This blog post began as tribute to the novels of Jane Austen, but quickly turned into a listing of my favorite adaptations of her novels, in no particular order.
In this post I’m going to focus on the relationship between the main characters and how it’s portrayed in the specific adaptation because the connection between romantic partners is one of the key factors that brings readers/viewers back time and again.
So, here we go.
Sense & Sensibility
This 2008 adaptation of Sense & Sensibility offers up two couples for analysis.
First there is Elinor Dashwood who is calm and sensible. Her counterpart is Edward Ferrars who is mild-mannered and kind. They both share a strong sense of honor and loyalty and this binds them.
Next, there is Marianne Dashwood (Elinor’s younger sister) who is passionate, musical and feels everything keenly. Colonel Brandon is her equal in temperament though he composes himself more readily than Marianne. They are a stellar match because they both have a passion for life and value honesty above all else.
Oh my love of Persuasion! This is the 1995 version that was perfection. Anne Eliot and Frederick Wentworth are a quietly intense couple with a previous romance cut short. Anne is an interesting mix of passivity and strong will. Frederick is determined and discerning. Neither want to be with an individual who isn’t fully committed and well balanced in sense and fairness.
In 2007 the above adaptation of Northanger Abbey was created. The frivolity and overactive imagination of Catherine Morland and the sharp-witted teasing of Henry Tilney make this Austen couple a dynamic and entertaining pair. Each shares a sweetness of temperament that brings them together.
In this 2007 BBC version of Emma, Emma Woodhouse is witty, charming and a fanciful romantic. George Knightley is good-humored, presenting his opinions firmly and fairly.
The connection and friendship between the two is nicely presented. Emma’s enthusiasm and good intentions correlate nicely with Knightley’s even-tempered generosity.
Pride & Prejudice
BBC did a fantastic job in 1995 with this miniseries version of Pride & Prejudice. It is without a doubt the best version ever done. Elizabeth Bennet is opinionated and fiery, while Fitzwilliam Darcy is reserved and dutiful. Their interactions cause sparks to fly as they challenge each other to be better people.
In short, each character is unique and when paired with one another they are highly complementary, creating a strong match, making a meeting of the minds in a romance that stands the test of time.