amy merrickliving in

living in: sense and sensibility

by amym

Sense and Sensibility is such a sparkling Austen adaptation that I kept forgetting to pause it to take movie stills for this post. The Dashwood sisters steal your heart right from the get-go, thanks in no small part to Emma Thompson’s fluid screenplay and director Ang Lee’s warmth and honesty. Sensible Elinor and flighty, impulsive Marianne are complete opposites and it’s a true testament of my fan-girlness that I mark my personality evolution in terms of Austen heroines. I started off as a die-hard Marianne but am slowly turning into a snooze-worthy rendition of Elinor.

1. Griffin Library Pillow, $295; 2. Resin Cutlery Set, $56; 3. Antique Wooden Birdcage, $2,400; 4. Cashmere Scarf, $143; 5. Beeswax Taper Candles, $11+; 6. Harrison Table, $895; 7. Frances Palmer “Summer Vase”, $895; 8. Leather Envelope, $75; 9. Wildflower Bouquet, $5; 10. Vintage Gilded Silhouette, $18

Wildflowers, English cottages, homespun linen and ironstone pitchers plus, ahem, a healthy dose of Col. Brandon make Sense and Sensibility a worthy object of aesthetic obsession. I may not have the cottage or the Colonel, but lord help me, I will pick wildflowers every chance I get (even if it means snooping in the back alleys of Brooklyn).

1. Vintage Oushak Rug, $1,795; 2. English Bird Print, $65; 3. Natural Sea Sponge, $14; 4. Iron Sconce, $34; 5. Brooks Brothers Linen Handkerchiefs, $60; 6. Natural Horn Comb, $9; 7. Vintage Ironstone Pitcher, $17; 8. Vintage Dutch Cup and Saucer, $24; 9. Hungarian Grain Sack, $48; 10. Shaker Peg Rail, $77; 11. Wooden Tabletop Mirror, $175

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  • Love it! Love it, love it, love it.

    I, too, am a big JA fan, and agree this is such a wonderful (and beautiful, inspiring) film. The color palette of the whole film is gush-worthy.

    Thank you!

  • I’m the biggest dork for this movie! You have to listen to Emma Thompson’s commentary. She’s hilarious and thoughtful and articulate.

  • Just reading my daily dose of Design Sponge, and what should appear? My blue banded ironstone pitcher! Thank you for using it to illustrate your beautiful article! (tippleandsnack.etsy.com)

  • Please delete the last one: I meant to say:
    Without spoiling the ending for those who haven’t seen it, Elinor’s scene at the end of the movie is one of my favorite all time movie scenes. Hooray for S&S, and thank you, Living In.

  • I know this movie by heart. Emma Thompson is the perfect Jane Austen heroine: tart, normative and with just that slight touch of sarcasm to save her from herself. Thanks for reminding me to play it again.

  • i love this movie… i am totally taken to another world with these women each and every time i push play.

    you captured the spirit perfectly in your picks!

  • L-O-V-E! Elinor Dashwood is my favorite JA character, and I love Emma Thompson in this movie.

  • 10 years ago, I never would have seen just how much of an Elinor I would, um, blossom into. I say, there are far worse Austen fates! Great post!

  • No way! I can’t believe how often I’ve watched a movie and then shortly after it is featured in a “living in” post. I watched this one last night. Who is following my Netflix? ;)

  • My absolute favorite movie!

    Thank you so much for choosing Sense and Sensibility for a Living In post–totally brightened up my Tuesday!!

  • Have you ever done a post about your process for putting these “living ins” together? Would be fun to learn how you curate these perfect collections.

  • This is a favorite of mine that I always enjoy. Thank you Josephine, I will listen to Emma’s comments next time I watch it. Love Frances Palmer’s Summer vase…beautiful.

  • words cannot express how much i love this movie! i’ve watched it a billion times and still get weepy at the end. at my wedding i had the string quartet play the theme song as my dad walked me down the aisle :) oh, but i wish you had included the little sheep figurine that hugh grant plays with in the last scene, that always cracks me up!

  • Can you please do a “Living In” for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?! Ferraris! Leather jackets and leopard print vests! Gummi bears!

  • One of my favorite movies ever, and you’ve captured it perfectly!! Now if only we could get away with wearing their pretty clothes on a daily basis…


  • Oh my goodness! I was at home sick yesterday watching this movie and catching up on DS and I thought “this movie would make a great Living In post…” and HERE IT IS! Awesome. :)

  • oh SIGH. How I wish I could have a small cottage where I could snuggle with my sisters and work on my silhouettes. Always right on the money, Amy.

    Now I was watching “A Star is Born” last night, and thinking, “This would make a great Living In…” Hint hint!

  • YES!! One of my all time favorite movies as well! You are right on when you describe it as “sparkling.” I’ll have to listen to the Emma Thompson commentary next time too. I love her. So smart and so funny!

  • Yay! My favorite movie of all time. I could definitely live in this movie. Big Jane Austen fan and most other Austen fans I know swear by the 6 hour Pride and Prejudice movie, but I’ve always liked this one best!

  • Genius book, wonderful movie, charming round up!
    I’d also include a huge old atlas like the one Edward has sent to Margaret.

  • oh! have you seen the 2008 bbc mini-series version? it’s even more amazing (more subtle, more rustic, just – amazing). as an austen fan – i just can’t get enough. i have this adaptation AND the 2008 and they are watched regularly!

  • Love love love this movie – it is one of my top 3 favorites. So nice to see it translated into your beautiful picks…makes me want to watch it in front of the fire tonight!

  • I so love this movie! I always wonder how you capture the great pictures from the movies you write about? They are so high quality. Can you let us in on your little secret how your lovely “living in” posts come to be?

    Thank you for making me smile today(was a shitty day till now)

  • i love it! Good inspiration for a romantic room. Takes me back to high school, reading my book and dreaming of my own Willoughby.

  • This is so special! I went through a phase where I was totally crazy about the movie (and book) and wanted to change my name to Marianne. Now I have a similar Victorian bird cage – the closest I’ll ever get to being Marianne I guess :)

  • I adore this film. And of all of Austen’s characters, I can sympathize most with Marianne. Le sigh. I wish it were Elizabeth with a little more sense.

  • Terrific…just wonderful…I love Austen’s books and this is one of my favourite movie adaptations. It is one of those movies that, if it is on television, I MUST sit and watch it.

  • I have watched this movie hundreds of times, sometimes twice or three times in a row. I am so happy other people enjoy it like I do. … I think I need to watch it again.