Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sense Sensibility Collector's Set |
Sense & Sensibility 2008 / Miss Austen Regrets / Persuasion 2007
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
1) Sense and Sensibility From acclaimed writer Andrew Davies (BBCs Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth) comes this enchanting new adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel about love and marriage. Marianne Dashwood we... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
Miss Austen Regrets...
D. S. Thurlow | Alaska | 02/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This three DVD set captures the latest and very adequate BBC versions of "Sense and Sensibility" (adapted by veteran Austen screenwriter Andrew Davies) and "Persuasion". It includes "Miss Austen Regrets", only just aired in February 2008, a nicely done biopic of romance writer Jane Austen.
Jane Austen left very little behind for her future biographers. Her family destroyed much of her correspondence at her death. This film is faithful to the known details of her life, and fills in some of the gaps with cautious but respectful speculation.
In "Miss Austen Regrets", a 40-ish but still feisty and flirtatious Jane Austen (in a sympathetic performance by Olivia Williams) is called upon to advise her young niece on a possible marriage. Jane enjoys a quiet notoriety for her romantic novels, which are a guilty pleasure of Regency England. She lives with an aging mother and loving older sister (nicely played by Greta Sacchi) in a rural cottage. Writing novels was not quite a respectable occupation in that day; Jane writes because she must and because she needs the money.
The conundrum for Jane's niece, as we discover was once true for a younger Jane, is whether to marry for love or money and safety. In Jane's fiction, her patient heroines all eventually managed to marry for both. In her own life, we learn that a younger Jane Austen was deterred by her parents from one agreeable but penniless suitor, then turned down a wealthier one whom she did not love.
The movie is studiously ambiguous about the impact of Jane's choices on her life. The straitened financial circumstances of her family are clearly a burden for her. A rather shocking fit of jealousy over a handsome doctor who favors her niece, and her mixed feelings upon meeting an old suitor, indicate she has not lost her interest in men. However, the movie takes pains to show that Jane values the life she has made for herself, and suggests that Jane understood that had she married in the conventional way, she might never have found the inspiration or freedom to write her novels.
"Miss Austen Regrets" is a very nicely done and sympathetic portrayal that places Jane in the context of her time without overrunning the limited biographical material available. It is an excellent addition to this DVD collection that Jane Austen fans are likely to enjoy."
Two well-done adaptations and an insightful biopic of Jane A
z hayes | TX | 04/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For the purposes of my review here, I shall review Ms Austen Regrets, followed by Sense and Sensibility and lastly, Persuasion.
MS AUSTEN REGRETS
This perceptive and insightful new biopic focuses on the latter years of the famous author's life, and it makes for riveting viewing, though it is quite sad. Ms Austen's works continue to garner generations of new fans, yet she died at the age of 41 in 1817, unmarried and relatively poor [despite the positive reviews her works garnered].
I had often wondered if Mr Darcy of P&P had been modeled on a real-life character - here, that thought is put to rest as Ms Austen [played by a well-cast Olivia Williams] tells her niece Fanny Austen Knight "The only way to get a Mr Darcy is to make him up."
I much preferred this biopic to the movie "Becoming Jane" as in that movie, we are led to assume that Tom LeFroy was the great love of Jane's life and it all seems a bit melodramatic - here, the portrayal of Ms Austen's private life and thoughts on love is given a more realistic treatment. Tom LeFroy is viewed here as someone she was attracted to but once out of her life 'she didn't spend more than five minutes thinking about."
This has a ring of truth to it in my opinion as so little is really known about Jane Austen's love life - due in part to the fact that much of her personal letters were destroyed by her sister Cassandra after Jane's death. What is portrayed in this biopic [by screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes] is based on the surviving personal correspondence and family recollections.
The greatest mystery about Jane Austen is the question of how a writer who remained single all her life, with no known love affair, could write with such depth of insight about human relationships, in particular love affairs? I felt this biopic with Ms Austen ruminating in asides, managed to answer some of those puzzlements to a degree of credibility. It does not rely on some fantastical theory of a great love, but is based on careful research and a very stark level of frankness.
In the biopic, Jane advises her niece Fanny never to marry without affection - lending credence to the theme in her novels, where her heroines marry for love.
The casting for this biopic was well-done: Olivia Williams is credible in a difficult role. She portrays Jane with a level of honesty, acerbic wit,and moments of humorous insights that prove revelatory in understanding Ms Austen. I felt this did justice to painting a realistic picture of the author as opposed to the idea of a quiet, unassuming spinster author. Imogen Poots is lovely as Jane's niece Fanny, reflecting a young girl on the cusp of adulthood with a certain naivete in matters of love, still relying on her famous aunt for advice in matters of love, though ultimately following her own heart. Greta Sacchi as Jane's sister Cassandra did not really make an impression on me. Among the male actors, I felt Hugh Bonneville [as Rev Bridges] portrayed the part of one of Jane's ex-suitors [who still seems to hold a torch for her] with a great level of depth and poignancy.
