Alan Rickman's Best 'Sense And Sensibility' Scene Will Make You Feel Too Much All At Once — VIDEO
The passing of Alan Rickman is a heartbreak that will linger for some time. For many fans, he will always be Severus Snape, and, for others, he will be the man who played bad guys so good they became unforgettable. For me, Rickman will always be Sense and Sensibility 's Colonel Brandon. Dashing, reserved, and deeply respectful of the women in his life, Colonel Brandon was the romantic hero of my childhood, and the origins of my love for him can be narrowed down even further to Rickman's performance one Sense and Sensibility scene every fan needs to rewatch.
Throughout the movie, Rickman's Colonel Brandon pines for Marianne (Kate Winslet). He stands back as she falls deeper and deeper in love with the charming, but deceptive Willoughby, but he continues to watch out for her from a distance. When Willoughby forces Colonel Brandon's hand with his bad deeds, the Colonel finally, reluctantly confesses to Marianne's sister Elinor (played by the film's screenwriter Emma Thompson, Rickman's dear friend) that Willoughby has not only broken Marianne's heart, but he has also left the Colonel's surrogate daughter pregnant and alone. It is a piece of subtle, perfect acting.
Colonel Brandon does not rage against Willoughby. He does not raise his voice at all. In fact, he is deeply apologetic about having to tell Elinor any of this because he does not want to break Marianne's heart any further. Rickman is so poised in this scene. He balances restraint with yearning like a pro, conveying a deep amount of regret for being the bearer of such wretched news. He puts Colonel Brandon's unwavering sense of fairness on full display as he admits that, despite all of Willoughby's faults, he believes Willoughby truly loved Marianne. After all the pain Willoughby has caused, Colonel Brandon can still see good in him for the sake of Marianne. How many actors could make generosity of that level feel authentic? I can only think of one.
This may seem like a small moment in the grand scheme of things, but Rickman imbues the Colonel with so much dignity and so much longing, it never fails to remind me of what a consummate performer he was. As the smitten Colonel Brandon, Rickman became a romantic leading man who could make your heart beat faster with every honorable line he delivered with quiet passion. In Rickman's hands, yearning became the highest art-form, and, in this scene in which he strips himself bare in front of Thompson, the longing his character feels becomes palpable. He conveys his love for Marianne more through what he doesn't say than what he does.
Watching Sense and Sensibility will be bittersweet from now on knowing my sweet Colonel is no longer in this world. Rickman may have started out as a professional bad guy, but he went on to play characters as varied and wonderful as he was. Colonel Brandon will always be at the top of the list for me in large part because this one scene made me feel so much. Rickman has left a legacy behind him of characters who did very bad things, characters who found redemption, and Colonel Brandon, a character who showcased every nuance and capacity for kindness that epitomized who Rickman was as a performer. But though he may be gone, Rickman and Colonel Brandon will always be in my heart.
Image: Columbia Pictures; Giphy