The year of Sense and Sensibility

As I am sure you are all aware this year marks the 200 year anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel; Sense and Sensibility. In the world of Janeites this is something which has been acknowledged in many ways. But not only that, this year sees the introduction of no less then TWO modern versions of Sense and Sensibility on the movie screens!

From Prada to Nada, a modern spin on S&S set in Los Angeles. About two sisters (Nora and Mary), their father dies and leaves them penniless, and they have to move from their posh home in Beverly Hills to an aunt, who lives in East L.A.

This one I have seen. It is of course not possible to compare it to either the book or to any of the more “serious” adaptations of the novel. I think the expression “inspired by” could be used here. I thought it was an enjoyable film. Not a masterpiece perhaps, but I liked it. I think it can be both very fun and very annoying to watch a film which, like this one, is inspired by or based on a Jane Austen book. It’s fun with all the references to the books, all the characters who show up with names you recognize well, and I find it fun when you know the basic plot, but don’t quite know what twist they will make on it. But then like I said I also find it annoying. That is the stricter Janeite in me. The part of me that can’t bear them changing a single thing from how Jane Austen originally wrote it, and that gets upset if they do anything even slightly disrespectful to her story. But that part really doesn’t belong in that situation. Not when watching films like this one. Because, like I said, it is ‘just’ “inspired by”, and as such they are allowed to take whatever liberties they want.

So I did quite enjoy this one. 🙂 Here is a trailer for it, if you are interested.

The second one, which is not yet out, is called Scents and Sensibility. This one, obviously, I have not yet seen. But judging from the trailer (here below) it seems to be another “inspired by” film. I think it looks very interesting. And in this one they have let the characters keep their names like they are in the book.

I’m looking forward to watching this one too, and I will try to keep my stricter side under control while doing so…

A good story never dies. I suppose that’s what they realize too and why they keep making these adaptations. Or maybe they just know that there are lots of people out there who (like me) just cannot resist something even remotely connected to Jane Austen…

And I must suppose that this is in some way connected to the fact that it is the 200 year anniversary. I mean, why else would they make two modern adaptations of the same novel in the same year?? I wonder if this is going to become a trend? Will they do this for all six novels? If so we have a lot of Jane Austen “inspired” films coming up these next few years, as all the books reach their 200 birthday! That would be fun!

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5 Responses to The year of Sense and Sensibility

  1. I was talking to a lady whose friends weren’t into Jane Austen, but she could get her friends to watch ‘inspired by’ films like Bridget Jones Diary, etc. And she was like, “it’s the same thing” lol… so, some people really do unfortunately judge a book by its cover without realizing the story is a good one. Miss Austen’s stories are built off of real life and real things that would happen to ordinary people… as such, they transcend time and place. 🙂

  2. Aurora says:

    It is most definitely NOT the same thing! It is shocking indeed that people can think that!
    Yes I think a lot of people do, as you said, judge a book by its cover. I read a quote somewhere that said “never judge a book by its movie”. I liked that one.
    Exactly, I think that is also why they are probably relatively “easy” to adapt in a modern setting. It’s about more ordinary people (the word ordinary is debatable of course), and people don’t change even though times do.

  3. I think I get less heartburn over the liberties taken by modern interpretations or “inspired-by”s than I do departures from the original story in the serious historical productions. With the former, there’s no expectation of accuracy; with the latter there is.
    Speaking of an expectation of accuracy reminds me of another pet peeve. I often find lines from the movie productions attributed to Jane Austen on those Find-a-Quote website. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

  4. Anna says:

    I enjoyed this film, too. You can only enjoy a film like this if you set your expectations low and don’t compare it too much to the original. I agree with Shannon in that it’s easier to enjoy a modern, inspired-by version than a historical production, which has flaws. Like you, I hate it when there are inaccuracies or things missing/changed in the production!

    It’s always fun to see a new adaptation, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing Scents and Sensibility. Wonder why both the movies are based on the same book, appearing at around the same time? Well, goes to show that Jane Austen’s books will always be timeless…

  5. Aurora says:

    I whole heartedly agree with you both! When they take liberties with the “real” adaptations it is so much worse! Because there, like you say, you expect them to stay true to the story!

    Oh I have not thought of that before Shannon, about the quotes. That’s no good!

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