In all, I felt this biopic did justice to portraying the latter life of Jane Austen - an author who is pictured here as having given up a comfortable life that she would have had if she had married the wealthy Harris Bigg-Wither [the only known proposal] 15 yrs prior to her death, and instead chose freedom, to write and find her own bearings, to be her 'own husband' so to speak. Frank and poignant, this biopic has a ring of truth to it.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
This latest adaptation of Sense and Sensibility  is a fine version indeed, with lush cinematography, a beguiling score, and credible, above average performances by the cast in general. I find that each adaptation of Austen's novel has something special to offer, and this latest is no different. Adapted by Andrew Davies, this is a first rate adaptation that is bound to be a beloved adaptation, up there with Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility [for which Emma Thompson received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay].
For those unfamiliar with the story - Sense and Sensibility revolves around two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who find themselves together with their mother and younger sister cast out of their family home, Norland, upon the death of Mr Henry Dashwood. As is the custom of the times, the estate passes on to his only son, John who is married to a real sly, snobbish, malicious woman, Fanny [ Claire Skinner in a truly wicked role].
Fanny's brother Edward Ferrars [Dan Stevens] comes to visit and forms a close friendship with Elinor [Hattie Morahan] to the chagrin of his sister who makes it plain to Mrs Dashwood that such an alliance would be beneath Edward's station.
The widow Dashwood and her daughters move to a little cottage let by a relative, Sir John Middleton, a kind yet gossipy man. Here, Marianne [Charity Wakefield] finds herself pursued by two men, the staid and noble Colonel Brandon [David Morissey] and the charming Romeo, Willoughby [Dominic Cooper]. Elinor and Marianne are two very different people, with Elinor being more in control of her emotions whereas Marianne is impulsive, utterly transparent in her emotions and wilful. The rest of the story deals with how these two sisters' romances play out.
This adaptation is beautifully filmed, and there are some highlight performances. Hattie Morahan's Elinor is not only credible in her role age-wise, but also very nuanced as the quiet sister who feels just as much but is not as revealing in her emotions as her younger sister Marianne. As for Marianne, Charity Wakefield makes for a sweet, and wilful Marianne, but I found her performance less compelling than Kate Winslet's luminous and passionate portrayal of Marianne.
David Morissey's Colonel Brandon is well done indeed, and though Alan Rickman's portrayal of the same role in the earlier version was wonderful, David Morissey's Brandon is no less compelling. Willoughby as played by Dominic Cooper didn't do anything for me - he just wasn't very credible, and at times came across as plain unpalatable, appearance-wise.
Dan Steven's Edward Ferrars is very charming [though in the book he is not really outstanding in appearance] and I liked his portrayal better than Hugh Grant's in the 1995 version - Dan Steven's makes an amiable Edward and his chemistry with Hattie Morahan's Elinor is more credible than the Thompson-Grant pairing. Another character that I though was very well-done was Lucy Boyd's Margaret Dashwood - she is so adorable and her comments are always spot on "Women just sit around and wait for things to happen...". I love her performance in this adaptation, and understand that she is also in Ballet Shoes a British production that also stars Emma Watson.
All in all, this is a well-made adaptation that stays as faithful as it can to Austen's novel, and is sure to attract fans of Jane Austen's novels as well as those who love period dramas. It is a quality show that is sure to please most Janeites.
As with all adaptations of Jane Austen's works, this recent version of Persuasion is by no means perfect, and purists may revile it for the liberties it takes with the novel, yet it has its strengths.
Firstly, the storyline [for those unfamiliar with the plot] - Persuasion is a story of love lost & regained, of waiting [8 yrs in this case], and of constancy in feelings. Sally Hawkins plays Anne Elliott, who is at present a 27 year old spinster living with her father and oldest sister, with fond and poignant recollection of a long-ago romantic attachment that went sour. 8 years earlier, Anne had rejected a young naval officer, Frederick Wentworth [played by a very delectable Rupert Penry-Jones] under pressure from her disapproving family and godmother, Lady Russell [Alice Krige]. She finds herself at present having to leave her home, Kellynch due to the spendthrift nature of her father and sister, and learns that the family home is to be leased to none other than Wentworth's sister and brother-in-law. Soon, Anne's and Frederick's paths cross, and his improved fortunes make him a good catch causing Anne much anguish as she realises that society's conventions prevent her from declaring her true feelings for him, whilst watching other women fawn over him. The rest of the story deals with what happens to Anne and Frederick.
As for the adaptation - the casting is very credibly done. In the 1995[?] version starring Amanda Roots [as Anne Elliott] and Ciaran Hinds [as Frederick Wentworth], I felt the two leads were too old for their roles, though well-played. In the latest version, Sally Hawkins not only looks the part age-wise but reveals the depth of her emotions very well, portraying with a glance or a look what she cannot say with words. Similarly, Penry-Jones makes a dashing Naval Captain, and his eyes convey so very much! One of the scenes that have stayed with me is the scene where he watches intently whilst Anne plays the piano -his eyes are absolutely riveted upon Anne and you wonder at the depth of his feelings [whilst also pondering -is he reviled by her for her past rejection of him, or as in love with her as he was 8 years ago?].
