Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas eve, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re having a wonderful December 24th!
I for one had a lovely December 24th. I got my hair cut (my ends are no longer dry and crunchy, yaaaay!), watched the first episode of the seventh season of Doctor Who, finished re-reading Kim, found a recipe for grain-free chocolate chip cookies (AAAAAH, I CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE THEM AND EAT HALF THE DOUGH IN THE PROCESS!!!!) and had delicious tacos for dinner.
And then my mom, my sister and I watched the 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility, and all was right with the world.
How do I explain my love for Sense and Sensibility? Well, it is a Jane Austen novel, after all, and I have loved Jane Austen since I was a wee one of thirteen. My parents were fed up with my incessant re-re-re-re-reading of Harry Potter, and decided it was time for me to grow up a bit, so they handed me Pride and Prejudice and I went on my merry way! Pride and Prejudice is my number one, of course, but Sense and Sensibility is pretty awesome too.
For those of you who don’t know, Sense and Sensibility is about three sisters: practical and level-headed Elinor Dashwood, sentimental and romantic Marianne Dashwood, and rough-and-tumble Margaret Dashwood. The three girls’ fate takes a turn for the worst when their father dies and is forced to leave his entire estate to their horrible stepbrother John and his even more horrible wife Fanny. John and Fanny considerately move into Norland, the family home where the Dashwoods have happily lived for many years, as soon as they possibly can. But though they are thoroughly unpleasant and awful, when Fanny’s sweet and unassuming younger brother, Edward, comes to say, Elinor slowly but surely falls in love with him. Unfortunately, the Dashwoods move to Barton Cottage, where Marianne meets John Willoughby, who seems to be the man of her dreams. But is he really who he says he is? (Answer: nope!) Will Edward ever come visit them at the cottage? (Answer: yes, but it leaves Elinor with no clear answers as to his feelings for her. sadly.) And most importantly, will Fanny stop being such an insufferable buttwipe? (Answer: if only!)
By now, you’re probably wondering why on earth I love this book to bits. After all, the plot and the questions it poses are rather…hum-drum. So here are my reasons, in a delicious little list, just for you!
1) The characters: Out of all of Jane Austen’s characters, I relate the most to Elinor. She feels deeply and is very passionate and artistic, but is compelled to hide her feelings, as she is essentially the head of the family after their father dies. I’m not the head of the family, but as the oldest child and as someone who is generally pretty responsible, I do often have to put on a brave face for the sake of others. Her feelings for Edward are no less powerful and sincere for her downplaying them, however, and she is capable of incredible compassion and kindness towards those she loves. Her love for her impulsive younger sister, despite their differences, is something I can relate to as well. My sister is not as melancholy-prone as Marianne, thank the Lord, but she does have the endearing, if somewhat embarrassing, habit of being unable to hide her feelings. So basically, my sister and I are Marianne and Elinor Dashwood. As we sat through the movie tonight, I could totally imagine us saying some of the things our respective characters said!
2) The looooooove: I feel like I should be all “Oh my God, isn’t it awful how the working class is completely invisible in Jane Austen’s novels and how work is synonymous with slavery and how these men and women never do anything for themselves and blah blah blah,” but you know what? Even revolutionaries need a little love. And Jane knows how to warm the cockles of your heart. Even though I am a romantic, I get a little bit jaded when I watch sappy movies (please don’t hate me, but I really don’t like The Notebook). Everyone’s experience with love is different; maybe for some people, love really does mean being a bird if the other person is a bird (what does that mean, anyways??!), but my experience with love has been a little more down to earth. You’re happy when in that person’s company and you might cry a little if it doesn’t work out, but whatever the end result, love makes you a better person. Sense and Sensibility captures that quiet intensity of love so beautifully and reminds us that what we think we want isn’t always what’s best for us.
3) The costumes: I know they’re not everyone’s thing, but I love Regency-style clothing! (Not so much for the men…I would think their calves would get cold in those silly stockings.) The dresses are so understated and elegant, and all the actresses in this particular version pulled them off wonderfully. I know that sometimes the Empire-waist can look a bit wonky, but I honestly think that has more to do with the costume designers than with the actual style. This version does a good job of maintaining that waistline without, ahem, getting in the way of anyone’s bustline. The houses filmed in are also beautiful and, as far as I can tell (I am far from expert!) really reflect the period.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little installment! If you like Jane Austen, this is a fun film to watch; although the dialogue isn’t stellar by any means, the actors make the best of it. Also, Dan Stevens. How can you say no to Dan Stevens?!