It’s a chilly Saturday morning. Darling Husband had to go to work. Younger Son is sitting in the corner playing video games, and I have the Christmas lights on, getting ready for this gem with an Austen-like title that has issues because of the lack of the Oxford Comma. The Sensibility is tied to the Snowmen? But the Sense isn’t? Whatever, I’m here for it. Full disclosure, as readers will know, I love, love, love Austen, and S&S is my 2nd or 3rd favorite, depending on the day. I know a lot of people find it dull, but I love it. And I’m going to go against the grain and say that the BBC/PBS one with Hattie Morahan, Dominic Cooper, and Janet McTeer is better than the Emma Thompson version. So there. But whatever, this movie is NEITHER of those, so here we go.
Two sisters, Ella and Marianne, run Dashworks Event Planning. Both sisters look to be the same age. Marianne is wearing a suit to her company’s Christmas party, while Ella is wearing reindeer ears. Already I see problems with character development. But whatever, open mind. Ella is Erin Krakow, who was in the “Father Christmas” series and in that Canadian Downton Abbey meets Little House on the Prairie show When Calls the Heart. I don’t know who Marianne is, but I want to say she’s played a sour bitch in some of these movies before. It will come to me.
Cutting to a very corporate place, and it’s Ferris Wheel Toy line, with a big deal on the line. Edward Ferris is new to his job as CEO and he doesn’t feel comfortable in his suit yet. There’s a girl with blond hair and is it Fanny (Edward’s sister?) or just some random thin girl?
Ella and Marianne are in their massively over decorated apartment. Ella wants to pitch their business for bigger events and Marianne is like woah, slow down. Again did the screenwriters READ this book? Marianne has a boyfriend named Willoughby but they apparently broke up and she’s calm about it and Ella is freaking out and already telling her to get back out there. Ella is also wearing way too much eye makeup.
At the law firm of Morton, Middleton, & Jennings, Ella is transfixed by abstract art when she meets Edward (who just said bye to someone named Brandon). Edward doesn’t get abstract art at all and they have a meet-sort-of-cute. Edward is super awkward. Brandon Williams is a lawyer who is working for them, and Marianne and Brandon have awkwardness as well so we know that they’ll get together in the end.
Alright Set Designers. I have a problem. Edward owns a toy company. They are in the most drab, glass and steal office ever. No toy company I have EVER been to (and I’ve been to several) would have this type of office. There would at least be colorful stuff on the walls! The one teddy bear on his desk will not cut it. Seriously, do some research! Edward has done all his research on getting his toys into the European market, but his dad shows up, telling him that it’s not about the research, and in order to secure the deal, he’s going to have to do things personally. And of course, because he’s a shy, awkward guy, he’s gonna need some help with that. Everyone got that?
BTW they are in Chicago and I love Chicago.
Edward just got super bad press in Chicago Weekly. He’s on the cover and the article is not flattering. I feel that’s bad writing on Chicago Weekly‘s part. Oh snap! That blond is Lucy Steele. I forgot about her in the context of being with Edward in the beforetimes. The French people for the big business deal are here, and they are the nicest French people ever, and Edward just promised to throw them a party on December 23, and Lucy is freaking out.
Ella is NOT good at party planning, y’all. She didn’t book the string quartet for a nutcracker themed party, and Marianne is super disappointed in her, and now she must make it up to her. Which means she overhears Edward and Brandon talk about Edward’s impromptu Christmas party (in 9 days!) and they have banter and it results that Edward has hired Dashworks, and he said they can charge him “whatever seems fair.” If that is how he does business, he deserves ALL that bad press.
After the break, Ella has to break the news to Marianne that they’ll be doing all the work on the Ferris party, and after a token protest, she says ok. Then Ella goes to meet with Edward, and they are still in the playfully insulting phase of their relationship, and Ella’s idea of a great party point is to have all the Ferris executives doing a choreographed dance. WHO LET THIS WOMAN BE IN THIS PROFESSION?
Cut to Marianne meeting with Brandon at his office, and they are again cute and awkward.
Ella and Edward are walking down a street sharing backstories on their way to the venue. To decide on a theme, Ella asks Edward what does Christmas mean to him. He doesn’t celebrate Christmas. He’s decided on Winter Wonderland for the theme, and Ella is very dismissive of it as it’s b-b-basic.
Back to Dashworks, they’re in some kind of warehouse that looks like a North Pole village. I think there’s a tree lighting thing going on? Edward and Brandon are there, and Edward hates it, but the Frenchies are there and so he must love it and Ella saves his butt with some Mad-Libs style assistance.
Lucy and Ella meet, and Lucy drops the fact that Edward and Lucy were prom dates. Lucy also states that they can save money on a new line of trucks if they lose 5% mobility in the wheels, and to that I say I HATE YOU LUCY, mobility is the only reason to play with a truck. Then Ella and Edward go look at catering, and Edward swallows the red macaron whole. And then Ella brings the room down by saying her parents are dead, and then she tries to make him eat snails. He doesn’t.
Edward then reaches out to ask Ella to decorate his house as the Frenchies are coming over, and he lives in spartan simplicity.
There’s a mini-sassy friend in this who is unnamed but who also says Edward is cute. Oy.
Edward lives in a white McMansion, and Ella has one box of decorations to cover the whole house. And more discussions, we find out that Edward has not ever done a focus group with children even though he owns a freaking toy company. After a throwaway scene with Brandon and Marianne who are inching towards a real date, we see that Ella and Edward’s Assistant’s son are going on an adventure (because she doesn’t have enough to do?) Edward’s Assistant is also a Sassy Friend, and her son is super adorable. Ella makes Edward take off his tie to bedeck a snowman, and then there’s some kind of snowball fight. Older Son is awake now and he rightly calls out the fake snow.
