Emma Thompson scores a double bull's-eye with Sense and Sensibility
, a marvellous adaptation of Jane Austen's novel. Not only does Thompson turn in a strong (and gently humorous) performance as Elinor Dashwood--the one with "sense"--she also wrote the witty, wise screenplay. Austen's tale of 19th-century manners and morals provides a large cast with a feast of possibilities, notably Kate Winslet, in her pre-Titanic
flowering, as Thompson's deeply romantic sister, Marianne (the one with "sensibility"). Winslet attracts the wooing of shy Alan Rickman (a nice change of pace from his bad-guy roles) and dashing Greg Wise, while Thompson must endure an incredibly roundabout courtship with Hugh Grant, here in fine and funny form. All of this is doled out with the usual eye-filling English countryside and handsome costumes, yet the film always seems to be about the careful interior lives of its characters. The director, an inspired choice, is Taiwan-born Ang Lee, here making his first English-language film. He brings the same exquisite taste and discreet touch he displayed in his previous Asian films (such as Eat Drink Man Woman
). Thompson's script won an Oscar. --Robert Horton
Emma Thompson stars in and provides the screenplay for this adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel. Thompson plays Elinor, the eldest of sisters who are reduced in means when their father dies and his estate passes on to his son from his first marriage. They are soon accepted into their new society, each finding romance, but with some pain along the way. Also starring Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, the film won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as three BAFTAs.