Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee)

Rating: 3.0

Ho-hum, another fine adaptation of a Jane Austen novel.  Comparisons with 
the _Emma_ update/transplant CLUELESS are easily avoided, thanks to the 
latter's 90's milieu, but it's impossible to overlook the finer and 
more deeply moving PERSUASION, released scant months ago, when assessing 
the merits and demerits of this latest foray into the world of 
early-19th-century manners and mores.  Some of these--the merits and 
demerits, that is--are nearly identical; I would include the fine 
performances of the actors among the film's virtues, for example, but 
also include among its vices their familiarity and predictability (Emma 
Thompson is sane and wise; Alan Rickman is quietly passionate; Hugh 
Grant stammers a lot, and so on).  The film is charming, engaging, and 
touching in exactly the ways that one would expect; it takes no chances.  
Also, I found the resolution of the various romantic entanglements rather 
implausible, though whether the fault lies in Thompson's screenplay or 
in the source material I cannot say, as this is one of the few Austen 
novels I've not yet read (why have I read _Northanger Abbey_, but not 
_Sense and Sensibility_?).  Nevertheless, I must admit that I had a 
wonderful time; the film may be predictable and safe, but it's also 
assured, confident, and thoroughly enjoyable.  It'll win Best Picture.