I liked this adaptation, I really did. It was, in a sense, truer to the book as it incorporated more characters and situations from the actual book. All the actors acquited themselves well and even poor Willoughby (Dominic Cooper) couldn't help the fact that I don't find him dashing enough to sweep anyone off their feet. And they developed the pre-Willoughby Marianne/Brandon relationship much better in this new adaptation, so the eventual pairing didn't seem quite so out of the blue. But I must be honest. My heart belongs to the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version. It may leave a lot out, but I think it captures the heart of the story so very well. A lot of the credit should go to the amazing cast of the 1995 version. Even the bit parts, like the Palmers and poor, dead Mr. Dashwood, are household names (at least for the Sumptious Literaray Adaptation* lover). Lest any of you have forgotten, here are some members of the cast:
I know, right? When the (possibly) weak link in the show is Hugh Grant, and I can't even really say he is the weak link, as Edward is written to be somewhat incapable of making good first (and even second) impressions and this was the film that got me on the path from loathing Hugh Grant to enjoying his work. (About A Boy was the film that really made me pay better attention. However, he still acts like a 20 year-old frat boy, which keeps him from any sort of permanent FBL status). This Edward was just one iota too socially adept for me. Marianne's inability to comprehend why anyone would like him is one of those 'told not shown' things. I absolutely adore Imogen Stubbs's incarnation of Lucy Steele. She telegraphed exactly why Edward Ferrars would have engaged himself to her at 19 years of age and exactly why he could hardly bear it four years later. She was the perfect villian, whereas the new Lucy Steele seemed out of her depth. I couldn't quite believe her capable of ensnaring Robert Ferrars, as stupid as he was. And no one can compete with Greg Wise, so why even try, really. Same with Emma Thompson (who inhabits the role so well, you kind of forget she is about 15 years too old to be Elinor) and Kate Winslet (whose skin is so unnaturally white during the film, you can totally believe she would get sick after a hike in the rain). But I did like this one, and unlike most of the other new adaptations from the Austen-a-thon, I will probably add it to my collection. I'm sad to bid the Austen-a-thon farewell. And I'm not at all sure how I feel about the new adaptation of A Room with a View. How can anyone improve on the previous one? It had Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Helena Bonham-Carter, Daniel Day-Lewis and Julian Sands (am I forgetting anyone?)! But whatever I end up thinking about it, I'll be sure to share it with you all.
*TM Miss Nemesis