Sense and Sensibility revolves around sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, the daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and a spineless older half-brother named John. After their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and his selfish self-centred wife who makes it clear the Dashwood women are not welcome in their home anymore. The family moves to live in a cottage on a distant relative's property, where both Elinor and Marianne experience both romance and heartbreak.
Let’s look at Elinor. Elinor is the eldest of our heroines, not quiet a pretty as Marianne, but surely looks on life with much more sense. Elinor is easy to like, she is caring, yet keeps most of her feelings to herself.
Who played Elinor Dashwood?
In 1971 the role of the elder Dashwood sister was played by Joanna David (who in 1995 played Mrs. Gardiner in Pride and & Prejudice). I haven't seen this adaptation of S&S and I read somewhere it is hard to get a copy. That doesn't mean I'm not going to look for it.
The BBC released a second adaptation of Sense and Sensibility in 1981 with Irene Richard in the role of Elinor. I enjoy Irene’s portrayal of Elinor, she is believable as a nineteen year old Elinor.
Emma Thompson stepped into the role of nineteen year old Elinor in the 1995 version of S&S. Now don’t get me wrong I like Emma as an actress, and she even played the role well, okay she won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. But there was something missing for me with this one.
Hattie Morahan reprised the role Elinor Dashwood in the 2008 BBC series of S&S. I haven’t seen this series, but I am going to get it to watch.
Elinor for me is the sort of heroine you want to champion for, you feel her pain when Miss Lucy Steel tells her about the secret engagement with Edward. Then when it all works out, you sigh happily.