While I was watching this movie though, I had an epiphany that Elinor Dashwood is perhaps Austen's best heroine. Allow me to elaborate on "best." I'm not saying she's everyone's favorite or that she is most wonderful, moral, relateable, anything. By "best" I mean that she strikes me as the summation of the best attributes included in the other Austen heroines. She is incredibly strong and unwilling to be cowed but not in the way that Lizzie's stubbornness and temper becomes rude and divisive. Elinor is patient and allows things to develop in their time but not the way Anne's retiring nature becomes debilitating. She is moral and modest but not as insufferable as Fanny's prudishness. She loves her family, despite their idiosyncrasies and cares for the welfare of her friends, without becoming meddling like Emma. Elinor endures the meanness of her in-laws and friends. She is practical. She admires Edward all the more because he does what is right and honorable, even if it means he will be lost to her forever. She is the best and brightest of all Austen's women. Maybe this makes her the most annoying, too perfect, but I have to say, I find her incredibly human, not a Mary-Sue. She is the Austen heroine I want to be.
But I still want Henry Tilney.