Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ten Favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

In honor of tonight's presentation of Emma (my review is on Slant Magazine), here is a list of ten Jane Austen adaptations I've enjoyed.

Mansfield Park (1999). Not faithful but entertaining. A good performance by Frances O'Connor as Fanny Price.

Miss Austen Regrets (2008). Not an adaptation but a biopic that focuses on one particular period of Austen's life. It's adapted from letters and Olivia Williams is excellent (as she always is) as Jane Austen.

Bride and Prejudice (2004). Not a good movie but Aishwarya Rai is in it.

Clueless (1995). This loose update of Emma is one of the great teen comedies of all time, and it's surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the book. The late Brittany Murphy is hilarious in the Harriet Smith role.

Pride and Prejudice (1940). Only enjoyable if you ignore the inauthentic costumes (the studio used cast-offs from Gone With the Wind) and the abridged silliness of this version.

Pride and Prejudice (2005). Despite a few missteps this is a beautiful and physical movie, very well-directed by Joe Wright.

Sense and Sensibility (1995). Adaptation by Emma Thompson and directed by Ang Lee. A movie people will still be watching in fifty years.

Emma (2009). The best adaptation of Emma I've seen.

Pride and Prejudice (1995). The gold standard of television Austen adaptations. Jennifer Ehle sparkles as Elizabeth Bennett.

Persuasion (1995). My desert-island Austen film. Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth and Amanda Root as Anne Elliot are both perfect in probably my favorite Austen plot.