But perhaps the greatest proof is the never-ending stream of Jane Austen remakes and romantic comedies. Here are five favorites.
5 favorite Jane Austen-inspired romantic comedies
In this 1995 movie, Jane Austen’s Emma is re-imagined for 1990s Beverly Hills, with high schooler Cher (Alicia Silverstone) standing in for Emma Woodhouse. The movie sticks awfully close to Austen’s plot: Cher is a devoted matchmaker (she sets up her teachers, she sets up her friends, she sets up new girl Harriet Smith, dubbed Tai in this Valley Girl setting). She’s also obsessed with fashion and dotes on her daddy.
And of course, Emma–er, Cher– finds love of her own, it doesn’t go according to plan. (Watch it free on Amazon Prime. If you’re not a member, start a free trial here.)
Nora Ephron’s 1998 remake of the 1940s classic Shop Around the Corner also incorporates major themes from Pride and Prejudice. Hanks and Ryan are quippy (and barbed) enough to make Elizabeth and Darcy proud, and the book itself makes it into several email messages and strategically appears in a key scene. The remake is better than the Jimmy Stewart/Margaret Sullavan original.
Elizabeth Darcy is re-imagined as a thirtysomething single Brit in this 2001 hit, based on Helen Fielding’s book of the same name. This film is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, though the love triangle (that pulls in Hugh Grant) hews awfully close to Austen’s story. Renée Zellweger stars as Bridget, and Colin Firth was asked to play Mark Darcy solely based on his appearance in the 1995 BBS edition of Pride and Prejudice (and specifically, for the lake scene).
Serious Bridget Jones fans know Fielding’s much-anticipated new installment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, just came out on October 15.
Pride and Prejudice becomes a Bollywood musical in this 2004 adaptation. Lizzie Bennett becomes Lalita Bakshirich, the second of four daughters in a country town in India, who falls–though not at first, of course–for the rich American hotel heir William Darcy.
I put off watching this one for years because I thought it sounded silly. I’m sorry I did: it’s so much fun.
Hank Green turned Pride and Prejudice into a web series in this most recent adaptation. The story is completely updated for the 21st century, maintaining the emotional strength of the original while making it believable for today. (I couldn’t imagine how they’d handle Lydia’s elopement. I was shocked at what they came up with, but I gotta admit–it worked.)
The story unfolds four-ish minutes at a time, in one hundred YouTube installments. Proof of its success: its recent Kickstarter campaign raised nearly 800% of its stated goal.
What’s your favorite Jane Austen-inspired rom com? Are there any good ones I didn’t include here?