Sophia – Both of these versions are really, REALLY good. The 1995 version has Emma Thompson in it, and, well, it’s EMMA THOMPSON. So, that makes it amazing. The relationship between Marianne and Elinor was very much like best friends, with Thompson brilliantly playing the ever-so-slightly-bossy older sister. The scene where Marianne is sick and Elinor is begging her to stay alive? I weep. EVERY. TIME. The 2008 version’s relationship was a lot more big sister/little sister. While they were still affectionate and close, Elinor’s protective side toward Marianne was very dominant. The one area where I feel the 2008 vastly outshines the 1995 is in the scene after Marianne falls sick. Willoughby comes to visit and Elinor lays out some smack-down that this older sister can’t help but cheer on. He’s like, “Whine, whine, my life isn’t what I want,” and she’s like, “get……….out” – MIC DROP!
OK, let’s be honest – 1995 brought us a Mr. McHottie-Pants in the form of Willoughby. 2008 was fine, and quite charming, but he’s no McHottie-Pants.
Both of these versions have exceptionally beautiful soundtracks. The 2008 has AMAZING landscape shots that make me want to go to the English coastal countryside immediately.
Fun Fact: Emma Thompson went on to marry Greg Wise (the aforementioned McHottie Willoughly) whom she met on the set of S&S – that woman has good taste.
Arabella – Hiddleston sightings – nil. So there’s that. On with the business at hand! This is a good story and I love seeing it adapted! I’ve always been a fan of Margaret (the youngest sister) as a rare glimpse of childhood in the Regency era. I feel like there’s a good amount of screen time devoted to her in both versions of the story and plenty of cringe-worthy social blunders that make her family incredibly uncomfortable. “Yeah my sister DOES like someone! I won’t tell you who it is but I’ll give you enough fodder to gossip on about it for the rest of the movie! After all, what else do you have to do?”. I am also a giant fan of sister stories (for no obvious reason I can think of) but I have yet to meet a Marianne that I can get behind. Her character is written in such a way that she is completely self-absorbed and blind to the emotional situation of anyone else. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE how dramatic and hopelessly romantic Marianne is. Are you sad and upset? Morbid poetry and long walks in the rain are basically the only cure. BUT Marianne is so absorbed with her own feelings that she has no concept that Elinor is suffering, too. NOT COOL! That is your sister, brah! Smarten up! Just once I would love to see the Marianne/Elinor relationship played more as best friends and less as close-acquaintances-who-happen-to-be-related. The 2008 version softens the harsh lines of this sister relationship a little better than the 1995 version but neither are awesome.
We must now discuss my 2 favourite characters in this story! We shall start with the shy and withdrawn Edward Ferrars. You now know the correct spelling of that character’s name! Merry Christmas. The 2008 version of him is definitely the best! 1995’s Hugh Grant is a bit wooden and boring in his portrayal of ‘shy’ and I have a hard time believing that Emma Thomson could fall for his drone and the weird mask-like quality of his face. Plus his Regency-style shirt collar and cravat is waaaaaay too tall (eliminating his neck entirely) and makes it look like someone stole Hugh’s head and balanced it precariously on a Regency Ken doll’s body. Just sayin’. You can’t unsee that now. My second favourite is…wait for it…Colonel Brandon! Duh. How could you not love this guy? He’s sensitive and sweet and has heartbreak in his past, making him strong and silent and incredibly defensive of those he loves. I’m a sucker for that. While I do enjoy the extra time for Brandon character development in the 2008 version, no one could replace Alan Rickman and his beautiful bass voice.
Favorite Line: 1995 – “No voice divine the storm ALLAY’D! No LIGHT propitious SHONE. When snatched from all effectual aAaAAID…we perished each alone.” 2008 – I can’t think of one I like best of all. Let’s go with…all of them? It’s a cop out, I know…I fail…
Obscenities – Nothing to speak of in 1995. 2008 has some mild obscenities, but nothing drastically offensive.
Sex – The 2008 version includes a completely unnecessary, but very skip-able scene (it’s the very first scene), where you see Willoughby in a dalliance with the young woman he later abandons. It’s less explicit and graphic and more, “Why is it so dark? Is that a leg or an arm? WHAT IS GOING ON?!”
Audience – Once again this is a costume drama and the conversation style is correspondingly awesome so if anyone objects to that they should stay away…from the movie and probably from this blog, too.