JANE AUSTEN | fivethreeninety

Today is 200 years since Jane Austen died.
There have been over sixty film & television adaptations of Austen’s work, so today I’m going to talk to you about a few of them. Be warned – a LOT of these are Pride & Prejudice. It’s everyone’s favourite right?

Pride & Prejudice 

BBC

1995

Dir. Simon Langton




I know we all fantasise over Colin Firth with his soggy shirt but this entire series is perfect. Jennifer Ehle is still to date my favourite Elizabeth – she is perfect st being the serenely sassy & self opinionated Bennet sister

Pride & Prejudice

Focus Features

2005

Dir. Joe Wright




While there isn’t something that makes this as endearing or beloved as the BBC series, I do love this film (all except the crappy American ending). My favourite bit about this is Rosamund Pike as Jane – by the way can we discuss that Austen purposefully created this character that was described as flawless & beautiful & incomparable & named her after herself. Invented self love. 

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Miramax Films & Universal Pictures

2003

Dir. Sharon Maguire




Aside from the obvious connection in that the hero in Helen Fielding’s 1990 book is also named Mr Darcy, this adaptation is so creatively evolved it’s quite easy to miss this even being a full reference to the beloved classic Austen book. It’s Lizzie minus the sisters, stuck in a mix between a guy who appears to be perfect & a guy she at first can’t stand. Sure the original doesn’t even with Elizabeth nearly nude standing out in the snow but it’s the same feeling.

Clueless

Paramount Pictures

1995

Dir. Amy Heckerling

You really can’t escape this nineties classic, telling the story of rich high schooler Cher & her struggles in dating, popularity & friendships. We all love it – but did you know it’s loosely based on 1815’s Emma? The storyline & characters are pretty much the same: Cher is Emma, Tai is Harriet, Josh is Mr. Knightley, & most obviously Elton is Mr. Elton. As if!

The Lizzy Bennet Diaries

Pemberley Digital 

2012

Dir. Bernie Su




I can’t quite remember how I discovered the Lizzie Bennet diaries but I do know that my sister and I were obsessed with it for quite some time. It’s a YouTube blog series that has 100 episodes on the main channel and a whole variety of different side channels with extras the story – all telling a modern adaptation of pride and prejudice. There’s a few changes Lizzie only has two sisters; one older (Jane) & one younger (Lydia); Mr Bingley becomes Bing Lee etc etc. It’s perfect. It brings such life & simplicity to the story in a gripping way through five minute videos that you can’t. stop. watching. 

I love what Jane Austen created. Proper feminist icons way before society would properly recognise them. Even now, two centuries on, her stories remain loved because they are so relatable. Her stories were about real characters that had real feelings, thoughts & opinions. 
I love her for giving those to us.

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