Well, readers, it's that time again. It's time to talk Austen. We've already established where I've failed in my Austen adaptation viewership (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, nearly every adaptation pre-1970), which leaves us with roughly 25 adaptations to rank.
I'm ready. Are you ready?
26. LOST IN AUSTEN
Directed by Dan Zeff
Jane marries Mr. Collins. Darcy ends up with someone besides Elizabeth. Gemma Arterton (an excellent casting choice for Lizzy) is barely on screen. The very attractive Elliot Cowan somehow manages to look unattractive as Darcy. I hate this movie very much. That is all.
25. SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY
Directed by Brian Brough
This movie is decidedly not great, but it does inexplicably have magic, healing lotion. I'm in favor of magic lotion that cures disease, and I would like the recipe, thank you (take that, angry thyroid!). SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY is fluffy and enjoyable, if a little bit silly.
24. FROM PRADA TO NADA
Directed by Angel Gracia
I love the idea of a Latina take on Jane Austen, but this one falls a bit flat. There are a few too many stereotypes and clichés, and the script could have used some work. Overall, it’s predictable, lighthearted rom-com fare and an okayish effort at a transcultural adaptation.
Directed by Rajshree Ojha
The production quality of AISHA is better than that of KANDUKONDAIN KANDUKONDAIN, but it lacks the spark of BRIDE AND PREJUDICE. EMMA adaptations are tricky because the main character is so hard to capture – both likeable and frustrating – and this Emma solidly falls in the frustrating category. Austen famously described Emma as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” but for me at least, AISHA takes that a little too far.
Even though I saw this movie only a couple of years ago I remember very little else about it, which is not a great argument in its favor. I think Aisha was tall? She maybe goes to the beach with her friends as some point?
22. Every Austen Adaptation Made for TV in the 70s and 80s
I have watched them all, and I can confidently say that these are ... adequate. They are extremely faithful to the original plots, sometimes at the expense of visuals, music, acting, washed hair, and cinematic timing. In short, they are a little bit dull. Of the lot, however, the 1980 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and the 1983 MANSFIELD PARK are the best.
Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence
I love Kate Beckinsale. The woman is aging backwards, and I’d consider murder to have skin like hers (maybe she has access to magic healing lotion? Discuss). BUT I do not love her as Emma Woodhouse. Where Gwyneth Paltrow manages to make Emma charming in all of her selfishness and absurdity, I just can’t like this Miss Woodhouse.
Note: This is based on my totally unanalyzed gut reaction to the film, and critics completely disagreed with me. I've tried to be objective in the rest of my rankings, but I'm probably wrong on this one. Insert shrugging emoji here.