Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen (1811). London: Penguin Books, 1988.
Sense and Sensibility. Ang Lee, 1995. (Screenplay by Emma Thompson)
Sometimes while I’m reading a book or watching a movie, I can’t avoid to consider the characters in their stories as friends of mine, just as that kind of people I know for a long time. It happens when I really get to “know” their lives and thoughts, when I jump into their minds and understand what are they going to do, before the story allows me to discover. A well depicted fiction has this advantage.
Nevertheless, it is not the first time I choose Jane Austen for a holiday relaxing reading. She is like a commprehensive friend to me (and I’m sure she is also for most of the people who admire her novels) but this time, I’ve noticed something new: by reading Sense and Sensibility, I’ve felt that she actually has introduced me to her friends.
As I told you before, I’m a huge fan of those movies adapting Jane Austen’s books, particularly of Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995). Not only the way in which the argument is presented throughout the film, but its music, its colours, its dresses and of course: its performances.
Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson are probably two of the English actresses I most admire. I remember how much I adored their trembling faces when I watched the film for the first time; they gave these two sisters a certain expression linked to an specific feeling. They moved me.
I felt thrilled while they recited Shakespeare’s 116 Sonnet which is not included in the novel ( “love is not love/which alters when in alteration finds…”) and also by the final sequence in which Elinor discovers her future love which -as you may guess- does also not exist in the book.
But who cares? Jane knows me better than I do. She has introduced me to a group of people from the XIX Century and I feel grateful for that, in spite of additions and little changes that were done in the late nineties. Even if they forgot the ambiguity in Marianne’s outcome which, in my opinion, is anything but happy:
“…and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend”.
For any other considerations, please listen and read the wonderful Mrs. Thompson’s acceptance speech during the Gala, when she won a Golden Globe for the screenplay adaptation of the novel.
Brilliant tribute to her friend, Jane Austen:
“Four A.M. Having just returned from an evening at the Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise and overcrowding, was not without its pleasures. Thankfully, there were no dogs and no children. The gowns were middling. There was a good deal of shouting and behavior verging on the profligate, however, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintances. Miss Lindsay Doran, of Mirage, wherever that might be, who is largely responsible for my presence here, an enchanting companion about whom too much good cannot be said. Mr. Ang Lee, of foreign extraction, who most unexpectedly apppeared to understand me better than I undersand myself. Mr. James Schamus, a copiously erudite gentleman, and Miss Kate Winslet, beautiful in both countenance and spirit. Mr. Pat Doyle, a composer and a Scot, who displayed the kind of wild behavior one has lernt to expect from that race. Mr. Mark Canton, an energetic person with a ready smile who, as I understand it, owes me a vast deal of money. Miss Lisa Henson — a lovely girl, and Mr. Gareth Wigan — a lovely boy. I attempted to converse with Mr. Sydney Pollack, but his charms and wisdom are so generally pleasing that it proved impossible to get within ten feet of him. The room was full of interesting activitiy until eleven P.M. when it emptied rather suddenly. The lateness of the hour is due therefore not to the dance, but to the waiting, in a long line for horseless vehicles of unconscionable size. The modern world has clearly done nothing for transport.
P.S. Managed to avoid the hoyden Emily Tomkins who has purloined my creation and added things of her own. Nefarious creature.”