Family Movie Night

Dear Jane,

I wanted to drop a quick note to wish you a happy birthday. We won’t mention the year (235) or the fact you have been gone for nearly 200 years. If you are free, you are more than welcomed to stop by for some tea and cake. Just let me know what time you can make it. You need to have a discussion with the person who operates your Facebook page because your birth date is not listed.

Picture from Barnes and Noble.com

 I would love to discuss with you the current “Austenmania.” There are writers who are adding sequels to your novels, turning Darcy and Elizabeth or yourself into detectives and mashing your novels with horror genre monsters. My favorite makes you into a vampire. Plus, you get to have an affair with the most dashing man in English literature.

 Then there are the movies. So many handsome and wonderful men have been used to depict your romantic heroes. Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995) may be the most romantic version of this character. There is a scene in which he reads poetry to Marianne (not a scene from the book) that makes many of us modern women swoon.

 The BBC has put out new movie renditions of your books a few years ago and really outdid themselves. David Morrissey stars as Colonel Brandon, making me swoon in a completely different way. He was given the opportunity to duel a young man on-screen and it was wonderful.

 Colin Firth has been called the definitive Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries. He is quite delicious, especially the scene in which he swims in the lake right before meeting Elizabeth again at Pemberly (another scene not in the book). But there is a part of me that really loves Matthew MacFadyen’s version of Darcy from the 2005 movie starring Kiera Knightly as Lizzie.

Picture by Karyn Bowman

When you come for tea, I will show you the cup I found at a sale this summer that looks similar to one I saw in Persuasion (1995). Ciaràn Hinds is the good captain and I have never forgotten his looks at Anne when he thought she wasn’t looking. He uses a very similar cup during a conversation with Charles Musgrove.

 At this point of the column I usually discuss a Christmas movie to watch for the season. One of my old time favorites is A Christmas Carol (1951) starring Alastair Sims. The Sims version has a non-quantitative something about it that brings joy to the heart and thoughtfulness to the brain.

There are many versions of this story in movie form but the 1951 version is my favorite, completely suitable for all family members with just enough scary moments to remind us of the total joy of Christmas.

 It is based on a short story by Charles Dickens, a Victorian-era writer whose work seemed to constantly explore the theme of not having enough money or charitable spirit.

Picture from IMDb.com

 Another British movie set during the holidays in our modern times is Love, Actually and it stars various actors from the movies based on your books – Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Kiera Knightly.  It is a modern tale of several people discovering their way to love or through love. Liam Neeson is also in this movie and I find him quite yummy.

Please let me know if you can make it for tea. After recently re-reading Lady Susan, I suddenly realized that only Kate Winslet could play her at this time in a movie and we must discuss. If not, please let me wish you a happy birthday on the 16th.

Your sincerely devoted reader.

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