Thursday, 22 December 2011

Austen Week: Film Adaptations (Part Three)

In the final part of my Austen film reviews, I will be looking at the Austen inspired genre. They are a mix of films, from taking a few ideas from the novels to copying the storyline but adapting it for a modern audience. There are plenty more films, some less known, however the list below are the ones I thought would be of interest.

From Prada to Nada (2011)

This film was actually rather enjoyable. It is a romantic comedy based on Sense and Sensibility. Thankfully it doesn’t follow the novel front to back, it simply takes clues from the novel. It follows the story of two rich and spoiled sisters who have been left without a cent after their father passes. They are forced out of their home to live with their estranged Mexican aunt in East LA, an area rich in Latino culture that they have ignored their entire lives, despite the fact they have Mexican heritage. Just like in Sense and Sensibility, the sisters learn to be happy with love and family without the need for money. The only difference being, these sisters are also learning a new language and embracing their Mexican heritage. There is a great young cast including Camilla Belle, Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Wilmer Valderrama, Kuno Becker (Goal!) and April Bowlby (Drop Dead Diva).

Where to buy: Amazon.

Lost in Austen (2008)

Lost in Austen is an ITV four part series loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. it is about a girl named Amanda pride, who is from present day Hammersmith. She is obsessed with Jane Austen and somehow discovers Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom. Obviously, we would all be curious, so Amanda enter the secret doorway that Elizabeth used and finds herself in Longbourn, at the Bennet house. The series follows as Elizabeth is trapped in 21st centyr London and Amanda is doing her best to make sure the novel continues on track. Unfortunately the task for Amanda is extremely impossible as she finds she can't cope with the way they live and ends up changing large portions of the story. It is honestly an entertaining series and while it is a bit of a mess, it does turn out well it is fun to watch how a modern day girl would survive in Regency, England. For those watching Downton Abbey, Hugh Bonneville also starts as Mr Bennet.

Where to buy: Amazon.

Becoming Jane (2007)

Obviously not an adaptation of an Austen novel, Becoming Jane is a historical and popular film about Jane Austen herself. It is inspired by Austen’s life and her relationship with Thomas Lefroy.
With a brilliant cast, including Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, James McAvoy (as Thomas Lefroy), and Maggie Smith, this film did very well in the box office.
Where to buy: Available in-store or on Amazon

Bride and Prejudice (2004)

A unique adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. This is a Bollywood romantic and musical film in English, based on the novel. Some characters names have changed for the films, such as Lalita instead of Elizabeth and Jaya, Maya and Lakhi as her sisters. Mr Darcy obviously didn’t change. The story follows the same plot as the novel, with obvious adjustments. We see Lalita fall for Will Darcy, a rich and handsome American who she meets at a wedding.  As it is a Bollywood film, there are also a few dance productions. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but surprisingly it was rather good. There are some well known names, such as Alexis Bledel (Georgiana), Ashanti and Aishwarya Rai.

Where to buy: Amazon.

Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-day comedy (2003)

A bit of an odd version of Pride and Prejudice. To put it simply, it’s a film based on the Mormon culture that used the plot of Pride and Prejudice and spins it around for a modern audience. You will see the same characters, such as Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, however Elizabeth no longer has sisters, instead Jane is now simply a friend named Jane Vasquez. Elizabeth is played by Kam Heskin, who is known for her role in the Prince and Me 2 and 3. Since it’s a modern version, a lot of the script obviously had to change but all in all it is a decent light film to watch when you have nothing else.

Where to buy: Amazon.

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

An obvious choice, this film is one of my favourites. The film is said to be based on Pride and Prejudice, including the 1995 adaptation with Colin Firth - hence the reason he also plays Darcy in both. For those not familiar with the film, it is a romantic comedy based on the novel by Helen Fielding.  It follows the story of Bridget, who is single and in her thirties and constantly worrying about everything, including her weight, smoking and men. She starts to write a diary to keep track of her mistakes and attempts at fixing her problems. There is a fun little love triangle with Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver which ends up being the main part of both films.
It has a brilliant cast with Renee Zellweger (as Bridget), Colin Firth (as Mark Darcy) and Hugh Grant (as Daniel Cleaver). Simply a wonderful film to watch!

Where to buy: Available in-store or on Amazon.

Clueless (1995)

Clueless is an American comedy loosely based on Emma. Set in Beverly Hills, it follows Cher Horowitz in her attempt to do good deeds, find love and be a matchmaker. Cher is the attractive, rich and popular girl in school who lives alone with her father, just like Emma. Her matching begins with her lonely teachers who she sets up so they will give her better grades. Realizing she enjoys helping others, she starts on the path of good deeds and adopts a new girl at school in a bit to make her popular. All in all, it is a fantastic teen film that has become a classic with my generation. There is a wonderful cast, including Alicia Silverstone as Cher, Brittany Murphy, Wallace Shawn, Donald Faison and Paul Rudd.

Where to buy: Amazon.

If you have any favourites, or would love to share some others not on the list, feel free to comment below.


  1. Clueless is definitely one of my favourite movies. It's probably why Emma is my favourite Austen, and I know Paul Rudd is a big reason why I'm a Knightley girl :)

    Awesome post!

  2. =) I've seen the majority of these, but I should really check out 'Lost in Austen' and 'Becoming Jane' *ducks from the rocks thrown* Yes, yes, I haven't seen 'Becoming Jane'. I'm bad.

    ANYWAYS, I'm a new follower. CUte blog. ^.^

  3. @Claire, after your comment, I went and watched Emma and Clueless again... have to love Mr Knightley!

    @Carole Thanks for following! I think a lot of people havent seen Becoming Jane, so all if forgiven :P

  4. I haven't seen Becoming Jane too! But I have seen Clueless(one of my fave movies because of Paul Rudd. Heh.) and From Nada to Prada(which I surprisingly enjoyed as well). I also have read(not watch) Bridget Jones' Diary. I'm forgiven right? :D

    Sarah @ Smitten over Books