Sense and Sensibility: Special Edition
There's little to distinguish Ang Lee's 1995 film of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility from the legion of other recent Austen adaptations, but that's simply because they were all great. By default it has all the trappings of the typical Austen story: unrequited loves, womanizing cads, rustic English landscapes, subtle social subversions, grand estates, and maidens desperate to marry a man of means (and for love, if that's possible). Although the template of Sense and Sensibility is familiar, the quality is undeniable. Emma Thompson stars as Elinor, the sensible Dashwood daughter who carefully holds her emotions in reserve. Her younger sister Marianne (Kate Winslet) is the opposite: an impetuous youth enamored of poetry and romantic ideals. Both have marriage on their minds, with Elinor fancying equally reserved Edward (Hugh Grant), and Marianne swept away by dashing young soldier Willoughby (Greg Wise). From there the story takes Austen's typical twists and turns, laced with her trademark wit and subtle satire of Victorian mores. Thompson penned this lively, funny, heartbreaking adaptation and won an Oscar for it -- and couldn't have hoped for a better actress than herself to bring it to life. No one is as adept as Thompson is in portraying suppressed longings, and her performance is both lovely and shattering. Okay, there may be one distinguishing factor between Sense and Sensibility and its ilk: director Lee is Taiwanese, but still observes this very English story with exquisite warmth and period detail. Also with the inimitable Alan Rickman. This Special Edition is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and both 5.0 and 2.0 Dolby Surround. Aside from an uneasy layer change, it's a beautiful transfer. Includes two commentary tracks: one with Thompson and producer Lindsay Doran, and another with Lee and co-producer James Schamus, as well as Thompson's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes (which she delivers as if from Austen herself), two deleted scenes, and trailers. Snap case.