Last night I watched yet another movie adaptation of a Jane Austen novel.... Sense & Sensibility. I have decided a Jane Austen round-up is in order.
The top 3:
1. The A&E Pride & Prejudice. Raise your hand if you have not seen this classic. Now hang your head in shame for all that wasted enjoyment. It, I dare to say, will always be my favorite. Two reasons: Colin. Firth. I kid, I kid. But he is a pretty awesome Darcy, people. And Jennifer Ehrle IS Elizabeth Bennet. Also, this is a 9 hour extravaganza, yet it flies by in normal movie time. It is wonderful.
2. Emma Thompson's Sense & Sensibility. Oh Emma... you wrote the screenplay, you starred, your teeth are delightfully crooked.... you are my hero. And you fall in love with Hugh Grant. Who plays the awkwardly handsome romantic hero better than Hugh? The painful silences in this film are exquisite. The sets and costumes are lush. The crying scene at the end is hysterical. ....sigh....
3. Persuasion. God, I just love this novel. Maybe because the story hits a little closer to home: the heroine a little past the blush of youth, and just as she becomes convinced that love has come into her life and passed her by.......BAM! Happy ending! Ciaran Hinds.... wonderful. I love that both of the romantic leads in this are a little older and guarded, a little worn around the edges, but absolutely incandescent with love by the end.
The second tier:
How often does one find a movie list with a second tier of this caliber? Blame it on the incredible material!
1. First up on the "second tier": a more recent adaptation of P&P. I swore I would not like this. How could Kiera Knightly and Matthew McFayden possibly replace my beloved Colin and Jennifer? They couldn't, but the movie is pretty great anyway, putting a less refined polish on the crew and charming me all the while. The parents are played by Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn and this film really gives you a sense that though Mrs. Bennet is a silly silly woman, there is a lot to love about her. The ending is Hollywood insanity, but the next to last scene, when the lovers are united....is breathtaking. Also, watch the director commentary, if that sort of stuff makes your skirt fly up, like it does mine.
2. Gweneyth Paltrow's Emma. What a great film. Emma is the Austen heroine with whom I am least enamoured, but Gweneyth makes her so darn charming... and when Jeremy Northam sets her straight.....ooooooo it's good.
3. I just caught this BBC Sense & Sensibility and was super impressed with it. I think the two primary sisters are really lovely, especially the eldest. Also the Lucy Steele and her sister are perfectly, sweetly, vile.
Two to note:
I am tired of talking. But these are good and you should see them too. If you know of others I need to see, let me know!
Please Comment: Which Jane Austen character do you most identify with?