I truly like movies taken from Jane Austen novels and all the re-makes thereof.
Just as you are able to learn a lot about a rock artist by paying attention to the tunes he covers, you can tell a lot about a writer or director by comparing his/her re-make to a previous version or to the novel from which the screenplay was adapted.
[i]Sense and Sensibility[/i] (1995) is excellent, but it would have been average without Emma Thompson's wonderful performance which glued the production together. Gemma Jones is an ideal Mrs. Dashwood. I do like Hugh Grant, particularly his more recent work, and so I wish he'd been a little less bumbling as Edward.
[i]Pride and Prejudice [/i](1996) is also wonderful. The casting was inspired, with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth mixing it up admirably as Eliza Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. David Bamber as Mr. Collins, Susannah Harker as Jane, Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Lady Catherine, Julia Sawalha as Lydia, Alison Steadman as Mrs. Bennett and Benjamin Whitrow as Mr. Bennett all give admirable turns. Terrific ensemble acting.
[i]Bridget Jones' Diary[/i] is entertaining turn on [i]Pride and Prejudice[/i]. Again with marvelous casting (Sorry UK, Renee Zellweger did carry it off well) and the fun of having Austen hands return - Colin Firth reprises his Mr. Darcy role of [i]Pride and Prejudice[/i], Gemma Jones of [i]Sense and Sensibility[/i] as the irrepressible Mrs. Jones, and Hugh Grant, also of [i]Sense and Sensibility[/i] - adds the magic. The sequel novel is not near as good as the original, but hopefully with the strong cast returning the sequel film will be OK.
Cate Beckinsale's turn as [i]Jane Austen's Emma[/i] (1996) is serviceable, but the production is sturdy and solid and doesn't have the fun of the other Austen movies made at about this time. it is much more serious, darker than the 1996 updated [i]Emma [/i]with Gwyneth Paltrow which has more of the whimsey which is possible with an Austen production.