Two Dashwood sisters, Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) are direct opposites: Elinor is thoughtful and rational, and Marianne lives by emotions. When their father dies, the family's house is inherited by his son John. John and his cold, unfeeling wife Fanny move in right away, before the Dashwoods have time to find another place to live and move out. Fanny acts like the mistress of the house, caring little about the Dashwood's grief. The only person who is conscious of it is Edward, Fanny's brother. Calm and quiet like Elinor, he takes a liking to her. Elinor likes him as well, but, as usual, keeps her emotions in check. Marianne does exactly the opposite when they finally do move out and she meets a handsome neighbor, Mr. Willoughby (Greg Wise); she immediately falls in love and puts no restraint on her feelings. Her sincere attachment is cruelly betrayed when Willoughby chooses money over love.
Jane Austen knew how to pen a good romance story, clean, captivating, and based on something far more solid than most of today's romantic fluff: morals. I suppose that is why her stories, and movies based on them, stand a head taller than the rest. Sense and Sensibility is one such movie. Emma Thompson shines here, and Kate Winslet, of whom I am normally not a big fan, does a very good job as Marianne. Hugh Grant is very believable as the shy, modest Edward. The story unfolds smoothly and at good pace.
This Oscar-winning production is a treat for the whole family, unless you absolutely hate period pieces.