If you are like me the works of Jane Austen are an escape. In my post Love Laundry, Love Life I talked about making laundry day about pots of tea and Jane Austen movies. It’s all about combining what we love with what we loathe, right!
1. Pride and Prejudice
“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.” Elizabeth Bennet
Those words are as true today as they were then. Timeless writing!
The book is probably the easiest to read and I think I good starter book for Austen newbies. As for the movie, top of the heap is the 1996 BBC version starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. *sigh* I hate to be one of those middle age women who crush on movie actors. But come on, Colin Firth in period garb, how can you not!
Update: My Husband pointed out I was 20 years old when this came out, so actually I’ve been daydreaming about Mr. Darcy for 19 years.
The character of Anne is by far my favorite Austen character. She is not as forward in assertiveness as other characters, but very much forward in thinking. I still love the 1995 version starring Amanda Root and Cirian Hinds, despite the recent remake.
This is another long, but easy read. Although I love P&P better, I have loved Emma the longest. It was my first Jane Austen novel. The 2009 BBC mini series staring Romola Garai and
Dumbledore Michael Gambon, and Johnny Lee Miller is the one for me. Michael Gabon’s delivery of “my dear, you will never truly know fear until you have a child” always breaks my heart a little.
4. Sense and Sensibility
Although this book is missing the strong and opinionated women of most of Austen’s novels. There is something to the fortitude of these women. I don’t think they could have done better than the 2008 Sense and Sensibility. It is superbly acted. The mini-series does an excellent job of really getting the feel of the novel. The deep degradation felt by the Dashwood women is not really addressed in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. Of course
Snape’s Alan Rickmans’s portrayal of Colonel Brandon is seamless.
5. Mansfield Park
Fanny is a well loved Austen character. A true Cinderella story. However, I can not recommend a movie to coincide. The 1983 version just doesn’t get it done. Billie Piper’s portrayal in the 2007 version is too chipper for my tastes. The 1999 version offers sketch art of slaves being graphically raped. It was just too much for me and my children running in and out of the room. I watch British Period Dramas to escape the atrocities of the world.
That is my top 5 favorite Jane Austen novels and movies, but to be honest I love all of her novels! I wish I could sew. I swear I would be in regency garb every day. And oh, how I would dress up my little ones!