Scents and Sensibility (2011)


There probably aren’t many girls who haven’t gotten lost inside a Jane Austen novel or seen one of the many film adaptations one can find on the shelves of their local video store. Over the years, I myself have probably seen most of the British adaptations made from her novels plus a handful of modern interpretations. For the most part, I’m a girl who is up for anything that is “inspired” by Austen’s timeless classics but that doesn’t automatically assure the script has the right pizzazz to be coupled with Jane Austen.

Life as they knew it comes crashing down around the Dashwood family. Marianne (Marla Sokoloff) has finally graduated school, only her celebration is interrupted by the FBI arresting her father for a ponzi-like scheme. This turn of events automatically freezes the family’s accounts and seizes all valuables. Sensible Eleanor (Ashley Williams) sets about reassuring their mother that everything will be okay despite now being out of a job – and then there is, little sister, Margaret (Danielle Churchran) who depends on several thousand dollars a month in medicine.

Eleanor eventually gets a job at a high-class spa resulting in her meeting her boss’ easy-going lawyer brother, Edward (Brad Johnson). Meanwhile, Marianne is pining for her boyfriend John (Jason Celaya) who is working overseas. Distracting herself with interviews, Marianne becomes tired of being rejected for work, so she lies on her application and is hired as the copy assistant at an office where she meets the handsome Brandon (Nick Zano).

 I am not such a staunch Austen purist that I cannot enjoy a modern interpretation and in fact long ago fell in love with the charms of the Bollywood adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in the colorful, Bride andPrejudice. Vaguely do I recall the first time watching it as it lit up the screen with a special kind of magic that I may not watch often but do delight in on the rare occasion it is popped into the DVD tray. My impression of this wasn’t nearly as curious, just knowing it was a remake of Sense and Sensibility made it easy watching for a cursory viewing at the least. What this film reveals is some cute antics but nothing that is all that memorable either.

The first few scenes of the movie left me miffed with bad, echoing sound quality that fortunately seemed to even out before twenty minutes pass and the story settles into a comfortable, easy rhythm that isn’t hard to place the characters or match them to their iconic counterparts. This is greatly helped along by giving nearly all of them the same name which I understand though found a bit “too obvious” for the film’s own good – it screamed that the writer’s weren’t thinking more creatively which in turn, limited real creativity. Another downfall was the styling and acting. Seeing Sokoloff in various other productions, I find it comical that she looks the same in every single role she undertakes – either she does most of her own looks or stylists like her look but whatever, her hairstyle does nothing to compliment her face. Neither she nor Williams were tailored to their best potential and even being the practical sister, Eleanor should have taken on a different look. Aside from some stilted, awkward acting – brought on by a sometimes ridiculous scripting, rarely did the actors fit their parts. John didn’t give the appearance of a heartbreaker any more than Sokoloff played an overdramatic, heartbroken girl. Edward and Brandon were decently cast, most especially Brandon though here he is much closer in age to Marianne – and really, even as awkward as it was, who can help but cheer that he gets to punch John Willoughby? He had it coming.

As pessimistic about this as I’ve been, it was cute. There are some sweet scenes mixed among everything else and apart from a few implications, the film is a wholesome tale that yes, could have been so much better but is perfectly appropriate for younger viewers or anyone who cannot resist a Jane Austen spin-off. For me, it’s unlikely that I’ll buy a copy however it was sweet nonetheless. With the time they had, everything was well condescend though, obviously liberties were taken. The story does have a cute little twist all its own which may not make up for the low-budget flubs but certainly gives this movie basketfuls of sappy charm in its own right.

(Content: A couple of minor flirtatious remarks are made while the girls are giggling over cute guys; there is mention to a former affair that could ruin a man, and another woman steals formula secrets to further her own.)
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Rissi
24 Comments

24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It has that happy-go-lucky effect, doesn't it!? Glad you enjoyed it, Hadassah. :)

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  2. Ooo, it looks cute! I'll have to find a copy somewhere and watch it!

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    1. Cool! Hope you can, KatySue. I was fortunate enough to find it at the video store so hopefully you can also. :)

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  3. I haven't heard of this one. Sounds kinda cute.

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    1. It is, Juju. Not the strongest Austen contemporary. But cute. :)

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  4. I've been wanting to watch this movie for a while.
    I like cheesy,but sweet movies:)

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    1. Then you'll love this one, Ella! It's full of sappy moments but is awfully cute. Cannot wait to get your thoughts on it. :)

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  5. I'd put this movie on the backburner for a while, because I was really dissapointed in From Prada to Nada, the 'other' S&S modern adaptation (I think you also reviewed it a while ago?) But if you say that despite its flaws it's a nice one-time watch, I'll probably give it a go!

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    1. This one is more "childish" and innocent than From Prada to Nada. Ironically, overall, I preferred that one over this. It was better production and acting wise, however I appreciate this one because it's wholesome. (Or mostly it is.) Hope you enjoy this one - let me know what you think if/when you see it, Birdienl. :)

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  6. Wow, what timing! I had this in my Amazon "Saved for Later" section for sometime when I had some extra super-saver to make-up or something. I'd never heard anybody mention it before, so I'm glad to know that it's probably not worth putting too high on my list. :) It sounds fun though, so maybe I can find a way to watch it without actually having to buy it. :)

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    1. LOL! Love what you planned to save this one for, Kellie. I have to add items like that also. It's always an annoyance when I get the order all together and suddenly it pops up saying, "add $2.21 to qualify for free shipping." It's such a little thing but rarely can you find the "right amount." *sigh* Way to tempt us, Amazon.

      Hope you can, Kellie! I found it to rent so that was really nice. Let me know what you think if/when you get a chance to see it. :)

      BTW: Been meaning to tell you - love your profile pic! May have to steal your idea for Twitter, Goodreads (are you on Goodreads?), etc. :)

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    2. Hehe! The last two orders I tried to make left me with like .62 cents left! What can you buy for under a dollar??? :D No, I'm not on Goodreads, but I've been seeing it around - what exactly is it? I'm assuming it has to do with books and we know I love anything with books. :)

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    3. Oh, wow! That would be a challenge. There's nothing for some .62 cents. Sadly.

      Goodreads is really like an on-line reader's journal where you can organize a virtual "bookshelf." You can mark what you're reading, "rate" books you've read, enter giveaways and of course, have some good book conversation. I just recently joined and am having fun with it. It's nice in the sense that it helps you keep better track of your books, but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like just another on-line profile to keep up to date. :)

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  7. Interesting...someday I'll watch it! :) Maybe. Just maybe.

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    1. Hope you enjoy... someday, Charity. :)

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  8. hey really enjoyed reading your post. thanks for sharing..

    Preview of Upcoming Bollywood Movies

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    1. Thank you for reading, Sabkon. :)

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  9. Let me see.....I enjoyed this although the acting was a bit....um...bad at times ;-) Loved the casting of Edward and Brandon and the whole flower thing was fun. I wish the plot had been better developed however

    I did record this when it is was on TV...so I should watch it again with fresh eyes

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    1. Hey, Ella! Glad to see you around, girl. :)

      Yeah, mainly the acting struggled in this one. However I liked the guy who played Brandon (don't remember Edward so much) also. What this "genre" struggles with is too much of a formulaic plot (i.e. Hallmark movies) however it's that dependability that we so love. :)

      The perfume business/plot was unique. That I remember liking.

      Hope you enjoy a second-viewing! It was cute. :)

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  10. I saw this on Amazon and was curious about it. Thanks for the review! I've seen just about all adaptations of Austen, modern or no. And yes, some are definitely better than others. This one certainly seems cute enough for a little light entertainment. I kind of had the feeling that it wouldn't be fabulous which is why I've been hesitating to buy it. I will buy some movies without watching first, but wasn't entirely sold on this one. Still, if I get a chance to rent it, seems like it wouldn't be too bad at all. Perhaps a bit like Pride and Prejudice a Latter Day Comedy. Have you seen that one? (I should probably just search your movie tags but. well. anyway. Decided to ask! :P)

    Ha! I so agree! Sokoloff does always look and act the same. Never thought about it before, but you're right! :D

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    1. My mother is big on renting before buying a movie. I agree with her, however it's these "kind" of movies I will buy - Hallmarks or direct-to-DVD movies - since rental stores don't get them and I don't use Netflix or stream. Fortunately I did find this one to rent and I was happy not to have bought it. It's cute... just not the best Austen contemporary. :)

      Yes, do see it if you ever find it, Kara. It's actually very similar to P&P: Latter-Day; the production, acting, etc. (That one was cute though I've yet to review it. Hopefully someday!) The acting is mediocre for this S&S however it's "clean" and that counts.

      Yeah, Sokoloff just always looks/acts the same. Don't know why though. :)

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  11. Oh, I like this movie... I reviewed it on my blog, too! It is rather cheesy, but it's still a delightfully fun romantic comedy!

    Very sweet and I felt Ashley and Marla played sisters well, although I did have one complaint... their little sister Margaret was not casted well. She looked too old and healthy to play the younger, helpless, sickly sister. I felt that this casting, although I do like the actress, just didn't seem to fit the part.

    All in all, as you said it is wholesome and I just fall for almost anything (as long as it is decent) that is Jane Austen related! It also has a lovely DVD cover.

    By the way, it is often played on Lifetime Movie Network!

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    1. It is a sweet movie, Net! I like that it's wholesome and family-appropriate. :)

      The casting wasn't the best. Everyone did okay however there have been other Austen contemporaries I've preferred. Nevertheless, it was adorable! Modern adaptations do tend to take liberties so that is likely why the ages may not have been quite right (or in the case of the 90's S&S, the age of Elinor is quite unbelievable - no matter how good Emma was! :D).

      So glad you liked this one (think I saw your fab review). And thanks for the LMN tip. Really appreciate it. :)

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