A little funny, a bit sad, an all-around entertaining, it’s quite easy to see why director Ang Lee and screenwriter/star Emma Thompson’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel earned such a loyal following, especially among critics and Academy members. Thompson and Kate Winslet play sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who are perpetually unlucky in love. Passionate, romantic Marianne, admired from afar by the older Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) is hung up on the dashing John Willoughby (Greg Wise); and the quiet, reserved Elinor’s heart belongs to one Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), the brother of her bitchy sister-in-law. Thompson does some nice subtle work, as does Rickman, but it is versatile SAG Award-winner Winslet who steals the show; her spirited, spunky performance couldn’t be more different from her dark, scary work in Peter Jackson’s disturbing Heavenly Creatures. Faring the worst is Grant, who is just plain bad. Appearing uncomfortable in his period garb, he is laughably stiff, ruinously so; one wonders why Elinor would fall for someone so robotic. But even Grant’s uninspired work can’t ruin the agreeable, overwhelming atmosphere of fun and romance.