PBS aired part 1 of the last adaptation in their Complete Jane Austen with the BBC’s new Sense and Sensibility. And, wow, finally one of these new adaptations that is not only decent, but pretty good! It’s not perfect, but none of the adaptations, even Pride and Prejudice (1995) are perfect. But this one might actually rival the mid-90s S&S with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. Hard to believe, but true. At the very least, they compliment each other. This version is longer and includes more characters and scenes, but is not as funny as the Thompson adaptation. We’ll have to see if it can continue it’s good pace next week in the conclusion.
A few nit-picky comments on the good and the bad:
- The actresses playing Elinor and Marianne are both very good. My only complaint here is that the Elinor presents many of her lines with the same delivery and intonation as Emma Thompson did…on purpose? But her heart is the center of the story and she carries it well.
- This Barton Cottage, which always seemed too nice, particularly the exterior, in the mid-90s version, is clearly a major step down in situation for the ladies. It’s so bad when the arrive, one must question Sir John’s rudeness for not better preparing it for them.
- A wonderful Colonel Brandon!
- This Edward is more home-spun and charming than Hugh Grant’s, but (HELLO) Edward is supposed to be shy! This Edward might not be Tom Cruise on Oprah, but he wouldn’t mind being interviewed by Oprah and that’s just not Edward…still, he was well acted and believable.
- It’s a little too obvious that Willoughby is the villain. For example, he doesn’t seem upset when he’s ordered to order to leave, almost relieved to escape. Plus, although Brandon doesn’t like Willoughby, this adaptation makes him suspicious and that’s incorrect.
- Mrs. Jennings is too flat, but maybe she’ll liven up in part 2.
- Why were Marianne and Margaret (Meg?!?!) referring to Fanny as “aunt?” Not right. (Fanny must be a delightfully fun part to play!)
- A few times the music is over melodramatic…especially in the Willougby scenes. And how many shots must we have of Margaret’s (Meg’s) wind-chime sea shells?
Overall, I enjoyed this adaptation and am looking forward to part 2 next Sunday night. Part 1 re-airs at 2:00 A.M. in Chicagoland on Tuesday, April 1.
If I was more awake, I’d type more, but this will have to do for now. Did anyone else catch the show?
UPDATE: Sadly, part two did NOT live up to part one. What a disappointment. I have no intention of buying this on DVD and probably won’t watch it again…at least not for some time.