Chick Flicks: Jane Austen carnival

My Chick Flicks guide will never end... ;-)  And now there is more, turning to the topic of Jane Austen.

I recently did a post on period film Chick Flicks, but purposely left out Jane Austen to cover lesser known period films, but I can't neglect Jane entirely.  In fact, this entire post is devoted to her.

I admit to having seen almost every Jane Austen film at least once.  A few of my favorites and highlights.

My favorite Jane Austen film adaptations: 
These three films have been criticized for being unfaithful to the books - the most interpretive, and highly stylized, rather than a naturalistic faithful retelling.  And what can I say? I like that.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)
When I saw this in the theater I enjoyed it, but it wasn't until my second viewing that I loved it and could really appreciate it. I love the way this movie evokes emotions.  It doesn't just tell a story, but it visually frames it with vivid, beautiful impressionistic settings and scenes.  If you sit back and really watch this movie, everything about it is so intentional. The film does not tell us what Elizabeth is feeling in words, but makes us feel it from what we see.  And it is a deeply emotional movie.  Maybe that's why I love it.  While some find fault with Keira Knightley, I will say I think she's beautiful in a unique way - but the little fringe of short hair peeking out from her wig never fails to annoy me.

Emma (1996)
Light. Sophisticated.  Archly witty.  And oh so very pretty.  That's why I love this version of Emma.  This has a stylized feel to it, Regency, and yet a little bit staged - unlike BBC versions of Jane Austen that are so naturalistic and realistic.  The settings, the colors, the clothes are all amazing.  Brilliant casting. And Gwyneth Paltrow does a great job at both the accent and bringing a sort of naive snobbishness to her Emma.

Mansfield Park (1999)
I haven't seen this one in awhile, but I find it to be spirited, fun, and witty.  I can't help but root for Fanny.  It has a terrific cast and a modern sensibility.  My only gripe - while Frances O'Connor did an excellent job at being Fanny, at times she seems to old for the part.  Is it wrong of me to say so?

Recently the BBC did fresh film adaptations of all the Jane Austen novels, so if you're a fan, you must check them out - although I will confess, the only one I really liked was Emma (2009) starring Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller.

There have also been interesting movies made about Miss Jane herself.  Although these are quite often fictionally embellished, here are two beautifully bittersweet Jane Austen biographical films I enjoyed:

Miss Austen Regrets
I think Olivia Williams is amazing as Jane - there is such intelligence and sadness in her eyes. This is a lovely, delicate, bittersweet, mature film.

Becoming Jane
Aargh.  This movie really got me.  I so didn't want it to end the way it did.  Happy ending lovers, avoid this.  But I think Anne Hathaway did an amazing job ripping my guts out, along with the charming James McAvoy.  And it's a moving fictional account of how "Jane" became "Jane Austen".

And modern twists on Jane Austen:

This modern spin on Emma is the perfect movie when you're in a light, pop, throwback sort of mood.

Bridget Jones's Diary
I can't say I like what they've done to Elizabeth Bennett here, turning her into the neurotic, dieting, alchoholic, ciggie-smoking, bad-boy loving and always-challenged Bridget.  But how can you not love a movie that opens with cheesy Christmas sweaters - or jumpers as they call them in England?  Seriously. And Hugh Grant as the bad boy?  Brilliant.

The Jane Austen Book Club
This is one of those ensemble-cast films with many small stories intertwining - all connected, of course, by the Jane Austen book club. (Btw, did I mention I saw Emily Blunt and John Krasinski in the plane when we flew to LA?  Of course, my husband was like "Oh it's that guy from The Office", but I'm thinking OMG, it's "Young Victoria"!)

And just for fun Jane Austen blogs! Sometimes its nice to know you're not alone in your love of the Jane...
The Jane Austen film club 
My Jane Austen book club
Jane Austen's world
Jane Austen in Vermont
Jane Austen today
Austen Pride

So here's my question... WHICH Jane Austen book would you love to see made as a film again and why?  Anyone you'd love to see in the lead roles?

And if you have any absolutely favorite Jane Austen blogs or spin-offs, please do share!


  1. Oh my... this is a wonderful post, thank you for the all the list of movies! I simply adore chick flicks, specially period ones... wow I will make sure to watch all of the ones I haven't watched yet... how fun!

    I am following you, come visit sometime!

  2. This post is great. It definitely makes me want to go read some Jane Austen, or at least watch a few of the movies!

  3. Yeah! I love your Chick Flick guides. Oh... Becoming Jane is one of my favorite movies. It made me officially fall in love with Jane Austen and all that she wrote.

  4. Did you see Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds? I think that's my favorite.

  5. I think Mansfield Park deserves a far shot. I am not wild about any of the versions so far, and I think the novel is greatly misunderstood and under-appreciated.

    Thanks for the lovely post and your great blog.