(out of 5)
Best-ever adaptation of a Jane Austen novel stars Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as two radically different sisters, one reserved and private, the other boisterous and lively, together tackling the same problem: how to marry happily with a man they really love. Winslet is being courted by dashing Greg Wise, and Thompson is finding herself curiously attracted to her evil sister-in-law’s handsome brother (Hugh Grant). Naturally, since it is based on an Austen novel, there are many complications that work out just fine in the end, but thanks to Thompson’s intellectually stimulating screenplay, the obstacles are all heart stopping and the emotions between them very moving. Harriet Walter plays the sister-in-law with unapologetic zeal, and there is fine supporting work from Gemma Jones, Alan Rickman and a marvelous Elizabeth Spriggs, but the film really belongs to its two dynamite leads. Thompson’s reserved Elinor is heartbreaking to watch, and Winslet gives Maryann as much passion as she can muster from her wealth of talent.
Directed by Ang Lee
Cinematography by Michael Coulter
Produced by Lindsay Doran
Music by Patrick Doyle
Production Design by Luciana Arrighi
Film Editing by Tim Squyres