I know that a long time ago, probably a couple of years ago now, I posted a trailer for a movie called Scents and Sensibility. This is a modern “adaptation” of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and I heard about it for the first time before it was even out yet. But then I sort of forgot all about it, it slipped my mind and I never watched it. Until very recently when a friend of mine saw a copy of it in a shop and mentioned it to me, knowing how much I love anything Jane Austen. That reminded me and I went ahead and watched it.
I always struggle a little seeing these modern “adaptations” of Jane Austen novels, because the Janeite snob in me doesn’t like people changing her stories. But at the same time I do enjoy watching anything that is even remotely connected to Jane Austen.
This movie, Scents and Sensibility, is a movie about two sisters called, yes you guessed it, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Instead of being the daughters of a wealthy landowner with a great estate who dies, these two sisters are the daughter of a sucessful business man in Los Angeles. And instead of dying their father is sent to jail for swindling lots of money. So Elinor and Marianne are forced to give up the lifestyle they have known and been used to and go out and find jobs, only to discover that they have been tainted by association and practically no one wants to hire them.
Eventually they both find work however, Elinor as a janitor at a spa where the receptionist is called Lucy and the owner just happens to have a brother by the name Edward Ferras… Marianne works in an office, where one of her colleagues just by chance has the name Brandon… Not difficult to guess how this is going to end is it?
Marianne has a passion for flowers, and a hobby for making nicely scented lotions of them. After noticing how many people like this lotion and want it this is something the sisters decide to work more on, hence the name of the movie, Scents and Sensibility.
This is not a very great movie, it feels like quite a weak attempt at an adaptation of Jane’s book. But even so I did enjoy it. I will say this about all the modern adaptations I have seen, this one, From Prada to Nada, Bride and Prejudice and Clueless, that even though none of them are good as adaptations of the books they are inspired by in my eyes (though I do rather like Bride and Prejudice) I enjoy them as movies where I can try to find all these references to the originals. Where characters are introduced and you hear their name and instantly know how it’s going to end. I get frustrated at alot of changes they make, or twists they put to the story, but at the same time I like seeing how they incorporate the characters and events into a modern setting. I think this proves so well what I am constantly telling people who ask me about Jane Austen, what is so great about her books and how she can still be as popular as she is. One of the reasons I think that is because you can relate to the characters and their trials and tribulations. Jane Austen wrote about people, and people don’t change. Even if society has changed, fashion and technology has altered and and evolved people’s feelings and characters remain the same. And that is why you can take the characters from a Jane Austen novel, pull them out of the early 19th century and move them to the 21st and it still works. I think this is one of the big reasons (one of many many reasons) Jane Austen is still so well loved today. And it proves also that a good story never dies. No matter how many times you tell it and how many times you remake it, people always want to do it again and again and again.
Oh dear, I was going to write a short little post about the movie, not a sermon on the virtues of Jane Austen’s writings. Again… But it never ceases to amaze me, and I can’t seem to praise Jane enough!
Seeing how 2011 brought no less then two modern adaptations of Sense and Sensibility I was expecting 2013 to bring no less when it comes to Pride and Prejudice! I guess we shall see, the year is still young 😉