The other actors do a credible job with their roles as well - Alice Krige as the meddlesome Lady Russell, Anthony Head as the vain and snobbish Sir Walter etc.
The music and cinematography aptly evoke the sense of the time and places. Scenes of Bath, Lyme etc are beautifully portrayed, as is the countryside.
However, my one real grouse with this adaptation is the last couple of minutes of this version - poor Anne Elliott is shown throwing caution and notions of propriety to the wind, and running about town looking for Frederick Wentworth! It is just unimaginable, and though I get the sense this was deliberately done to show the urgency of Anne's situation and fragile state of mind, I felt it was overdone and in bad taste [in this I much preferred the more moderate scene in the '95 version].
But, all in all, I did like this version on the whole, and felt that it was a well-made, and well-acted production worthy of Austen fans [except perhaps purists, for obvious reasons] ,and also fans of period dramas.
A DVD worth adding to your collection if you are a Jane Austen fan.The biopic is not sold singly, so you'll either have to get it with this Collector's Set or with the DVD of Sense and Sensibility [with which it is bundled].
No regrets here....none at all
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 02/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If Becoming Jane intrigued you earlier this year,then MISS AUSTEN REGRETS will wrap you in a mystery of intrigue and what ifs almost as good as Austen herself could write.
Olivia Williams takes on a "possible" Miss Jane Austen and inhabits the woman everyone admires, but of whom so little is really known. If you are a fan of the HBO series Five Days (HBO Miniseries) then you will know why this screenplay is so outstanding in depth and character in a tight time frame; Gwyneth Hughes is the writer and she turns out wit,sass and wisdom the same way,if not more ferociously, than Austen's characters ever did. Hughes asserts that Jane is a flirt and "sure, as we become of a man's attachment,we become indifferent" and "Rich is just another word for safe!" Hughes has Austen even complimenting a man who had read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for observing that "She only gave her heart to Darcy once she saw how big his house was!".This "created" Jane is fascinating and is a masterpiece of invention based on little fact.This Jane is NOT her "marry-only-for-love" heroines.Hughes has invented a far different Jane that proposes that she was not at all like her characters.This may upset some people,but WOW does it open possibilities for the world of the real Jane Austen."
A Genius Screenplay in "Miss Austen Regrets...worth the whol
Duke Gaines | Washington, D.C. | 02/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gwyneth Hughes is one of the finest British screen and television writers.Her work includesFive Days (HBO Miniseries), Beneath The Skin [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Netherlands ], The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries - Death at the Opera / The Rising of the Moon / Laurels Are Poison / The Worsted Viper, and Silent Witness 8-DVD Set [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Region 2 DVD Import - Netherlands ].Her work is sharp,crisp,insightful and she has done it again in the brilliant "Miss Austen Regrets."
What makes this particular screenplay so amazing is that it is not an adaptation of Austen's books,but rather an original work,with original characters that can be fleshed out appropriately in a 90 minute time frame.Little is actually known about Jane Austen.Most of her letters were burned,and try as people might,there is no definitive understanding,as much as "purists" would choose to believe,about the authoress who died at 40 in 1820.Gwyneth Hughes has taken what little IS known and has created a very compelling Jane Austen as she might have been,much like the imaginary screenplays for Amadeus - Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition),conjecture about Mozart and Immortal Beloved,a conjecture about Beethoven.Hughes has created a Jane Austen who is now to advise her niece,Fanny,about love,marriage and prospects.Fanny has imbibed all of her Aunt's works.Jane,in Hughes' mind though,IS NOT the heroine of her novels.That is what makes THIS particular screenplay so amazing and compelling; it makes us consider Jane Austen in a much different light,and Hughes does so convincingly.Olivia Williams,The Sixth Sense and [[ASIN:B000127YYM The Heart of Me throws all her expertise into creating a very plausible Miss Austen who is vulnerable and sagacious also.Director Jeremy Lovering has assembled English greats Greta Scacchi as Cass Austen,Phyllida Law as Mrs.Austen and Hugh Bonneville as Vicar Bridges as very necessary supporting roles, and all of them explode accordingly in glorious fashion to bring depth and sensitivity to this story.
Hughes understands the Period and Austen's writings to create a very convincing story of "what ,maybe" as concerning Austen with incredible respect for her and her body of work.As Jane says about her works in this conjecture,"They are My Children;I send them out into the world to compete with Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron!"
Along with the 2007 film Becoming Janewhich explored the possible romantic life of young Jane,"Miss Austen Regrets" takes us way further into an in depth look at the last 15 years of Austen's life,her problems with publishing,her flirtatious nature,her Mother's intense anger and disappointment and ultimately her death.Gwyneth Hughes has built a compelling case.Is it true? No one will ever know, but as a stab in the dark,Hughes has hit a bullseye of the heart. OUTSTANDING!