Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Complete Randomness on Sense and Sensibility

I always find the title difficult, because nowadays, a person with sense and a sensible person are precisely the same thing. I think it was sensible that meant the opposite when Austen wrote, and thus Marianne is the sensible one, but I always have to look it up and even then I'm not quite sure. Perhaps we should rename it Sense and Sensitivity, and then it would be all clear. For another hundred years.

In the Emma Thompson version, the picture of Marianne on the cover looks simply dreadful, but her hairstyle is actually quite fetching in the movie. I don't know why they caught it at precisely the wrong angle for the front cover, but then the front covers of movies usually bear little resemblance to the insides. Generally they show a scene that doesn't even occur in the movie, and would completely contradict the plot.

I haven't read this book nearly as many times as I have the other Austen books. It's quite sedate after watching the jazzed-up plot for the movie. In the book, Marianne takes damp walks on several successive evenings, catches a slight cold which worsens through neglect (over several more days) into a bad fever. Colonel Brandon watches in silent dismay. In the movie, Marianne takes one long walk in a downpour, Colonel Brandon hauls her in unconscious, and she immediately succumbs to a life-threatening illness. I think Marianne would like the movie better, but Elinor would prefer the book.

After all, only in the book can you revel in lines like: "They had in fact nothing to wish for, but the marriage of Colonel Brandon and Marianne, and rather better pasturage for their cows."

DOB, who often asks to watch Austen movies with me (no envy, ladies, he's mine), thinks right now that he likes this one the best. I think it does have a plot that ought to appeal to a decent man, since the quiet, decent men get the girls by being quiet and decent men. However, my younger brother once dubbed it "Stupid and Stupidity"--but he sat through it! So you never know. No one gets shot.

Jane Austen's heroines are getting terribly young. Sixteen and nineteen! And Marianne thinks it impossible that a woman of twenty-seven can ever inspire love. Well, people live longer nowadays, but I suppose the opinion of sixteen-year-olds on the advanced state of decrepitude that strikes by thirty has not really changed.


Rose said...

I agree with you on the hair thing. And while Kate Winslet is quite lovely in the movie and has a lovely smile, the pictures they captured of her weren't really the best.

I prefer the movie to the book, possibly because I saw it first, alas. But I do enjoy the book, especially with the Willoughby repentance/explanation scene, which clears up a lot. Although it might be easier just to leave him as the very wicked villain. And I also like how things take a little more time to unwind in the book - I love Edmund's walking out dizzily after Elinor's outburst, but not actually proposing that day. Of course they have to speed things up in the movie.

Even I thought that in the movie, Emma Thompson looked rather older than nineteen. But I still love her for it. And I've always wondered whether Persuasion was my least favourite Jane Austen book (aside from Mansfield Park, which really is quite dull) because the heroine was 27. Alas and alack for the current me! But surely I'm not losing my bloom as obviously as Anne was.

Michael, who had never read an Austen book before he met me, now often suggests that we watch one of the classics together. At least twice now he has remarked that 'it's been a while since we've watched Pride & Prejudice - time to watch it again.' And he's always happy to suggest watching Emma if we don't know what to do with a free evening.

Queen of Carrots said...

Emma Thompson did look quite a bit older than 19, but she looked old enough to behave as well as Elinor did, which was rather hard to believe in a 19-year-old, even one with sense.

the Joneses said...

The S&S movie was a great adaptation. In general, I think Marianne would like movies better than books. :) I overwatched most of the Austen movies, though, so I don't often sit down with them now.

Rose... you have free evenings you don't know what do to with?! Oh, wait, your kids probably go to sleep before 10:00, which I guess would leave you an evening.

-- SJ

Merry K said...

"I think Marianne would like the movie better, but Elinor would prefer the book."

*grin* That is just what I thought when I watched it.