Ok, I was first drawn into the world of Jane Austen as a teenager, taking my girlfried to the cinema see Ang Lee's fabulous 1995 film adaptation of S&S. Since then, I have learnt that Ms Austen has a very exacting and passionate band of die-hard followers, and therefore, any future adaptation of S&S simply 'had' to come up to scratch.
So here I am now, a thirty something, fairly blokish bloke, writing a review of this latest mini series from the BBC... and I'm happy to say that I absolutely loved it. Hattie Morahan & Charity Wakefield were beautifully cast as the 'sensible' Elinor & the 'passionate' Marianne. David Morrissey put in a simply fabulous & emotional performance as Colonel Brandon. Noble, reserved and honourable. Very British. Dan Stevens did a wonderful job of protraying the bumbling, gentle and frustrated Edward Ferrars and Dominic Cooper brought a new, almost derranged, darkness to the deceitful Willoughby. The entire cast in fact, add new personal dimentions to their characters that was really very refreshing.
A note on the screenplay & derection. The inclusion of charaters omitted from other adaptations was unexpected and a lovely surprise. Scenes not in, but referred to in the book, and given the full directorial treatment add a dramatic edge to an already simmering plot. Additionally, through a combination of great acting and brilliant direction, you really get a feel for the entirely hopeless situation of the central characters in the opening episode. This makes for an ever more uplifting voyage through this timeless story.
I am cautious not to draw too many comparisons between the book and past adaptations, as I am always delighted to experience the diversity of interpretaion artistic licence caters for. However, to keep the die-hards happy, the script remains faithful, the settings appropriately dramatic, and the costume choices inspired. This is television that the BBC does well, and on this occasion, very well indeed. I will re-visit this adaptation for years to come, and my only gripe is that the BBC has not (yet) given it the Blu-Ray treatment. recommended and commended in every respect.