You probably know Jennifer Ehle as the best Elizabeth Bennet EVER in the one and only Pride and Prejudice (1995). But she has quite the frock flick resume, turning up in the 17th century through the 1940s. Plus, she does a ton of contemporary film and TV because she’s just that good. We may love her as Lizzie, but she’s certainly not been typecast by Austen!
Calypso in The Camomile Lawn (1992)
Empress Zita of Austria in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992)
Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Constance Wilde in Wilde (1997)
Valerie Sonnenschein in Sunshine (1999)
Christabel LaMotte in Possession (2002)
Myrtle Logue in The King’s Speech (2010)
Madame De Montespan in A Little Chaos (2014)
Vinnie Dickinson in A Quiet Passion (2016)
Ada Murray in The Professor and the Madman (2018, post-production)
What’s your favorite historical costume movie featuring Jennifer Ehle?
Besides Lizzie in THE BEST EVER P&P, I really loved her as Constance Wilde in Wilde and the WWII drama Paradise Road opposite Glenn Close and Madame de Montespan in A Little Chaos with Alan & Kate.
The Professor & the Madman look interesting. I’m going to have to re-watch Sonnenschein (Sunshine).
I loved her so much in The King’s Speech. There’s this moment where her character and the king, played by Colin Firth, run into each other unexpectedly, and the warmth in their smiles towards each other was just so charming. I wonder if they’re still friends after all these years? It sure seems like the chemistry was still there (I don’t mean romantic chemistry, just a sort of familiarity and affection – it really warmed my heart).
I love the scene when Mrs. Logue comes home to find the Queen in her sitting room!
Well, best Lizzie ever (the P&P hill I will die on), and in The King’s Speech her reaction to her husband’s “client” and his wife is priceless (with bonus for HBC’s “it’s ma’am as in ham, not marm as in harm”) but I have to say, I loved her in Possession. Best. Corset. Scene. Ever.
I also loved Possession. It’s another that I’ll be rewatching – not sure when as my DVD player is on the fritz and Mom & I are moving at the end of April.
That photo from The Camomile Lawn looks just like a still from an actual photo of the time. Her hair and makeup looks on point!
I am glad we’re all on the same page about her being the best Lizzie Bennet. I felt like Keira Knightly owed a lot to Jennifer Ehle—I swear her intonations were identical to JE’s on some lines. Subconsciously maybe she knew nothing could top 1995 BBC either?
P&P 1995 all the way on this blog!
Drat! Perked right up at Professor and the Madman. Fascinating story. It was one of the texts for my lexicography course in grad school. Then I saw Mel Gibson as the lead. Blergh!
I am as disappointed as you – I saw a preview for the film in the theaters (can’t find it online yet) & was SO annoyed by Gibson being in it (& apparently a producer) bec. I’ve been fascinated by this story.
Yep. My reaction too. I loved the book but why oh why cast Mel, and as someone who is supposed to be intelligent,,
I loved the earlier P&P with Elizabeth Garvie. That version was closer to the book. But Jennifer Ehle did a reasonable job. Apparently they ditched the period corsets in favour of Wonderbras!
She has a “historical” face, doesn’t she? Can’t explain it, but she always looks as though she belongs.
Tbh, she was never my Elizabeth Bennet, there’s other versions I enjoy more.
Ehle was pale and curvy, elegant and a bit too mature, she seemed to fit more as the lovely Jane, than 19/20 year old tan and skinny* Lizzie, who walked miles outside with her petticoat six inches in mud.
She was a wonderful actress though, and I also liked what little I saw of her in “The king’s speech” and “A little chaos”, so I think I’ll have to watch some of the other stuff she’s acted it.
*Elizabeth was described as having a light figure, that allowed her to run faster than her sister Jane.
Love her in everything. She has a wonderful period appearance — soft features and curves. Just watched Possession again the other night. She and Jeremy Northam are wonderful in the flashback / Victorian scenes.
Pride and Prejudice aired while my family lived in England during my dad’s master’s, and upon return to the US, my mom and I would watch bits and pieces nearly weekly when I was a kid. I used to tell people it was my “favorite movie”, and still love it beyond belief. Obviously then, Jennifer Ehle is my Lizzy, inescapably. Loooove her.
The Cammomile Lawn. Good gods, hawt! And her mother plays older Calypso!
LOVE her as Christabel LaMotte. So, so good.
I watched P and P over and over to catch every subtlety and for the sheer magic of this story. Jennifer’s interpretation is so convincing, her subtle reactions to other people so convincing that it allows you to fathom who is this Lizzy Bennett. Kiera was charming in the role but Jennifer penetrated the character so deeply. I like Kiera Knightly who is the kind of movie star who (like Jimmy Stewart and other greats) are always themselves.
But no matter how many times I watch Jennifer Ehle in P and P I am convinced I am watching Lizzy Bennett. I watch her as I would the real person to see what she reveals about herself. It is so uncanny how authentically she is Lizzy.
I think she could be the greatest actress of her generation and we do not get to see her in enough roles. I hope she does more now that her children are a little older.
Camomile Lawn was her first credit and she has a large role and is wonderful in it. She also smizes like nobody’s business, Tyra would adore her. Even in A Quiet Passion, ner eyes are dancing and/or smiling. Wish she would do much more period drama.