Andrew Davies’ new three-part BBC version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is simply superb. As noted here over recent months, the BBC and Masterpiece Theater just keep producing some first-rate 19th century video presentations of great novels. (Davies also produced the most recent Pride and Prejudice series too.) This new version has succeeded admirably in my view.
The Dashwood sisters and their quests for marriage are both entertaining and insightful views of an earlier era, a time when women did not have anything remotely like equal rights. One can be grateful that this has changed since the era in which this story is situated. One sister, the elder Elinor, is wise and cautious, and considers that what she doesn’t have should not bring dissatisfaction. Her younger sister, Marianne, dives into an emotional attachment to a man who is most unsuited to her character, only to be crushed when she discovers who he really is. She is then ready for a relationship with a man who will truly love her.
The two-disc set includes a biopic on Jane Austen that is also quite good. And disc two also has four 15-18 minute radio broadcasts of the life of Jane Austen. A number of misconceptions are wonderfully corrected by this material. Austen was a great writer and well ahead of her time.
This adaptation stars David Morrissey (State of Play), Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds), and Dominic Cooper (Starter for Ten). All three play their respective roles very well in this 2007 television series, released on DVD this summer. I highly recommend Sense & Sensibility, which lasts for 174 minutes.