The two Dashwood sisters are marvelously played by two young actresses: Charity Wakefield (Marianne), who kept all the freshness and impetuosity of her young years, and Hattie Monahan (Elinor), always so practical with her good sense and hidden feelings.
In this version we get to see more about Marianne and Brandon's relationship. Somehow, I think I needed to see their love growing for each other to make their ending more real, something that we do not see in Thompson’s adaptation.
While watching the first episode and when I saw for the first time Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens), I immediately saw a more handsome Hugh Grant. Same shaggy hair, the blue eyes, the hesitant and shy attitude, but with a little something more.
Dominic Cooper as Willoughby worked quite well, even if I expected to see a much more handsome actor. He clearly lacks the finesse of a Greg Wise, but in the novel he is rather young and not all that polished. The actor even manages to create a repellent and sleazy character who can only see his own interests without any care for others. But, in the end, Cooper doesn't really achieve to deliver a more passionate and even ambiguous Willoughby. The scene where he returns to talk to Marianne at the end seems forced and not really captivating...
While following the novel pretty close, this version lacks the usual Austen humor, especially the scenes with the Palmers and the Middleton's. I missed this terribly ! One of my favourite moments in Ang Lee S&S are the scenes with Mr. Palmer (Hugh Laurie).
One of my favourite aspects of this adaptation : the Dorset seacoast landscape. The scenery is beautiful and breathtaking. You cannot help to fall in love for the region.