When Mr. Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson) dies, he must leave the bulk of his estate to the son by his first marriage, which leaves his second wife and their three daughters Elinor (Dame Emma Thompson), Marianne (Kate Winslet), and Margaret (Emilie François), in straitened circumstances. They are taken in by a kindly cousin, but their lack of fortune affects the marriageability of practical Elinor and romantic Marianne. When Elinor forms an attachment for the wealthy Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), his family disapproves and separates them. And though Mrs. Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs) tries to match the worthy (and rich) Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) to her, Marianne finds the dashing and fiery John Willoughby (Greg Wise) more to her taste. Both relationships are sorely tried.Written by
It's not easy to get seniors to do anything, even watch a movie and when you mention Jane Austen, they zone out. Yet each year when we do this film in class, about 80 percent end up loving it and that includes the guys. It's wonderful to watch them respond to the characters and get into a film that is so "talky" when they have been used to high action. To hear the girls call Willoughby a jerk and applaud Brandon at the end is great, but to listen to the boys comment on the behavior of the various characters is even better. How they respond to a society so filled with strict manners and codes of behavior also makes this film worthwhile and it generates much discussion about the importance of money in life; well, even Thompson in the commentary said the film is about money, who has it and who does not. I love showing this film to my students; after the groans when I start it on the first day, it's wonderful to hear their comments on day five when we finish. As one senior male said this year, "I wouldn't have rented this or wanted to see it, but now that I have, I admit it was pretty good, so I'm glad you showed it." This is why they are classics, kiddies.
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