Monday, November 5, 2012

"Sense will always have attractions for me."

I Netflix'd the 2008 Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Sense & Sensibility this weekend. I loved it. Don't get me wrong, I will forever adore Emma Thompson's 1995 version but this one was also pretty stellar. I was intrigued by the similarities in casting. I mean, characters of course carry attributes but Austen is not one for much physical description and, between these two films, the physical traits and mannerisms of certain characters were very recognizable. Lucy Steele, in particular, was played almost exactly the same.

While I was watching this movie though, I had an epiphany that Elinor Dashwood is perhaps Austen's best heroine. Allow me to elaborate on "best." I'm not saying she's everyone's favorite or that she is most wonderful, moral, relateable, anything. By "best" I mean that she strikes me as the summation of the best attributes included in the other Austen heroines. She is incredibly strong and unwilling to be cowed but not in the way that Lizzie's stubbornness and temper becomes rude and divisive. Elinor is patient and allows things to develop in their time but not the way Anne's retiring nature becomes debilitating. She is moral and modest but not as insufferable as Fanny's prudishness. She loves her family, despite their idiosyncrasies and cares for the welfare of her friends, without becoming meddling like Emma. Elinor endures the meanness of her in-laws and friends. She is practical. She admires Edward all the more because he does what is right and honorable, even if it means he will be lost to her forever. She is the best and brightest of all Austen's women. Maybe this makes her the most annoying, too perfect, but I have to say, I find her incredibly human, not a Mary-Sue. She is the Austen heroine I want to be.

But I still want Henry Tilney.


  1. I wasn't all that impressed with this one, but, then again, I do have a giant girl crush on Emma Thompson, so there is that.

    You're already married. Henry Tilney is MINE.

  2. I adore Elinor Dashwood for just the qualities you mention, and I have seen Emma Thompson's S&S dozens of times. I haven't seen this version, though, but I will have to check it out after seeing this review. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden