This is the BBC Video version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, adapted by Andrew Davies. The DVD comes with a second disc Jane Austen Regrets about the life of Jane Austen, based upon her remaining letters. This was fascinating and caused some tears. I wonder if it is due to my age or the circumstances of her emotional life. Was she lonely in her later life? She lived most of her life in home in Hampshire and shared a bedroom with one of her sisters until they were separated by Jane’s death. Apparently, her family had been well off when she was a child, but her sister and her not marrying meant that they lived in reduced circumstances as adults. Heaped on that, her brother’s bank collapsed during her adult life and they were reduced to impoverished circumstances.
Be sure to look for the patriarch of Downton Abbey, playing a former love interest of Jane’s.
Jane Austen was witty and apparently, quite the dancer and the flirt. We learn of at least one marriage she turned down after having accepted the proposal. Be sure to listen to the account of her life after the film.
I thoroughly enjoyed the British actors in Sense and Sensibility. The BBC generally finds such wonderful actors. We have the story of the three Dashwood sisters and their mother. Elinor is the oldest, more practical sister. Marianne is beautiful, with “fine eyes,” and falls in love with John Willoughby, charming, wealthy, and a rake. As in many of her stories, we see her characters dealing with the social conventions of the age. Marrying well ensures safety, until the spouse dies and the estate may pass to another male not as concerned for their well-being. In this story, the estate passes to their brother, his stuck-up wife, and their pudgy, not very lovable, little boy. The Dashwood girls and their mother receive an offer to move into a small cottage in Devon on a distant relative’s estate. Their life changes dramatically and marrying well becomes a key to survival.
The version I viewed did not include Persuasion, but this collector’s version I found on Amazon, has the same version of Sense and Sensibility, plus Miss Austen Regrets, AND Persuasion. There is another fairly recent version of Sense and Sensibility with Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, but I preferred the more British experience with fewer actors I recognized.