Edward has asked Ella to chaperone his dinner party with the Frenchies that is apparently being held at 2 in the afternoon. It’s a successful dinner, and Ella and Edward are celebrating with wine. Backstory on Ella is that she’s flighty, and does a lot of flitting around and doesn’t have a fixed address in Chicago yet. Ella has printed out a 1 page flyer on screenwriting in NYC, but has already stated to Edward she’s not going to do it but Marianne doesn’t know that and we are HEADING TO SAD TIMES (does it count if it is sisters in Sad Times?)
We also find out that Edward is a nationally ranked ping pong player and WTF screenwriters?
Marianne confronts Ella about that screenwriting flyer, and basically states that she doesn’t trust her sister to follow through on anything, and Ella, instead of fighting back and saying shut the hell up, just shuts the hell down, and is super disinterested in talking with Edward about seating charts on yet another walk down a Chicago street. Edward is also wearing a snazzy cap and a fitted coat and no tie. He also suggests that Ella make a business plan to show her sister her seriousness, and she says no. WHICH IS THE DUMBEST THING EVER. And he also asks her who is her ideal type of guy, which is an inappropriate workplace conversation.
Ok, question. She has shown up to get Edward to sign some checks for the Wabash center (I guess the venue?) and she says it’s the waBASH center, and I always thought it was pronounced WAH-Bash. Midwesterners, please advise.
Ella also comes around to saying yes, she needs a business plan. She’s speaking Edward’s language! And apparently Edward has already done all the power point for her, without knowing much about their business at all. And Edward has taken Ella’s advice and has gotten a focus group of children, which makes the most sense, and of course, Lucy and Edward’s dad show up and are very frowny faced about the chaos of children playing with toys at a toy company.
So many shots of downtown Chicago and the ice in the river. It’s beautiful.
Edward has gotten a meet-up with Ella and Marianne and Brandon in some kind of snow-filled gingerbread making contest. This is the dumbest thing ever. She has a major party to plan and I don’t see her doing anything for that. Edward sucks at royal icing, but they still win this stupid contest. And due to plot, they lost the venue for Edward’s party – uh oh!!! (But it wasn’t Ella’s fault, this time).
Ella’s solution is have the party at Edward’s McMansion. Because that makes sense?
Edward also grows a pair and tells dad he can do the job by himself, and they take a selfie with the camera going the wrong way. It’s dumb.
Marianne also calls Ella on her “you like Edward” feelings and Ella is like “no, whatever” and “Edward likes Lucy” and then Edward takes the Frenchies out to some kind of fake sleigh ride. And they are inching towards liking each other. Edward gives Ella a bear in a t-shirt, and he’s going to relaunch the original teddy bear from the company that he had discontinued because it hadn’t been selling well. He’s again in his snazzy cap. They take the same weird sleigh ride.
Older Son is sitting next to me, and he’s coughing like a good consumptive from a Victorian novel. I am afraid I’m going to get his cooties.
Day of the Party at Edward’s McMansion. He is wearing a plaid tie and a brown suit and it’s weird. The party looks great and I do not believe for one minute that this is his house.
But the party works its magic and the Frenchies will sign the deal in the new year! I love Ella’s dress in this scene, and Edward asks her to dance. They want to kiss each other so bad! But Edward gets kiss blocked by Lucy, who has news that she’s dating someone else, and this is not the Lucy Steele we love to hate. She is not all. But this conversation, and the brief hug he gives her as they say goodbye, is enough to send Ella, who is watching from afar, right into The Sad Times.
(She also overhears him tell someone else that his party planners are “Unsuitable” and there is some kind of backstory there but we don’t know what it is) and Edward’s freaked out but before he can smooth things over, he has to give a speech. And then Ella decides to go home and eat her feelings on the plate of cookies for Santa.
It’s Christmas morning! Ella and Marianne are are in pajamas unwrapping gifts. Edward has his parents over and they are all dressed up. Ella gives Marianne her business plan. They love each other. Edward is serving his parents deviled eggs. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! But Brandon shows up to explain why Ella is all upset, and Edward goes with Brandon to Marianne’s house so he can explain to Ella. Explanation 1 – he called his planners ‘Unsuitable’ because the guy inquiring was a dick who never paid invoices. Explanation 2 – he’s just friends with Lucy – and off they go for another walk in the fake snow to get away from eavesdropping Marianne and Brandon.
Back at the deserted Christmas market (is it deserted for reals?) and they love each other because they are so different! Awwwww. Kissing and a magical look up at the fake snow, and one more cut to the two couples in Marianne’s living room drinking cider and saying Merry Christmas. And a close up to a snowman ornament, and we’re (finally) done.
So. This is another one where it’s a perfectly reasonable story that has a very small Austen overlay. They didn’t need it. It didn’t really make any sense, other than people had Austen names. And I get why they do that, because they need the Austen fanatics to watch it, but if you’re going to do that, why did you make Marianne the sensible one, and Ella the “sensibility” one? That’s just WRONG! Why didn’t you make Lucy a bitch? She’s the actual Queen Bitch, from whom all other movie bitches are descended. So many issues, so little time. So let’s just celebrate that it was a perfectly fine movie, with limited Sad Times, and unnamed Sassy People.
So I watched Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, just so you don’t have to.