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
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