Sense and Sensibility
Within the first 10 minutes of this 2008 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, we learn much about the plot, characters, and meaning of the novel. After the death of Henry Dashwood, his widow and their three daughters—Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret—are forced to see their grand home, Norland Park, taken over by Henry’s son by a former marriage, John, and his wife, Fanny. As family members share an elegant dinner, the dialogue helps to establish not only each character’s distinct personality, but also the mood, tone, and trajectory of the story.
In this scene from the 2008 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood sisters and their mother first see their new home, Barton Cottage, a simple dwelling set against the tumultuous north Devon coast—and the viewer experiences it with them. As the camera swoops over the untamed sea, the cottage first appears large, then insignficant when set against the vast landscape. The Dashwood family, now very far away from the “civilized” world of society, is on its own. As we follow the family as they enter the cottage, each character’s reaction—Mrs. Dashwood is overwhelmed, Marianne pronounces it “romantic,” and Elinor is practical—reinforces what we already know about their personalities.
The romance between Edward and Elinor is, for many, the heart of Sense and Sensibility, and Edward’s proposal serves as the climax of the 2008 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. From the moment Edward arrives at the cottage, there is a palpable sense of suspense. As the scene unfolds—Edward declares his love and Elinor accepts amidst tears of joy—the happiness that the characters experience is so real and powerful that we find ourselves cheering them on.