Masonic Boom

"Crazy" "Oversensitive" "Feminazi" "Bitch" bloggin' bout pop music, linguistics and mental health issues

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sense and Sensibility

So I finally got my night in with Chinese takeaway and a Jane Austen film. Watched Sense and Sensibility with my mum, only partially interrupted by my mum's howls of "Enneagram Four!" at Marianne and vague squabbles over who was hotter, Hugh Grant or Alan Rickman. (Puh-LEASE, Hugh Grant is so *wet* in this film it would be like fancying a bowl of porridge.)

I know the book so well, that it's hard to sit back and relax and enjoy the film without the constant annoyance of "THAT never happened in the book..." but I suppose it's hard to expand description into narrative, and compress narrative into a two hour film. Various characters were left out or reduced to sketches - but then again, Hugh Laurie stole every scene he was in.

It's hard to justify my love of Austen sometimes. The stories are just so ... everything tied up with a neat bow. Unpleasant things happen, but they only ever happen off screen. I suppose it's the formality of it that appeals. My mum loved the way that people greeted each other with little curtseys and bows, the ettiquette of it all, and exclaimed wistfully that she wished we could go back to that. "Yes," I snarled back at her "The good old days when women could neither own property nor earn a living and their entire lives were decided by who they married - ugh!" I'm certainly willing to trade the formality for freedom.


Blogger Mistress La Spliffe said...

Hugh Grant is just plain wet.

I didn't mind that film adaptation in terms of faithfulness, although it bugged my pants off when Ellen burst into tears at the marriage proposal.

For me dramatic devices like that ruin what I love the most about Jane Austen: the idea of female heroines managing to find some sort of passion and freedom (because the money angles it always come out seeming like a freedom angle to me) despite being buttoned down in a way I can hardly imagine, and that certainly wouldn't allow Ellen to get hysterical for the sake of an "ooo look, they both learned something from each other's Sense and Sensibility" ending like that.

But then it's been so long since I read Sense and Sensibility I don't even remember what she did. I just remember liking it only slightly more than Emma, which is my least favourite.

1:08 pm  
Blogger Masonic Boom said...

Yes, I thought that was *very* out of character for Eleanor. And that was a way in which the film twisted the message of the book.

In the book, Eleanor's behaviour was held up as a paragon for both her sister and her mother to follow. In the film, with its feelgood modern emotions, and vague suspicion of all that English repression, the idea was that Marianne and their mother had somehow changed Eleanor into a more... passionate and expressive person. (Especially with the deleted scene where their mother comforts Eleanor, after she thinks Edward has married.) Which I think is just missing the point. Sometimes updates for modern viewers don't really work.

1:32 pm  

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