Director: Brian Brough
Screenplay: Jennifer Jan and Brittany Wiscombe
Story by Jane Austin
Released: May 2011
The Hook: I needed to occupy my mind, I love Jane Austin, so I said “what the hey.”
What can I say? It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I needed my mind to take a break for a little bit. Plus, I’m still processing X-Men: Apocolypse, the most recent movie I’ve seen in theaters, because … well, I’m still processing it.
Besides, Sense and Sensibility is one of the Austin novels I couldn’t finish. I’ve watched the BBC version and figured why not give this rendition a go ahead.
Sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood lives are upended when their father gets arrested for investment fraud and is found guilty. As with any investment investigation, Mr. Dashwood’s assets are frozen leaving these sisters to figure out how to live their lives and figure out a way to support their younger sister, Margaret, and their mother. Margaret suffering from leukemia and help their mother who was blindsided by her husband’s crime and worried about her youngest daughter’s medical treatments.
Since their name has been tarnished by their father’s indiscretions, Elinor is having a really hard time finding a job in the career field she’s good at, investment manager (for obvious reasons of course, but still sucks since it was her father’s crime). She ends up a janitor at a spa while Marianne, seeing her sister being rejected and rejected because of the Dashwood name, decides to apply for a copy assistant position under a different name and gets hired.
Add to this circumstance that Marianne’s boyfriend, John Willoughby, is supposedly off in Switzerland (when he’s really not) and Elinor’s boss is being really mean to her because she knows she’s a Dashwood. Some silver linings appear when Elinor meets her boss’s brother–Edward, who charms her, Marianne meets a senior executive in the marketing company she’s working for who actually seems respectable–Brandon, and Marianne seems to have hit the right recipe with her hobby–making scented lotion. The lotion not only smells good, but it seems to relieve muscle aches, which becomes a big hit at Elinor’s spa when she gave some to a client to use.
I don’t know if you can see where this is going, but Elinor, lotion, spa, terrible boss? Yeah.
I like this modern-day rendition. I really do. I mean, I haven’t read the novel so I can’t compare book-to-movie-to-book, but the movie was enjoyable even if I did not know the story. And since I’ve seen the BBC version of it, I know the story. But, with this one, I like the fact that Mr. Dashwood is charged with investment fraud instead of dying. It puts a different spin on things. Not to mention, you see the big change in life styles. From rich and luxury living to changing the oil in their broken down truck on their own and budgeting their expenses. I also liked how Elinor ends up a janitor at a spa. It’s not because I like watching people suffer. I like that it makes their comeback story that much sweeter. I mean, their down in the dumps. The lowest low they have ever been. I’m sure to some of us, having to budget expenses and do our own repair work is an everyday occurrence and it’s a lesson learned, but these girls haven’t lived this life style. Ever. So, I liked to see them grow. It’s a good story. Some may argue it’s a bit bland and predictable, but I liked it. It was exactly what I was looking for–a feel-good movie to occupy a lazy Sunday.
I like the acting. Ashely Williams (Elinor Dashwood) and Marla Sokoloff (Marianne Dashwood) did so well as sisters. Their chemistry was the right touch for siblings and they played off each other well. Nothing seemed force. The men of the story, Brad Johnson (Edward Farris), Nick Zano (Brandon Hurst), and Jason Celaya (John Willoughby) played their respective parts well. Celaya pulled off the shady yet likable character of John pretty good. And the shared chemistry with Johnson/Willams and Sokoloff /Zano was fun to watch as well. JJ Neward (Fran Farris) and Jacklyn Hales (Lucy Steele) did a good job with the tension and conflict. I was getting so upset with Fran (Neward). She was so horrible to Elinor! That’s a good job. However, I didn’t like the ending Lucy got. Even though she’s the one who vouched for Elinor, I didn’t like how she handled her jealousy of Elinor. Ugh! But, again, when a character does a good job, you hate the villains and root for the heroes (except in those story lines where the villain is really the hero of the story).
I’d definitely watch this movie again. It’s cute. It’s fun. It’s simple. Nothing intense or complex. I don’t know if I’d spend money to own it though. I’m sure it’s not more than $10 if I chose to buy it, but I don’t know if I would. As I mentioned, it was exactly what I needed–fun, light, and a distraction. I don’t know if it could be more than that.
Photo credit: IMDb