Having watched this film immediately after reading the novel, my expectations were high, and thankfully, I was not let down. This is a delicate and touching handling of a highly subtle novel which helps bring to life the characters, fashions and scenery of Romantic England. There is a wonderful blending of feeling, wit and humour. Lee's direction is clearly affectionate and determined to remain faithful to the original.
Thompson's screenplay adaptation and the direction are largely faithful to the main themes and plots of the novel. Where original material has been interpolated, it is seamlessly and tastefully done, never for the sake of it, and always adding to the overall atmopsphere of the story. The soundtrack is simply enchanting, and appropriate for the themes, moods and tones of the action; Marianne's recitals are especially poingant.
Austen's characters are interpreted by an all-star cast, who are all on top form. Kate Winslet as Marianne and Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon are particularly moving and affecting in their parts. Marianne's gradually softening sensibility and the inner passions emerging from beneath Colonel Brandon's manly reserve are skillfully portrayed. Thompson is mature and sensible and Grant is suitably foppish.
Living abroad, I found this film highly evocative of traditional English people and places. After a bottle of wine I became extremely homesick and emotional during the exit music. This film brings to the screen things we should be proud of: our literature, our countryside and the refined manners, culture and that peculiar mix of sense and sensibility of our people.