Jane Austen Movies: Queen of British Romance

Thursday, September 22 by Shawn Lealos

Jane Austen movies are like chocolate for women and grueling trips into quicksand for men. Of all her stories, “Pride and Prejuduce” has enjoyed the most adaptations, including a long BBC TV movie, a theatrical release with Keira Knightley, a Bollywood version with Sayid from “Lost” and, soon, a version with zombies. Maybe that last one will finally give the guys in the audience something to cheer for.

“Pride and Prejudice” – The original BBC TV version of this Jane Austen movie is the one that remains the most iconic. If you listen to any fan of the movie, they might tell you that Colin Firth is the only real “Mr. Darcy.” Most guys have no idea what they are talking about. Mr. Darcy is the stuffy aristocrat who slowly falls in love with the independently spirited Elizabeth Bennet and this movie, clocking in at five hours tells the entire story.

“Sense and Sensibility” – Before he won an Oscar for telling the story of two Cowboys in love, Ang Lee directed this Jane Austen movie. The movie features an all-star British cast, including Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman and, if Hans Gruber is in it, it can’t be all bad. When a man dies, his estate goes to his first son, leaving his three daughters and second wife homeless. This is their story.

“Emma” – While those first two movies are dramas, this Jane Austen movie takes a much lighter tone as Gwyneth Paltrow gives life to Emma, a girl who prides herself to be a matchmaker. The movie is a look at what happens when a person decides they know what is best for everyone around them, but is constantly wrong. It is funnier than the previous movies but turned into something truly classic in the next movie on this list.

“Clueless” – Yes, “Clueless” is a Jane Austen movie and is, in fact, based on “Emma.” Alicia Silverstone stars as Cher, the Emma character in this movie, as she spends all her time playing matchmaker and dressing up in the trendiest clothes. The movie also featured early breakout performances by Brittany Murphy Paul Rudd, Jeremy Sisto and Breckin Meyer. Yeah, it’s an Alicia Silverston movie based on a Jane Austen novel but it is harmless compared to other movies on this list.

“Becoming Jane” – When you have as many movies based on your work as she does, it is not a surprise to find a Jane Austen movie based on the life of the woman. Anne Hathaway stars as Jane Austen, showing her life before she became famous as well as events in her own personal life that led to the creation of the female characters in her books. James McAvoy stars as the men she falls in love with.

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