Today I headed to the Festival of Books at USC. This annual appreciation of all things reading has been a tradition of mine and I look forward to it every year. How fitting that it should fall at the same time as Beyond the Cover Books to Film Blogathon hosted by Now Voyaging & Speakeasy. Since I have books on the brain it’s the perfect time to write about my favorite book to film adaptation – Sense & Sensibility.
Now, I know this film is much more recent than those I usually write about but here’s a fun fact – I love period films almost as much as I love the classics. Put a gal in a corset and a fella in some short pants and I’m there. And really, I can blame it all on Sense & Sensibility.
In 1995 I was in high school and most of the movies I saw at the theater were big budget comedies and action flicks. Then came Sense & Sensibility. I don’t know what about it appeal to me. At the time I was unfamiliar with everyone in it except for Hugh Grant. I was an avid reader but avoided classics like the plague. I knew absolutely noting about the Regency Period nor Jane Austen. Yet, when I watched the trailer I was IN.
Then I saw it and instantly loved it. I fell wholeheartedly into the world of the Dashwood sisters and their quest for love in the English countryside.
I felt that smart, sensible Elinor was my kindred spirit and I too fell for with sweet, shy Edward Ferrars. Oh how my heart broke when it was revealed he was engaged to someone else. No Edward, don’t go!
I had a much harder time relating to the carefree Marianne. I did NOT share her attraction to Willoughby. I found him arrogant, careless and irresponsible. Colonel Brandon was the man for me. I couldn’t understand how she could be so rude to him. He was kind and caring and didn’t deserve her disdain. I wanted to jump into the screen and tell him to forget about dumb old Marianne – I would happy to marry him.
Then there were the costumes which I instantly loved and wondered how weird it would be if I wore a dress like that to school. And the scenery! To walk amongst the misty English countryside became my greatest desire.
Sense & Sensibility truly changed my life. Before the film my mom constantly encouraged me to read literary classics and I would refuse. Why would I want to read a thick book with teeny tiny writing? Boring! After loving the movie I decided to go ahead and read the Austen novel and…I thought it was boring. I couldn’t understand how it could be the same story that I loved onscreen. BUT I thought there must be something to this Jane Austen and decided to forge ahead and read Persuasion. I couldn’t put it down. From there I went on to read every other Austen novel and moved onto the Brontes and Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles Dickens and countless other literary masters.
Sense & Sensibility was my gateway to a whole new world of cinema and literature and it remains one of my favorite films to this day. Emma Thompson, you done good.