When Emma Thompson’s Oscar-winning version of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility opens, we meet sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who have grown up in a grand estate called Norland Park. After their father dies and their older brother evicts them, they’re forced to “downsize” to the much more humble Barton Cottage. I think most of us could learn to cope in a cottage like this, though, wouldn’t we?
Saltram House, the largest country house in Devon (U.K.), was used as the location of Norland Park. It was built in 1743 but expanded on over the generations. It has belonged to the National Trust since 1957 and is open to tourists.
When they’re forced to move into Barton Cottage, it’s difficult to deal with their reduced circumstances at first.
It’s not all bad, though. As Fanny says, “Ooh, a cottage! How charming. A little cottage is always very snug.”
Kate Winslet played the hopeless romantic Marianne in a strange curly wig.
Thompson reportedly wanted sisters Natasha and Joely Richardson to play Elinor and Marianne, but director Ang Lee insisted that Thompson play Elinor instead.
Since she was too old to play a 19-year-old girl, the character’s age was changed to 27. At the time, Thompson was 36, so it was still a stretch (as many movie critics pointed out).
I re-watched the movie again to take these screenshots and still love this version.
But of course nothing beats Jane Austen’s novel!
I read it for the first time when I was about 14 years old and loved the idea of moving a cottage like this.
Efford House is the real name of the cottage where they filmed the movie:
It’s located on the South Devon coast of England, and you can rent it for your next holiday.
Do you have a favorite Jane Austen movie? I watch the 1995 version of Persuasion when I’m up for a good cry. I pull out Emma when I want a good laugh. But Pride & Prejudice has to be my all-time favorite.
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