Jane Austen Movies, Ranked
IMHO of course. Fight me. Or leave comments. Some I haven't rewatched in a while so I'm going on memory here.
- •Sense and Sensibility (1995, Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet version)The most pleasing film to the ears and eyes, to my opinion, thanks to Ang Lee's gorgeous direction and Emma's wonderful screenplay. And it features the ultimate romantic hero, my favourite 5-ever, Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman). Swoon. 😍
- •Emma (2009, Romola Garai)I just love this adaptation so much. Emma has always held a special place in my heart as my first JA book/film experience. While he doesn't get as much cred as Darcy, Mr. Knightley is totally a babe, esp. for Austenites with daddy issues or teacher fantasies. And Jonny Lee Miller is so great. The dynamic works because their ages seem closer to the book's pervy 16-year spread. Garai is much more winsome and naive, and less bitchy than Gwyneth. This could almost be my #1.
- •Persuasion (1995, Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds version)I feel like this adaptation is underrated, maybe bc my college roommates called it "the one with the ugly people." But really, they aren't. It's just old. From the pre-tooth-whitening and Botox era. Maybe I'm too lenient; it was made the same year as S&S. The characters are the appropriate ages, and Hinds is wonderful as passionate sea captain Wentworth. Ancillary characters are acted with flair: Sophie Thompson, Simon Russell Beale, Fiona Shaw. Also, it sticks true to the book, admirably.
- •Pride and Prejudice (1995, Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth)I feel like I might get a lot of flack for not rating this higher. I mean, empirically, it's so good. It's almost verbatim from the book, very few liberties, and so much of the acting is nonverbal. And the sexual tension is pretty fab, though I feel like Colin Firth's Darcy doesn't quite metamorphose the way I want him to in the end. (I'm pretty sure it's my Americanized view of him to blame.) And there's no kissing. But really, I mean that one freeze frame does not count.
- •Sense and Sensibility (2008, Hattie Morahan/Charity Wakefield)I loved this. Morahan and Wakefield really got the Dashwood sororal connection. And Dan Stevens made me forget all about milquetoast Hugh Grant. But they ruined Colonel Brandon! Unforgivable. The duel? I mean, come on. There were a lot of liberties taken. Still, I would not turn my nose up at a rewatch.
- •Persuasion (2007, Sally Hawkins/Rupert Penry-Jones version)Rupert Penry-Jones is SO dreamy. Let me just preface with that. While Sally Hawkins is a talented actress her crusty bangs in this like almost ruin it for me. I'm sorry to say It, but there you have it. The bangs.
- •Northanger Abbey (2007, Felicity Jones/JJ Feild)This film is probably one of the least seen, but it takes a rather flimsy story, if I may—Most of the novel seems like a metacriticism of gothic romances and mentions such pulpy classics as "The Mysteries of Udolpho" by name—and fleshes it out with the beautiful Jones and Feild, who is Colin Firth territory, IMO (did you see Austenland?!).
- •Pride and Prejudice (2005, Keira Knightley/Matthew McFadyen)Disclosure: I will turn this on whenever it's on tv. Even though I'm not fond of Keira Knightley, and the story jumps around quite a bit. McFadyen's voice is like crushed velvet. He's so moony. Judi Dench is delightful as Lady Catherine. And Fox Focus brings such a dreamy aesthetic to the familiar story.
- •Emma (1996, Gwyneth Paltrow)When I was 15 I thought this movie was the shit! Now I'm amazed the British put up with an American Emma, and Gwyneth harps on Emma's more grating characteristics (elitist, ignorant, doesn't see past the end of her nose)... But, I still enjoy it; Jeremy Northam is wonderful, Toni Collette shines as Harriet, and Alan Cumming is a welcome addition to any movie.
- •Mansfield Park (2007, Billie Piper/Blake Ritson)I haven't seen this but once, several years ago. I only really remember liking it more than #11. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- •Mansfield Park (1999, Frances O'Connor/Jonny Lee Miller)This is an artfilm, and as such it's a little up its own ass for me. Too full of itself with the fifth wall breaking? But, you know, good actors and scenery. Maybe it's where JLM got his chops for his A+ Knightley portrayal.
- •Emma (1996, Kate Beckinsale)Probably my least favorite of all that I've seen. The age difference here really did seem pervy, and I couldn't get into Mark Strong as Knightley. Forgettable, I'm sorry to say.
- •Movies I want to include:Homages, like Clueless and Austenland, but not Lost in Austen or Becoming Jane.