Historical RomComs: Best of the Best

I love Romantic Comedies. When Harry Met Sally. While You Were Sleeping. Sleepless in Seattle. Sigh. Watching them is like curling up in a warm blanket. Of course, RomComs come in all shapes and genres. My personal favorite subgenre is the Historical Romantic Comedy. The following movies come highly recommended and are even some of my favorites of all time.

1. Casanova: Starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller, Casanova is literally my favorite movie. It’s a beautiful film–full of gorgeous Venetian scenery and an equally gorgeous cast. (Natalie Dormer, my fav actress, is adorably hilarious in it as lusty, young Victoria.) The film includes sword fights, crossdressing, and a pet pig. Basically, it’s perfect.

2. Shakespeare in Love: As a romantic comedy for literature buffs, Shakespeare in Love contains the required sword fights and crossdressing which make Historical RomComs the bomb. It also has plenty of Shakespeare-worthy innuendo and the ever gorgeous Joseph Fiennes. This film will make you swoon and then make you want to watch it all over again right away. (Gosh, it is about time I rewatched it.)

3. Hysteria: The word to best describe Hysteria is adorable. You wouldn’t think a movie about the invention of the vibrator would be adorable, but it absolutely is. While there might not be sword fights or crossdressing, the movie is redeemed from this oversight by a spunky feminist heroine and bicycling. Hugh Dancy is, again, adorable as the poor, confused doctor who learns to understand women over the course of the movie. Watch this movie if you haven’t. Trust me, it’s even better than you expect it to be.

4. Mansfield Park: While not the most literal translation of Jane Austen’s novel, the film itself is wonderful. It’s romantic and a bit sexy. Fanny Price is intensely likable as a Jane Austen/Fanny hybrid, and Edmund, played by Johnny Lee Miller, is attractive in spite of being a bit of a flake. This adaptation is much better than the Billie Piper one, and it just an all around beautiful and romantic film.

5. Emma: This is the movie that introduced me to Jane Austen. The cast is absolutely perfect in their roles (you won’t find a better Mr. Elton or Mr. Knightley in any of the other adaptations). The film is hilarious and bright and sparkling in the sort of way that I think all Jane Austen adaptations should be. I like the romantic fantasy of the Regency period, and Emma (1996) definitely delivers the fantasy. I’ve watched it many, many, many times and not yet grown tired of it.


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