Hallmark’s Sense and Sensibility is a Visual Delight!

Hallmark Media and their popular Mahogany brand have released a new film in the ‘Loveuary’ series.  Created with a majority Black cast, this 2024 Sense and Sensibility remake is a sweet version of Jane Austen’s novel. Read on for a review of Hallmark’s Sense and Sensibility starring Deborah Ayorinde as Elinor Dashwood.

Hallmark's Sense and Sensibility Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars exchange a book
Source: Hallmark Media

Elinor Dashwood makes the promise to her father to help keep her family together but when he passes, they soon find themselves at the mercy of her stepbrother John and his detestable wife Fanny.  When John decides to take ownership of their estate, Norland Park, the Dashwood sisters move into a modest home, on a budget, with no prospects of marriage.

Elinor meets Fanny’s step-brother Edward Ferrars who is much kinder than the cruel Fanny.  Eleanor and John spend time together but when the sisters must move to Barton Cottage provided by their eccentric cousin Sir John Middleton, their budding romance seems destined for marriage.  During this time Elinor tries to keep everyone’s spirits up and her sister Marianne meets two potential suitors, Mr. Willoughby and Colonel Brandon.  

The movie generally follows the rest of Jane Austen’s novel, with the Dashwoods spending time in London. It’s revealed that Mr. Willoughby is a scoundrel, and the honorable Colonel Brandon eventually professes his love to Marianne. Edward and Elinor go through their trials with Edward becoming engaged to another woman and then being disinherited when his mother finds out. Elinor and Edward can’t remain apart for long and all romances are neatly wrapped up at the end with the scoundrels getting their just due.  

The music of Hallmark’s Sense and Sensibility is delightful, I gasped when I heard the string version of SWV’s “Weak” a song that may seem like a strong choice but is perfect when the montage of Eleanor and Edward get to know each other. The songs are very reminiscent of Netflix’s Bridgerton series and the score including a string version of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” is really lovely.

Another strong aspect of this film is the costume design.  The costumes are lush with lace and velvet with lots of vivid colors.  Costume designer Kara Saun worked to put together 68 looks in about 20 days according to her Instagram. The set design is beautiful and most aspects including the Dashwood sisters updos seem very in with the era.

One thing about this version of Sense and Sensibility is that it moves quite quickly to fit into the made-for-TV format.  The Dashwoods initially seem a bit spoiled and the beginning doesn’t give much background on the characters, but the acting is very strong and it’s a well-done Hallmark film that feels more elegant than their typical Christmas romances.  

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