January 7, 2016

Jane Austen Adaptations :: Part 2 {Sense and Sensibility & Northanger Abbey}

Hello my lovelies! Are you ready for part two? And for more reminiscing on Awesome Austen Adaptations?? I surely hope so because here it is! (Part 1)

I should note that I forgot one of the movies for my list of Emma adaptations last time (thanks so much for the reminder, Catherine!), but instead of just editing that post and risk y'all not realizing I'd added to it, I decided to simply add it here. So! My first order of business is to mention one more Emma-based movie.

Emma {continued}

Clueless - 1995
The first time I saw this I was not an official Jane Austen fangirl yet, in fact I'm not certain I really knew who Jane was. But I did think this movie was great fun. I still do! Once I made the connection to Jane though, I loved this even more. Such a completely 90s film, filled with all the clothes, phrases, nostalgia, and cuteness you can imagine! I don't watch it often, but it never fails to make me smile. Cher and her friends (and Josh! ;) are wonderful to watch. The romance is very adorable, but the friendships are too!

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility (BBC, 1981)
Sense and Sensibility - 1981
I should confess that I skimmed through this adaptation pretty quickly the one time I watched it, so perhaps I can't say I've watched it in its entirety. But I did watch most of it! So I'm going to count it anyway. It's not a terrible adaptation, just a bit like all the other BBC period dramas from the 1970s and early 1980s, in other words dry and sort of boring. I much prefer the newer versions! And I imagine so will you. If, however, you are an avid fangirl of S&S, then it may be just what you like! :)

Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition)
Sense and Sensibility - 1995
And here we have the very first Jane Austen adaptation I ever watched! I fell in love with the costumes, Emma Thompson's hair (seriously, I love her hair in this movie!), Hugh Grant as Edward, the sweet romance between Elinor and Edward, and oh, just about everything! I do remember getting frustrated with Marianne and wishing she'd grow up a bit more the first time I watched it. But she does and all is happy. Funnily enough, I also remember that it took a bit for me to warm up to Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon, the last thing I'd seen him in was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) where he'd played the villain. But it didn't take long for him to grow on me and now I love him in this role. :) This movie made me realize my love of period dramas, not just Austen adaptations. It really is excellently made. All the actors and actresses do a wonderful job! And if you haven't watched the video of Emma Thompson's Golden Globe speech for her screenplay(which is fabulous, I might add!), then click here and enjoy!

Sense & Sensibility / Miss Austen Regrets
Sense and Sensibility - 2008
Since I love the 1995 version so well, I wasn't sure anyone could really improve on it. But I was wrong! This version is just as excellent. The actors and actresses do a superb job in their portrayals, particularly Hattie Morahan. The scene where Elinor finally tells Marianne of her secret heartache is beautiful and heart-wrenching! You should watch this version for her if nothing else. And I have to admit, Dan Stevens as Edward is quite swoonworthy. This was actually my first introduction to him and when I saw him in Downton Abbey the first time, with blond hair, it jarred me! I wasn't so keen on that color, but it grew on me. :) I really like Lucy Boynton as Margaret as well. One big thing this version has going for it is the fact that it's four hours long, which leaves ample room for lots of details. If you haven't watched this one yet, I highly recommend you do! Much as I love the 1995 version, I almost think this one has supplanted it as my very favorite. (Not quite sure on that yet though, maybe I need to go rewatch them both to check. Oh the things one must do for research purposes! ;)

From Prada to Nada
From Prada to Nada - 2011
This is a cheesy, silly, adorable, and cute little romcom that never fails to make me grin! I confess I do like the fact that Fanny Dashwood (Olivia in this case) gets her comeuppance quite nicely, even if off screen. The sweetness of this version is the relationship between the sisters. Which is an important part of S&S! The romances are adorable, don't get me wrong, but watching Nora and Mary frustrate each other, but ultimately love each other no matter what is wonderful, just like Elinor and Marianne. Things move rather quickly, since they only have an hour and a half to tell their story, but if you don't mind overlooking some insta-love bits (as any fan of romcoms has to! :), then I think you'll enjoy it.

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey (BBC)
Northanger Abbey - 1986
Okay, I really did try to watch this one from beginning to end. I did! But I just couldn't do it. It was perfectly awful! I'm sorry to say that about an Austen film, but I do not like this version at all. The music was strange, the plot was all discombobulated and weird, it just didn't work for me. I'm sure the actors and actresses did a fine job with what they had to work with and if you enjoy this version, then that's great! Unfortunately, I won't be planning to watch this ever again, not when we have another version that is fabulous!

