Follow TV Tropes


Funny / Sense and Sensibility

Go To

The book

  • Austen establishes this as one of the most sarcastic novels in the English language near the start with this description of John Dashwood:
    He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold hearted and selfish is to be ill-disposed.
  • Barton Cottage is found to be quite comfortable and habitable for the Dashwoods, but the Lemony Narrator finds it wanting in the essential qualities of a cottage: "The building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles."
  • Advertisement:
  • Marianne declaring that at her "time of life" her opinions on certain subjects have been fixed by experience. She's sixteen.
  • When the Misses Dashwoods first meet the Misses Steeles in the nursery at Barton Park and Lady Middleton is singing the praises of her spoiled brats.
    "And here is my sweet little Annamaria," she added, tenderly caressing a little girl of three years old, who had not made a noise for the last two minutes; "And she is always so gentle and quiet—Never was there such a quiet little thing!"
  • The exchange between Elinor and Mr. Palmer when he finds them in town.
    "I thought you were both in Devonshire," said he.
    "Did you?" replied Elinor.
    "When do you go back again?"
    "I do not know." And thus ended their discourse.
  • After Marianne's heartbreak over Willoughby, Mrs. Jennings tries to cure it by feeding her and opens up a bottle of wine that her husband had used to treat his gout. As Marianne is in bed, Elinor claims the glass for herself, feeling that "its healing powers on a disappointed heart might be as reasonably tried on herself as on her sister."
  • Advertisement:
  • Lady Middleton and Fanny Dashwood find excellent company with one another because they're both quite self-centered and insipid.
  • Fanny Dashwood is quite put out when her sisters-in-law arrive quite on time, because she'd been looking forward to complaining over the inconvenience of their being late.
  • After being talked at for a while by Robert Ferrars, Elinor placidly agrees to everything he says, "for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition."
  • Since Edward Ferrars has essentially become a Runaway Fiancé, his mother simply plans for his intended, Miss Morton, to possibly marry his brother Robert instead. The CMoF comes from John Dashwood's incredulous reaction to Elinor wondering if Miss Morton gets a say in this.
  • Robert Ferrars and his toothpick case!
  • Who is taller — Harry Dashwood or William Middleton? The world must know!
    • Lucy Steele can hardly make up her mind on this capital point.
    • Advertisement:
    • Her sister has chosen: they are both taller.
    • Meanwhile, we can infer without too much risk that Marianne Dashwood really doesn't care.
  • How did Lucy come to be married to Robert Ferrars? When appealing to him on her and Edward's behalf, "they came gradually to talk only of Robert, a subject on which he had always more to say than on any other."

The 1995 film

  • Thompson's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, which she also won for Best Adapted Screenplay; rather than give a real speech, she reads to the audience what she imagines Jane Austen might have written in her diary about attending the award ceremony. The speech is viewable on the DVD.
  • On a similar note, during an interview for his book Kingdom of Fear, a subtle and genteel author from pastoral Kentucky shared his reaction to the film.
    Hunter S. Thompson: I couldn't believe it, I was wrapped up in this ancient goddamned thing. Goddamn, I must be in a unique mood of some kind because I got completely into it.
  • Marianne takes to playing mournful songs after Mr. Dashwood's passing. Elinor asks her to play something else for their mother's sake—so Marianne switches to a different but equally melancholy tune.
    Elinor: I meant something less mournful, dearest!
  • When Elinor fails to coax Margaret out of hiding, Edward comes in and - guessing that Margaret is an avid reader (she particularly loves atlases) - starts asking for maps to confirm wildly inaccurate "facts," each inaccuracy funnier than the last. It works in getting Margaret out of hiding to berate them.
    • The way Edward figured out she was there was funny too. She hides under a couch in the library after Edward and his sister walk in, and he sees her pulling the atlas that she was reading with her. When his sister says that she plans to tear down some trees on the property to build a Grecian temple, Margaret lets out a muffled scream. Edward covers for her by going "Mmm!" in a high-pitched voice as though agreeing with Fanny's plan.
  • Sir John and Mrs. Jennings trying to guess the name and occupation of Elinor's "beau" leads to this exchange.
    Margaret: He's of no profession at all.
    Sir John: Oh, a gentleman!
  • When Willoughby disappears, Marianne throws a fit that Elinor tries to calm with a cup of tea. The scene quickly dissolves into three of the Dashwood women - Marianne (upset over her boyfriend's disappearance), the mother (upset that her daughters can't find happiness), and Margaret (upset that Edward's not coming to court Elinor) - storming off to separate parts of the house to slam doors and cry. Elinor, having no better course of action, sits down on the stairwell and sips the tea.
  • Fanny's reaction to finding out who Lucy wants to marry. Most satisfying.
  • Edward's interactions with Margaret, which endears him to Elinor:
    Edward: She is heading an expedition to China shortly. I am to go as her servant, but only on the understanding that I will be very badly treated.
    Elinor: What will your duties be?
    Edward: Sword-fighting, administering rum, and swabbing.
    Edward: What is swabbing, anyway...?
    • When he is first teaching Margaret how to sword-fight, he catches a glimpse of Elinor watching them from a window. Margaret takes advantage of his Distracted by the Sexy moment and "stabs" him in the gut, knocking him over.
  • When Brandon reveals the sort of man Willoughby truly is, he begins by relating his Back Story. It's a very serious and sober scene, but Alan Rickman manages to get in a sly bit of humor.
    "No doubt—[Beat, wry look] No doubt—you have heard from Mrs. Jennings..."
  • Mr Palmer holding his howling baby son with a rather resigned look on his face while his wife fusses over the kid, and Brandon watching dubiously.
  • Honestly, any of the Palmer interactions - Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton play off each other perfectly.
  • The Dashwoods' Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone moment, when Mrs. Dashwood, Marianne, and Margaret practically race from the room as soon as it becomes clear that Edward has broken off his engagement to Lucy (who married his brother instead) and is about to propose to Elinor, who has burst into tears.
  • Marianne is going on about how Col. Brandon is "old" and "infirm."
    Mrs. Dashwood: If Colonel Brandon is infirm, then I am at death's door.
    Elinor: It's a miracle your life has extended thus far.
  • The expression poor Mrs. Jennings' butler wears when Marianne rings for him in the middle of the night to deliver another letter to Willoughby.
  • In the film, Brandon gravely warns Elinor not to wish for Marianne to have a "closer acquaintance with the world", alluding to the tragic history of his First Love. On the commentary track, Emma Thompson utterly destroys the heartfelt and somber mood by relating in detail how Alan Rickman's horse was extremely flatulent throughout the entire scene thanks to a change of feed.
  • "I have something very important to tell you... about my education."
  • When Willoughby first brings Marianne back to the house, Elinor and Mrs Dashwood are fussing over her to get her into dry clothes. Marianne is too busy rhapsodizing over Willoughby to participate in this, and Elinor tells Marianne straighforwardly that if she doesn't change clothes she'll catch a cold.
    Marianne (with a raptuous, dramatic expression, in a sincere, romantic tone of voice): What care I for cold, when there is such a man?
    Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.
    Marianne (without changing facial expression or vocal tone one iota): You are right. Help me, Elinor.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: