My Movie Influence: Sense & Sensibility (1995)

My friend Andina over at the gorgeous Inspired Ground blog invited me last week to take part on her on-going series My Movie Influence.

Here’s the gist of what the series is all about:

Many people have their own movies they think highly, praised and probably started seeing things differently after watching them. I’ve shared mine and I always wanted to know what others have. I asked other people which movie they think to have the best influence on them.

Naturally I pick this movie…

Some of you aren’t surprised by that as this Jane Austen adaptation by Ang Lee is one of my favorite films of all time.

If you have to pick one movie that changed your entire/one phase of your life, what would it be?

Sense & Sensibility (1995) – a Jane Austen adaptation by Ang Lee, starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman and Greg Wise. I’m forever indebted to my cousin who rented this movie when I visited her in college, but somehow it didn’t have as much an impact as it did the second time around. I couldn’t remember when exactly I saw it again but I was so swept away by it.

Set in the late 17th century, the story centers of the two Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who must navigate through the harsh realities of their circumstances after losing their father. The two sisters are very close but of polar opposites, one is passionate and very much driven by feelings, and the other is much more guarded, strongly guided by her senses. Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her brilliant screenplay, deservedly so, and the film was nominated for seven Oscar. I wish Patrick Doyle’s music also won Best Original Score, it stands as one of my favorite movie music of all time.

In what way does the movie changed you?

This film not only sparks my love for period dramas but also opens the world of Jane Austen. I never read Austen growing up but now period romance is one of my favorite movie genres. I have seen many, many period dramas since but none compared to how I feel about this film. I’ve seen it countless times and I love it more every time.

There’s so much human emotions explored in this film… love, wickedness, patience, heartbreak, devotion, passion… themes all of us could relate to hundreds of years after this film is set. What I love most about this film is the decency of the main characters, choosing to do what’s honorable no matter how painful. Elinor and Col. Brandon truly suffered for love, so tormented for their feelings for Edward and Marianne respectively, but neither one is self-centered and so wallowed in self pity, but instead I find their kindness and compassion to others so inspiring. That’s why Brandon is one of my favorite period drama heroes, he’s the quiet hero who’s so worth the wait.
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What character of the movie you could relate to?

I go back and forth between Elinor and Marianne. At first I identify most with Marianne and her unbridled passion, I love how she defied convention and the strict norm of society of her day in the name of love. I love how she doesn’t care what people thinks of her, and she loves with all her heart. But the older [and hopefully wiser] I am, the more I could relate to Elinor. She loves just as much but at the same time she isn’t defined by it. I think I am more inspired by her than being able to relate to her, but at the same time, I feel that I probably would’ve acted the way she did given the circumstances.

I also identify with the Dashwood sisters in losing a loved one so young in life, as I lost my mother when I was 16 years old and so I could relate to growing up without a father and raised by women.

Favorite quote of the movie?

Though I LOVE the ‘Love is not love’ sonnet that Marianne uttered in this wonderful rain scene, but it’s this quote from Elinor that I find so wonderfully inspiring…

“…It is bewitching in the idea of one’s happiness entirely depending on one person”

She said it to her sister Marianne when it’s finally revealed that Edward has been secretly engaged for five years, that is dashing her hope to be with him once and for all. Marianne always thought that Elinor never really deeply loved Edward but this scene shows that obviously that’s not the case. Yet even in her deepest heartbreak, Elinor still has her head screwed on tight and she never lost her perspective. I wish I had such strength, such wisdom could be applied at any era, whether in romance or otherwise.

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If you could summon/conclude the entire movie’s message, what would it be?

I think the message that I get is that one must follow their heart but also has the good sense not to be controlled by our emotions. Seems that Austen also has a strong notion about marrying for love instead of money, which is quite a modern thinking as women like her in her day could not earn a living on their own. Yet, it’s sad to say that some women today do choose marry for money more than love, and their parents perhaps even advise them to do so.

There’s also a message about defying social conventions that are deftly portrayed by Austen’s characters. Though Elinor seems to have proper decorum and seems to conform to society’s norm, there’s a subtle sign that she doesn’t necessarily agree with them. She is a headstrong woman so naturally she’d rebel against the idea that women had no status except through marriage.

Regardless of the era though, there’s that timeless theme of the eternal struggle between following our heart and using one’s head, especially when it comes to the intricacies of love.


Well, now you know why that film means so much to me. What’s your thoughts on Sense & Sensibility?

Happy Birthday Alan Rickman!

Mr. Rickman turns 64 today.

Thought I’d give a short tribute to him as he’s one of my favorite British actors. I first saw him as the captivating villain Hans Grubber in Die Hard, stealing scenes from action hero Bruce Willis. He also plays another memorable villainous role as the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, again nearly outshining the lead actor Kevin Costner. But he’s just as wonderful in his more tender roles, as the romantic ghost in Truly, Madly, Deeply (thanks to my ESL teacher who introduced me to that film) and of course my all-time favorite, as the noble Col. Brandon in Sense & Sensibility. How could Marianne fall for the young, impetuous Willoughby when she’s got such a regal man with silky, smooth voice like Christopher Brandon swooning over her?!

Just the way he looked at Marianne here practically melts the heart of every woman everywhere:

To prove his versatility, Rickman also shines in his comedic roles, most notably in the hilarious sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest. He’s also adept at singing in Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp. Is it any wonder he’s chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#34) in 1995? We can see hear him next as the voice of Caterpillar in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Here’s wishing for a lasting acting career for Mr. Rickman!