, who knows? It’s worth watching if you can erase the Austen angle. (Hard to do, for all the characters have their original S&S names.) Three out of five vanilla lattes.
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