Friday, May 23, 2008

Sense & Sensibility-ness

Folks, we are well overdue for some Jane Austen, and I am fired up at 11pm, so hold onto your hats.

Aaron and I watched the 1995 version of Sense & Sensibility tonight. I don't know if I like it more or less than the Masterpiece version, but I definitely enjoyed seeing some familiar faces, particularly after a couple installations of Cranford and the other Jane Austen adaptations on Masterpiece. So here we go. My own personal opinions of the casting:

Mrs. Dashwood - Gemma Jones. Actress extraordinaire, apparently. I'm now a fan. Although she may be becoming typecast as a hysterical mother, judging from this and her later role as Bridget Jones' mom (a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice, you know...)

Elinor Dashwood - Emma Thompson. Can't beat her, of course. The mistress of the great literary adaptation, she's truly amazing, and manages to make a very sympathetic big sis out of this understated role. A common criticism is that she looks too old for the part. Elinor is supposed to be 19, and Emma looks about 10 years older than that. But who cares. It's Emma Thompson for pete's sake!

Marianne Dashwood - pre-Titanic Kate Winslet. And she's just great. And very funny. That Marianne, what are we going to do with her? She just says what she feels, and oh, we must learn to repress that, musn't we? Lucky for those of us gals who talk before thinking, there are some gentlemen out there who find that trait charming.

Edward Ferrars - Hugh Grant, pre 90's Hollywood breakthrough. Or maybe just at the start of it. After Four Weddings and a Funeral, but before Notting Hill and the big Elizabeth Hurley breakup. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of good ole' Hugh being the good, genuine guy, destined for the ministry, no less! Despite some posture issues that made Aaron think his costume was fitted poorly, he did very well. Jolly good, old chap!

And speaking of old chaps:

Mr. Palmer - the sarcastic, critical, barely-tolerating-his wife gentleman was played by none other Hugh Laurie, now better known as the sarcastic, critical, barely-tolerating-everyone-around-him Dr. House. Me thinks the casting director saw this film, because I guess Mr. Laurie is better known as a comic actor. If you can imagine.

Imelda Stauton played his silly gossip of a wife, Mrs. Palmer. If that name sounds familiar, it's because she was also a silly gossip, Mrs. Pole, in Cranford. This lady is fighting stereotypes, though, since she also played Vera Drake as well as another vicious character that I'll mention later.

Now. This next character's casting I had a very hard time with, and if you have been paying attention to some of my occasional references and my favorite links list, you'll know exactly why.
Colonal Brandon, possibly the most respected and well-trusted man in the novel, and a true Austen hero, was played by Alan Rickman. Whom I know only as the Harry Potter-hating Professor Snape. Oh, and the Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Some romantic hero!

Hogwarts has recruited heavily from British films such as S & S. Here's the tally, just in this film:

Emma Thompson - Proff. Trelawney
Alan Rickman - Snape, of course. I mean, Professor Snape.
Imelda Stauton - Headmistress Delores Umbridge, the teacher from hell.
Gemma Jones - Madame Pomfrey, head of the school's infirmary.

Guess those casting agents know what they're doing.


Ruth said...

yay harry potter references! i am already missing my wii game, and if i had brought along book 7, i would be reading it all day and not doing homework. Ah. Escapable fantasy. Need it. Need it baaad.

Noel said...

Emma Thompson is about my age which in 1995 would have made her about Aaron's age which is about 75% older than 19.