Top positive review
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Breathes life into Austen.
on 11 October 2009
I didn't bother watching this when it was originally on television, thinking that the Emma Thompson film was so good that nothing would match it and so I just wouldn't bother. Having watched the dvd under some persuasion from a friend, I'm quite ashamed of my ignorance and wish I'd watched it back then. This is simply an excellent adaptation which shows up faults I hadn't noticed before in the film version.
Charity Wakefield is a strikingly good actress, her portrayal of Marianne Dashwood makes that of Kate Winslet seem rather wooden. Wakefield exudes the natural, unaffected character of Marianne with so much depth that she truly lifts the heart and soul out of Austen's creation and is a joy to watch. Although Wakefield stands out in the cast, the other characters also are more 'real' and believable here. David Morrissey is a much more sympathetic Brandon, and you wonder how Marianne could ever have failed to fall in love with him at first sight. There is a really palpable sense of his having the same passionate, romantic nature as Marianne, which has been subdued by bitter past experience, only to be reawakened and eventually noticed by Marianne.
The settings, too, are sumptuously evocative. The cottage to which to Dashwoods move is no twee chocolate box cottage but a neglected, wind-swept house which combines the Romantic,desolate beauty of the wind swept Devonshire coast with the stark depiction of the poverty into which the family have descended, mirrored in Marianne's joy at her new surroundings and Elinor's practicality and concern at the challenges of their enforced new life. Add to the glorious scenery and excellent performances, the tempestuous and haunting music which permeates throughout, and you have a truly beautiful adaptation. One to keep and treasure.