Bringing Jane Austen to the 21st Century
Kaitlin Saunders: A Modern Day Persuasion

Perhaps Margaret is right. Piracy is our only option.

Posted by Kaitlin Saunders in Blog on April 6, 2011

This past weekend, my mother-in-law hosted a Persuasion movie-viewing party in honor of my newly released book.  It was a blast!  We shared all kinds of delicious-tasting goodies (including some chocolate my world-traveling sister-in-law purchased during her backpacking trip to Europe!) over great conversation and tea before starting the memorable classic.  While surrounded by my mother, new sisters and “mom-too”, as well as my husband’s aunt and her delightful daughter, I spoke about my novel, discussing the alterations I had to make to Austen’s classic in order to take it into the 21st century.  Then afterwards, we started the movie.  My mom would chip in now and then with her lovable enthusiasm and kept the audience informed about how much more she enjoyed this or that aspect of my novel in comparison to the real turn of events on film.  Thanks Mom.  If you have any comments or questions concerning my book, feel free to contact me!

And just a reminder – my novel is for sale through Amazon, this website, and the provided link to your right.  For those of you who have ordered directly through me, I’m hoping your orders will arrive this week for me to personalize before passing them on to you!

This week’s film adaptation to be reviewed is Sense and Sensibility. This is a story of two very different sisters who equally suffer heartbreak before realizing love in the end.  There are several adaptations of this novel worth mentioning, but you will see shortly which one I am most biased about.  Produced in 1981, we were introduced to one of the first attempts at S&S starring Irene Richard (whom you may recognize from other BBC productions at that time).  This adaptation stays very close to the storyline: Marianne is the more beautiful sister and Edward is not very good-looking.  The acting may be a tad dramatic, but for Austen fans, it’s a great add to your personal video collection.

Next came Emma Thompson’s masterfully written version in 1995.  This is a beautiful film – indeed, it inspired me to begin writing!  The dialogue, the cinematography, the music, the superb acting – almost everything about this film is perfect.  I say almost because one vital scene is missing… I hate to admit it, but cutting Willoughby’s surprise arrival while Marianne is on her sick bed and pleading for forgiveness with Elinor was a disappointment!  Although my mom swears the scene was included when she and my grandmother first saw this movie in theaters, it is not available on any purchasable dvd/vhs, and indeed Emma and the film’s producer Lindsay Doran confirm during the film’s commentary that it had to be cut due to time issues (a film can only be so long!).  Despite this, I recommend this version as the best.  Although not wholly accurate, Emma Thompson’s cleverly written adaptation by far delivers the best punch.

Marianne and Elinor Dashwood

There is, however, one more version of Sense and Sensibility left to mention.  Brought to us in 2008 and written by the 1995 P&P’s screenwriter Andrew Davies, BBC presented a well produced and enjoyable mini-series.

Although I own this version and enjoy pulling it out now and then to watch it, I honestly feel like they tried too hard.  Some of the dialogue and scenes seem forced; a portion of the humor and mockery have a hard time flowing throughout – yet, the imagery, the scenery (although the cottage isn’t accurately located), the thoughtful music, Margaret, Brandon, etc., etc…make it worth watching.  And of course they had to add a wet t-shirt akin to Mr. Darcy in P&P for Edward!  Haha!  In all, no matter what version you pick out to watch next, Sense and Sensibility will prove itself enduringly heart-warming.

And there you have it folks!  Until next time,

Kaitlin

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