Sense and Sensibility

Emma writes and Emma stars. No sign of Kenneth now. After meeting producer Lindsay Doran on the set of "Dead Again" things started moving in the right direction for both Austen and Thompson. After several rewrites the script was finished. And quite a feat of juggling it is.

Superb points for the job done. After working on it for four years, during which time she also managed to perform in seven films, Thompson produced a well balanced and entertaining work. To check it out, she invited several of her friends and associates (isn't it wonderful to have contacts?) for a reading. Some of them were also eventually cast in the film (isn't it wonderful to have contracts?)

And what do we discover? A picturesque and sensitive rendering of a feminine vision of an 18th century world faithful to the original. There are three daughters in the tale. Elinor is sensible and hides hers sensibilities. Marianne is extremely sensitive and casts off most disturbing practicalities and common sense. Francois, the youngest sister, is a girl who desires fun and games of another sort, whose prepossessions are not arduously shared by either of her sisters. How ever will she turn out?

As director Ang Lee says, "Even though the story is set two hundred years ago in another land, Marianne and Elinor are so wonderfully alive that we cannot help but identify with them through our laughter and tears."

Surprisingly, the director chosen for the work was not only someone for whom English is not a first language (Taiwanese), but a man to boot. The choice, judging from the result, was a good one. Even director Ang Lee had some qualms at first, but decided to jump in at the deep end: "It's hard to find a project you want to devote two years of your life to, but the script really got to me, so I guess I became fearless. It felt like bungee jumping, I admit." Superb points for the leap.

Superb points for acting go to Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, and Harriet Walter. What else can one say about a period piece? Locations, costumes, props, etc. have all been meticulously dealt with. Superb points for all involved, especially production designer Luciana Arrighi, set decorator Ian Whittaker and costume designers Jenny Beavan and John Bright as well as the enhancing advisory work done by Jane Gibson with regard to the manners and customs of Jane Austen's time.

Already nominated for 6 Golden Globe Awards, one can only wonder how many categories it will compete in for the Oscars®, not to mention the Green Goddess Awards.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett