Why Sense and Sensibility is the Ultimate Love Saga

Jane Austen’s story of two sisters looking for their perfect matches manages to cover every last aspect of this strange thing we call love…

Sense and Sensibility

IT EXPLORES THE TWO TYPES OF LOVE

And what are the two types of love, exactly? Well, the first is the innocent, gloriously naïve, heart-pounding love that can strike when we're still very young and eager to throw ourselves into romantic adventures. The other is the more cautious, thoughtful, even more profound escalation of emotion that happens when we're a little older or wiser. Sweet, hapless Marianne and calm, reserved Elinor embody these traits, and actually Marianne herself evolves from the first to the second kind, thanks to her rude awakening at the hands of that rogue Willoughby.

IT'S LIKE A FAIRY TALE

True love can feel like a fairy tale. But Sense and Sensibility goes one better, and sets the entire story up like a literal fairy tale, right from the start. Think of how it begins with the Dashwood clan being cast out of house and home by a cunning relative, who is basically like every wicked stepmother rolled into one. As stranded and near-destitute as the heroines of any classic fairy tale, the girls are in a hopeless situation, which makes it all the more poignant when they meet the handsome princes of their dreams.

Austen Season

Austen Season starts with Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice, Sundays from 12pm.

IT HAS ITS OWN CUPID

Cupid himself makes a cameo appearance in Sense and Sensibility. Admittedly he doesn't have wings and a bow, which is just as well because we doubt Cupid's scanty attire would suit Sir John Middleton. But this jovial middle-aged fellow is every inch the matchmaker, and takes child-like delight in "helping" (ie meddling) when it comes to the Dashwoods' love lives. After all, he's determined to "find them all husbands before the year is out". Even the youngest one, who's 13? Maybe not...

IT HAS VERY ATTRACTIVE MEN

It's not just Elinor and Marianne who swoon during Sense and Sensibility. This is a love saga that gets all our hearts racing, thanks to the presence of some very dashing leading men. The sweet-souled Edward Ferrars is played by Dan Stevens, who - with his earnest charm, resplendent hair and piercingly glacial eyes - disproves the notion that "nice guys" are boring. Then there's David Morrissey, as the strong, brooding Colonel Brandon, and Dominic Cooper as the raven-haired charmer Willoughby - perhaps the most seductive cad ever dreamt up by Jane Austen.

IT HAS VERY ATTRACTIVE MEN... DUELLING

Because if there's one thing better than dashingly romantic men looking good in Regency clothes, it's dashingly romantic men looking good in Regency clothes while fighting over a woman, with swords. Watching Brandon and Willoughby engage in a desperate duel over matters of the heart is really quite the spectacle.

The cast of Sense and Sensibility.

The cast of Sense and Sensibility.

THERE'S LOVE POETRY

It's a sad thing that love poetry has fallen out of fashion in our cynical times. We barely even see it, outside of pastel-pink Valentine's cards. But in Sense and Sensibility it makes an appearance, and it works beautifully. That's partly because of the sheer sincerity of Willoughby's devotion to romantic verse. As he recites to Marianne while she recuperates from a fall, her eyes widen in desire. Now this is how all courtships should surely begin...

IT'S ABOUT INSTANT INFATUATION...

We mentioned earlier about the two types of love. The first is exemplified by Marianne and Willoughby, and seeing their instant infatuation will remind anyone of their own first crush. Of course, it all gets very turbulent and anguished, but isn't that always the way with the first person you fall for, and all your emotions go haywire and you lose all sense of perspective? Sense and Sensibility tells it exactly like it is.

...AND ABOUT SECOND CHANCES

And then there's Marianne's second chance of happiness with Brandon, the man who is originally overshadowed by the flashy Willoughby. Brandon represents that soulmate we don't recognise until it's almost too late. Elinor, too, has a slow-burning love story with Edward: an attachment that grows cautiously before blossoming into great passion. There isn't a dry eye in the house when they finally get their act together...