Saturday, May 25, 2013

10 Best Jane Austen Films for a Rainy Afternoon

It's summer, and we all want to be outside frolicking in the sun. But sometimes the weather disappoints and we have to spend Saturdays cooped up in our flats watching TV.

That's a perfect time to watch some Jane Austen films. These days there are so many of them that you can easily fill several rainy days. Here is my top ten list in no particular order.

#10 Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Where DID you get that dress, my dear? It looks so modern!

What can I say? Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy. Many liberties taken with the plot. Fashions that are at least 20 years ahead of the time. This movie is a delight and my own personal Jane Austen guilty pleasure. It's difficult not to enjoy it, if only ironically.

#9 Clueless (1995)

Sometimes I feel like my life resembles a teen movie based on a classic novel.

This is by far my favorite adaptation of Emma. Alicia Silverstone's ditzy and spoiled Cher is our stand-in for Emma Woodhouse who takes the clueless Tai Frasier (Miss Smith) under her wing and teacher her the ropes at their Beverly Hills high school. Misunderstandings and a good deal of '90s fashions are in abundance.  

#8 Miss Austen Regrets (2007)

"Dinosaurs vs. Zombies"...Ah, this shall be my best work yet!

This is a BBC drama based on the last few years of Jane Austen's life. Though as far as biopics go, many people prefer Becoming Jane (2007), a more Hollywoodized narrative of Austen's life, I still think that BBC tells a better story. There are laughs and tears, regrets and bitterness, but it is also very touching. It is a story of an ordinary life of a woman that captured the imagination of millions over the past two centuries.      

#7 Sense and Sensibility (2008)

Oh God, I think I might be this generation's Hugh Grant. 

Though my first love will always be Ang Lee's adaptation, who can resist the charm of Dan Stevens before he became known as Mathew Crawley of Downton Abbey. The cinematography is quite beautiful and there are enough views of a cottage by the sea with waves crashing on the rocky shore to satisfy even the most demanding romantic.    

#6 Pride and Prejudice (1995)

You ever notice how whenever there's a Jane Austen list, we're always in it?

When you're feeling crummy and nothing can cheer you up, just pop in this 1995 mini-series and dive into the world of Lizzie Bennet's sparkling wit, Mr. Collins's slimy advances, Mrs. Bennet's hysterics and Mr. Darcy's wet shirt. Nothing can soothe the soul quite like this series.  

#5 Persuasion (1995)

Come on, guys, somebody say something. This is getting really awkward.   
I couldn't decide between the 1995 version and the more recent adaptation with Sally Hawkins, but finally decided that I like this one more. The 2007 is definitely worth seeing, but I think I prefer the one with Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds. When Lady Dalrymple says, "More air than one often sees in Bath. Irish, I dare say," she is definitely talking about Ciarán Hinds. No one has more on-screen charm and charisma than he.  

#4 Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

Well, imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery.  

This is a bit of a cheat, since technically this is not an adaptation, strictly speaking. Yet it is a truth universally acknowledged  that Bridget Jones's Diary was based on Pride and Prejudice. The love interest is called Mark DARCY. And he is played by THE Darcy - Colin Firth.    

#3 Northanger Abbey (1986)

I dream of a world that has a better adaptation of Northanger Abbey.

I kept going back and forth between 2007 and 1986 adaptation. I love them both. But for different reasons. I finally settled on the 1986 version simply because of its entertainment value. This made-for-TV film is pure '80s delight. It's got it all - terrible overacting, garish costumes and makeup, numerous gothic 'dream sequences' (which for some reason were included in the more recent adaptation); and a leading man Henry Tilney (Peter Firth) who looks more like a Bond villain than a character out of a Jane Austen novel. Yes, pure, unadulterated fun!    

#2 Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Seriously, it's like rule 34. If it exists, there is a Bollywood version of it.  
Aaaaah! I love Bollywood movies. And I love Pride and Prejudice. So this film is perfect. It's got the familiar story and characters, but they are dropped in a new setting. Many random musical numbers ensue. Fun is guaranteed.      

#1 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012-2013)

Mr Darcy, I think you're a hipster.
I've absolutely fell in love with this online project by Hank Green and Bernie Su with Ashley Clements as our social media age Lizzie. The story is told through a series of vlogs, narrated by Lizzie and her nearest and dearest. It's a really fun spin on the old story told through modern media.

Do you have a favorite rainy day Austen adaptation?  


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