Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, March 31, 2008

PBS' new version of Sense and Sensibility is so far sensational

Part One of the new miniseries adaptation of Sense & Sensibility aired last night,signaling the beginning of the end of PBS' Complete Jane Austen run on Masterpiece Theater.

I know that I tend to overly praise the talents of Andrew Davies,who to many fans is the official unofficial Austen adapter of our time,but I can't help but be pleased as punch that he was given the opportunity to bring the book to life,with a few original twists and highlighting some less familiar faces from the novel's cast.

That being said,I can completely understand why folks would think that this version of S&S takes a good number of cues from the 1995 Ang Lee/Emma Thompson collaboration.

Not only does Hattie Morahan(who does an excellent job as Elinor)sound very much as if she's been possessed by Thompson at times,a few of the interesting bits of business added to liven things up here does trod upon ground that was treaded on in the earlier film.

However,some of those borrowed bits don't bother me such as having little sister Margaret be rather tomboyish and expressing opinions that others would prefer to be concealed(plus,Emma Thompson would've never had Margaret openly wish to poison Fanny Dashwood-a fate that's much too good for that harridan!). If it's a good idea that helps the story along while keeping true to the author's intent,I can overlook the similarities.

Since this is the first time that I've seen Hattie Morahan on film,I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt in intentionally speaking like Thompson(that may be her natural voice for all I know). She does give a very thoughtful and mature performance as the eldest Dashwood sister who has to become the voice of reason and restraint for her newly disenfranchised family.

Fortunately,she's not just made out to be Miss Prim and Proper,particularly when Edward Ferrars(Dan Stevens)arrives and starts to become an unexpected source of comfort:

Charity Wakefield,who plays the boldly emotional Marianne,has a touch of Kate Winslet in her performance but not too much overall.

She does embody the character fully and the script makes her less harsh towards Col. Brandon(who is represented by a very manly David Morrissey-no Alan Rickman,granted,but not too shabby!) and his interest in her. All of that changes when Willoughby(Dominic Cooper)enters the picture,taking Marianne's heart by storm.

It's pretty obvious that this version is more than willing to be more on the side of Col. Brandon than Willoughby,who comes across a tad sinister in his demeanor at times.

The sidebar confrontation between Brandon and Willoughby during an evening at Barton Park(how great is it that Arthur Weasley is Sir John Middleton?) is not in the book but it does give a strong hint of what's to come,as did the opening seduction sequence make Marianne and Willoughby's secret visit to Allenham that much more fraught with sexual tension:

Well,all of this tension is good enough to make me champing at the bit for the finale next week. Even tho it's no mystery to me how it all comes out,this fresh face that's put on Austen's most classic tale( that is second only to P&P) is very complimentary and entertaining indeed.

For Part Two,we get to see more of our old favorites such as Mr. and Mrs. Palmer and be introduced to the Steele sisters(yes,both Lucy and Anne are presented here),which will have a great affect on Elinor's love life. Also,a rather unique bonus is offered up as Edward decides to take up wood chopping. Work it out,Edward!:

No comments: