#5 Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit
Little Dorrit is a 14-part series adaption of Dickens’ novel. Dark and humorous, I love this adaption with all my heart. I enjoyed watching every minute, especially for Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit. She captured the character’s quiet nature and innocence with every glance. She deserves high honors for the role, and her pairing with Matthew Macfayden is wonderful.
#4 Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Elizabeth Belle
Belle is one of those costume dramas I love to watch again and again. Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the role as Dido Elizabeth Belle stays imprinted in my mind. Spirited and rebellious against the rules constricting her all her life, Belle breaks from the hierarchy of a society against her because of her Indian skin color. She finds love and independence in her struggles, and watching it is a joy.
#3 Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre
Plain in beauty, Mia Wasikowska is my Jane Eyre. Forget the other adaptions. She fits the character. She binds us in her spell as she falls in love with her rugged, secretive employer, only to have her heart shatter when she realizes his lies. Mia Wasikowska evokes the character’s virtuosity. Yeah, there’s a lot of shots of her walking, but she’s even perfect in that.
#2 Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet
Maybe there’s prejudice on my part here(no pun intended), but Jennifer Ehle is Elizabeth Bennet. In the 2000s movie adaption, Keira Knightley was a lovely vision, but Jennifer Ehle pegs the character for me. Being a Janeite and having read Pride and Prejudice upwards of a dozen times, Ehle captures Lizzy’s spiritedness, independence, and strength. She’s the perfect match for Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy, not to mention she looks a little like a little like a young Meryl Streep.
#1 Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Who knew Anne Hathaway could sing so beautifully? Yeah, she sang in Ella Enchanted, but who knew she could belt out those notes and reduce an audience to tears? I remember sitting in the movie theater watching her, crying at the end of her “I Dreamed a Dream.” For that one moment, she’s on the top of this list. I can’t stress how much of a revelation she was.
And, that’s Part 1 of this mini blog series! Join me next week for Part 2, when I reveal my top five choices for costume drama actors. Check in next Friday to see who’s the tallest, darkest, and handsomest of them all.