Pride and Prejudice ★★★★

The scene, exactly halfway through, when Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth rejects Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy is probably the best single scene of 1995. Both actors capture all the levels Austen is working on, more so than any other adaptation I've seen. Firth's performance is justly iconic, not so much for his brooding sexuality, though there is a bit of that, this isn't Olivier in Withering Heights. It's the conflicted, awkward nature of the performance, his Darcy is a man who goes through life angry and sad at the same time, always confused, never at ease in any social setting. He's the physical embodiment of the contradiction between the rules for bourgeois social life and the very human drive to simply be a decent person.

Shoutout to Rupert Vansittart, who plays Bingley's brother-in-law (you know him as well as the boring guy who waylays Andie MacDowell in the hotel in Four Weddings and a Funeral) and spends the second half of the film passed out with drunk boredom at every social event (you can espy him in the corner of several scenes, sprawled gloriously across the furniture, mouth agape). That's who I would have been, had I lived among these people, in this time.