A week or two ago I put up a post on Facebook asking my 455 friends to recommend movies they thought I might like:
I really want to add to my movie collection, but it seems like there aren’t that many made for my taste. I’m betting there are a few great ones out there I haven’t discovered yet, and maybe you have. I’ve probably already got the obvious ones, so suggest a less obvious favorite to me, please! (skip the horror/action/sci-fi stuff, and there MUST be romance or why bother)
I received a wonderful response. There had to have been at least 150 movies mentioned, some multiple times, and they’re still coming in. Many of these I had already seen and some have already earned a place in my personal library. But after eliminating these, I was still left with around 40 new leads – movies I haven’t seen before and, in many cases, had never heard of. I’ll spend the next few months happily working my way through the list, one by one. A big thank-you to everybody who contributed!
Now it’s my turn. I want to share my “favorites” list with you.
How does any of this relate to my blog’s stated twin themes: Jane Austen and writing? It’s all storytelling; only the form is different. But I did have difficulty finding a JA quote related to movies, as you might imagine. Instead, I’ve chosen a quote from one of her nieces about Jane and her way of entertaining children:
Her first charm to children was great sweetness of manner… This is what I felt in my early days, before I was old enough to be amused by her cleverness. But soon came the delight of her playful talk. She could make everything amusing to a child. Then, as I got older, when cousins came to share the entertainment, she would tell us the most delightful stories, chiefly of Fairyland, and her fairies had all characters of their own. The tale was invented, I am sure, at the moment, and was continued for two or three days, if occasion served.
I enjoy this endearing picture of Jane Austen – very real, very human – and it’s also evidence of her genius, that she was able to make up complex and entertaining stories on the fly.
Anyway, the point is that Jane loved stories and storytelling. So I’m pretty confident she would have shared the fondness most of us feel for the filmed versions as well, given the chance.
Just a couple of comments, then, before I unveil my list. 1) When I recommend a movie to someone, I often feel like I need to offer a disclaimer along with it. I like my movies pretty “clean,” and yet there are certain aspects of some of these that don’t completely qualify. Use your own judgement, of course, but I hope the value of the movie as a whole outweighs the bits that some of us might have preferred edited out. 2) It goes without saying that the many wonderful adaptations of Jane Austen’s books top my chart of favorite films to watch over and over, so I haven’t bothered to include them here.
Favorite Period Movies/Series: Anne of Green Gables, Amazing Grace, Becoming Jane, Casanova, Daniel Deronda, Gosford Park, An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest, Little Women, Miss Potter, Miss Pettigrew, Much Ado About Nothing, North and South, Phantom of the Opera, Possession, A Room with a View, Shakespeare in Love, Somewhere in Time, The Winslow Boy, Wives and Daughters.
Other Favorites: An Affair to Remember, August Rush, Circle of Friends, Dan in Real Life, Enchanted, Enchanted April, The Family Man, Father Goose, The Jane Austen Book Club, High Society, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Lake House, Letters to Juliet, Mama Mia, Meet Joe Black, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nine to Five, No Reservations, Return to Me, Roman Holiday, Shall We Dance, Sleepless in Seattle, Sliding Doors, Something New, Sound of Music, Strictly Ballroom, When Harry Met Sally, While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail.
It was difficult to narrow down the field, but these are the ones (along with my Jane Austen collection, of course) that I return to again and again – some for the romance, some for the music, and some for the laughs. Usually it’s a combination of things.
I hope you find we have a few favorites in common and a few new movies for you to try as well.