Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters; pragmatic Elinor (Emma Thompson) and passionate, willful Mariann (Kate Winslet). When their father, Henry Dashwood, dies, by law his estate must pass to the eldest son from his first marriage.
Suddenly homeless and impoverished, his current wife and daughters find themselves living in a simple country cottage. The two sisters are soon accepted into their new society. Mariann becomes swept up in a passionate love affair with the dashing Willoughby (Greg Wise), while Elinor struggles to keep a tight reign on the family purse strings and to keep her feelings for Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), whom she left behind, hidden from her family.
Despite their different personalities, they both experience great sorrow in their affairs, but they learn to mix sense with sensibility in a society that is obsessed with both financial and social status.