clueless

Amy Heckerling directs this sassy Emma-inspired satire on American teen culture. Her smart script inspired a cult following and a slew of new expressions. Here the “hymenally challenged” Cher delivers such gems (with the perfect L.A. whine, of course) as “I’m surfing the crimson tide” or “That is so five years ago.” [us, 1995]

emma

Gwyneth Paltrow is note-perfect as the delightful, scheming heroine of this frothy Victorian era classic penned by Jane Austen. Emma’s life consists of cheerily orchestrating the amorous dalliances of her small circle of friends until her own heart is eventually captured by the most handsome cousin on the block. It’s a whole lot of airy chit chat and fluffy romantic intrigue, a comedy of manners about nothing much at all… charming wouldn’t you say? [us/uk, 1996]

sense and sensibility

This witty adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel won Emma Thompson, who also stars in the film, a screenwriting Oscar®. The story of two sisters with meager dowrys who balance love, romance, and propriety in the English countryside. Thompson and Kate Winslet are perfect foils as sense and sensibility, and since it’s Austen, there are misunderstandings, humor, seeming tragedy, all wrapped up with a happy ending. Ang Lee directs. [uk/us, 1995

pride and prejudice

Keira Knightly’s overly kohl-lined eyes are a bit distracting, but she has all the spark and feistiness required to play Lizzie Bennett in this adaptation of Austen’s novel. (On the other hand, we really prefer to see Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy from the BBC version.) The supporting cast is excellent, including Dame Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, and Brenda Blethyn. An entertaining version of the classic tale of 5 talented sisters who due to inheritance laws are to be left penniless, and therefore, must be concerned with making a good match. [uk, 2005]