Masterpiece Theatre: Northanger Abbey
Northanger Abbey - 2007
This one! I love this one! Having not read the book yet (I know! I have no excuse why not.), I don't know if this adaptation's tone is close to Austen's original or not, but it totally works for me. The mix of cute romcom (seriously so adorable!) and mystery and intrigue is so well done. Plus JJ Feild and Felicity Jones play off one another wonderfully! Their chemistry and adorableness are the biggest reasons why I love this film. But all the other characters are delightful too! Except for the General, of course. And Frederick. But the Allans are too cute, and I love Catherine's family! All her brothers and sisters (the three who sit and watch Henry at the end are my favorites ;) make for lots of laughs. And JJ? Oh my heart, I love his Mr. Tilney!! His smirks, his playful nature, how he falls for Catherine so unwittingly, he and Catherine being so awkward and cute around each other....like I said, I love this version! And I'm pretty sure you will too, if you haven't seen it yet. :D

And there you are! I don't think I forgot any this time around, but we'll see. :) Have you watched any of these? Tell me you love the 2007 NA as much as I!


  1. I didn't know Clueless was an Emma adaptation. I tried watching that once and couldn't get into it. I didn't finish.

    I LOVE the 2007 Northanger Abbey! SO good! Love the Tilney in that one.

    I have only seen the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. I couldn't get into the fact that Alan Rickman was the love interest. I just can't swoon over him.

    1. Kami: It is indeed! I'm sorry you didn't like it, but I do get it. I like most of the modern retellings of Austen's books that I've seen, but not everyone will. And Clueless, in particular, is definitely its own brand of cheesy that won't appeal to everyone. :)

      Yes! Isn't JJ Feild SO fun as Tilney?! I love him in this movie so much.

      I'd recommend trying the 2008 S&S, if you get the chance to watch it. The actor who plays Colonel Brandon, while not my favorite, does a good job. You may just like that one.

  2. I'm going to just say this: I don't care for any of the 70s/80s BBC adaptations of Austen's works. They're pretty painful to me. Especially Northanger Abbey, or that's my memory. I tried to forget it. ;) But I do ADORE the ITV Sense and Sensibility (huge cast improvement/acting, etc.) and I also think JJ Field's NA is darling, of course. :D

    I only recently saw Clueless, but as you say, it's really cute and From Prada to Nada is just how you describe it. Great post, Kara! :)

    1. Rissi: I could agree with that statement. Except for the '80 P&P. For some reason it still holds a special place in my heart. But all the other 70s/80s adaptations I am perfectly okay never to watch again.

      Yay for '08 S&S!!! As well as '07 NA! Both are SO, so well done. In acting and characters and setting and oh, just about everything. I love them both. :)

      Someone else who's seen From Prada to Nada! (Did I know that? I can't remember if we've talked about it before...?) But yes, it's such a cute movie, isn't it?

      Thanks, friend!

  3. I must admit: I've never seen Clueless yet... I really should though!

    My favourite S&S is quite firmly the '08 version, I just really love the main actors and the longer running time.

    I recently watched another modern S&S adaptation called Scents and Sensibility. I think it was by Hallmark or something? It was actually remarkably cute, I'd recommend it.

    Oh yes, that '80s Northanger Abbey is awful!

    1. Birdie: Clueless is pretty cute, in my opinion! If you like Emma, then it's worth seeing.

      Oh yes, the actors in '08 S&S do a fabulous job, don't they? While I do like Emma Thompson and all the rest from '95, they were all just a bit too old for their parts. And that longer running time is so wonderful! I love all the details that get the chance to be shown. :)

      I've heard of Scents and Sensibility, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I'm glad to know you liked it! I'll have to make an effort to find a copy for myself. Thanks!

      Isn't it? Before 2007, I just figured I'd never like that story. Which probably is the reason why I lacked enthusiasm for reading the book. Thank goodness for the '07 version! :)

  4. I love NA07 as much as you do! And S&S95 was my intro to Austen as well, how 'bout that?

  5. I just love this post!!! I haven't seen all these.....sigh. Just the '95 S&S and the '07 NA. BUT, I do love them both! Apparently I'm not missing anything by not watching some of the 70s-80s versions :)

    The newer S&S is something on my to-watch list. I need to put in a request from my library soon! I just have a hard time thinking I might like something other than the 95 one, though I am open to that fact :)

    1. Thanks, Courtney! :)

      Isn't the '07 NA SO fun?! And the '95 S&S is wonderful too. But I'd really recommend the '08 S&S, if you have the chance to watch it. It's quite delightful! I totally get what you mean, when you love something an awful lot, it's hard to think about it getting kicked off your favorites list by a newer version. But I promise the '08 is well worth your time. :)

      Yes, I wouldn't really bother trying any of the 70s/80s versions. Well...except for the '80 P&P, but that's just because it was the first P&P version I ever watched. So it has a special place in my heart. :) Overall though, the newer versions are better!

    2. So I picked up the 80s S&S at my DOLLAR STORE yesterday for $1!!! Woohoo! I will be giving it a try soon, so I'll come back to add my thoughts.

      And I promise I'll watch the '08 version at some point. :)

    3. You found it for $1?! That's great! And perfect, because if you don't love it you're not out a lot of money, and if you DO love it then you got a steal of a deal. Win win! :) Please do let me know what you think of it. I'm curious about how you'll react to it. I hope you enjoy!

      No worries! I obviously really love the '08 version, so I just want everyone to watch and fall in love too. :D


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