Sense and Sensibility (1995)

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Starring: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Greg Wise, Gemma Jones, Elizabeth Spriggs, Imogen Stubbs, Emilie Francois (her first role), Hugh Laurie

Director: Ang Lee

Summary: Jane Austen’s classic tale of two sisters with different romantic notions

Other Nominations: Actress (Thompson), Supporting Actress (Winslet), Adapted Screenplay*, Original Dramatic Score, Cinematography, Costume Design

It takes cues from the Merchant-Ivory playbook wholesale (featuring a fantastic English cast, beautiful sets and costumes and is based on a classic of English literature), but that’s by no means a bad thing. Emma Thompson is consistently excellent playing sensible and intelligent leads as always and Kate Winslet (in her breakout role) plays as a perfect wide-eyed romantic foil to Thompson’s more thoughtful and reserved characterization. The film (and of course the source novel it’s based on) is filled with a lot of the themes you tend to expect from a classic English novel like the difficulties of romance between people of different classes/wealth statuses and promises/keeping your vows leading to disastrous results. On a bigger level though, it’s an argument that you need both genuine passion and your heads in the right places for romance, and on a more personal level, it’s about two sisters who learn and grow from each other, and need to look out for each other, especially in a society where women have few rights and privileges. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and it ended up being my favorite of the 1995 nominees.

Rating: B+

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