Sense & Sensibility – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

While Hollywood seemingly recycles plots and remakes films to its detriment, it is interesting that the British never get the same sort of flaming for its mining of Jane Austen on what seems like a monthly basis. It’s a credit to Austen’s work that continually good television and film projects can be made from her work over many years, and earlier this year Sense & Sensibility found its way back on screen. The plot is simple enough.

Elinor (Hattie Morahan) and Marianne (Charity Wakefield) are two daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret (Lucy Boynton). When their father passes, the family estate passes to John and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. Sir John (Mark Williams), a distant relative, manages to help them out by offering them a cabin on his property.

The story follows the sisters to their new home, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The film follows as they try to a find a sense of love, and a sensibility in it. Hence the novel’s name, obviously, and like any of Austen’s novel turned productions the inherent level of quality is high if only because the writing is inspired.

It seems impossible to make a bad film using one of Austen’s novels, even the Bollywood version of Pride & Prejudice was quite enjoyable. So is this version of Sense & Sensibility, which has an extended run time that allows for some more subplots and secondary characters to be developed that the Kate Winslet-starring film wasn’t able to do.

For Austen fans, it’s a nice companion piece to the older film version in the same way that the original BBC series of Pride & Prejudice did for the 2005 film of the same name.

Presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital format, the DVD has a top notch audio/visual transfer. This isn’t a very colorful film, nor does it rely on any sort of audio, but what it needs to do it does quite well.

Interview Featurette is the British version of the typical American “making of” feature, taking fluff interviews from the production staff and cast to talk about the how and why of making another adaptation of one of Austen’s novels.

Photo Gallery is a collection of still photos from the film and its production.

Miss Austen Regrets is a 90-minute BBC drama focusing on Austen and the last years of her life, regrets and all. It’s an interesting piece that basically mirrors Becoming Jane for the BBC set.

Like all things Jane, Sense & Sensibility is hard to screw up. The BBC nails it on the head again with another terrific presentation of Austen’s work.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


BBC Films presents Sense & Sensibility. Directed by John Alexander. Starring Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, Dan Stevens, David Morrissey Written by Jane Austen (Novel) and Andrew Davies. Running time: 180 minutes. Rated PG. Released on DVD: May 6, 2008. Available at Amazon.com