Austenland – A Delightful, Hilarious Submersion into the World of Jane Austen: Movie and Book Review
I’m going to let you all in on a little secret (an embarrassing secret). For the last two weeks I’ve developed a new (teeny-tiny obsession) I will name Austenland. It started with boredom. I wanted to watch a movie. Something, cute, sweet, simple and in which didn’t require to much thinking. Then I stumbled upon Austenland.
It’s adorable, tender and simply put, absolutely ridiculous (insert British accent here). I’m not going to claim that it’s a masterpiece, but rather it fulfilled my desire for a little bit of romance, a splash of over-the-top comedy, some sexy British accents and total submersion into the very prim and proper regency era.
So what’s it about? I’ll start by strictly referring to the movie, and will afterwards mention the book (which I have also read and enjoying immensely).
Jane (played by Keri Russell) is obsessed with Jane Austen’s novels, or more specifically speaking, she is obsessed with Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Even more specific than that, the obsession really stems down to Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Mini Series, Pride and Prejudice. Jane is in her 30’s and is stuck with this fantasy of Mr. Darcy. As a result, she has had many failed relationships and finds herself longing for that perfect, happily-ever-after romance. She decides to spends her life savings on Austenland, a truly Austen Experience where the Regency Era comes to life through costume and the rules of etiquette and society at the time. There is promise of romance, and the whole ordeal ends with a ball. There are, of course, paid actors in the mix that are there to please the guests, and make their fantasies become reality. So off Jane goes to Austenland, but the lines between fiction and reality become very blurred as she tries to sort the two.
So what I loved about the Movie
The Soundtrack to this movie is really cute, sweet, and fits perfectly with the film. Some of the moments where the music comes in, really adds to the scene. I liked it so much, I bought the soundtrack (I really am becoming more and more like Jane).
Alright, I see quite a bit of myself in Jane. When I like something, I really like it to the point of borderline obsession. I mean, come on, let’s be honest, this blog is littered with obsession, whether it be Korean Drama reviews, actors or movies. If I had the opportunity to experience something like Austenland, I would probably jump at the chance. Perhaps not specifically an Austen Experience, but to cosplay a character I love from something I’ve watched, and live the experience myself, that is very tempting.
The Love Triangle
What is a good Rom Com without a love triangle? This one is especially alluring because both men are attractive and charming in their own sort of way. Also, as viewer, I felt the same way Jane did, unable to decipher fiction from reality. This kept me guessing who she would end up with.
Alright – Breathe. Mr. Nobley (played by JJ Feild) is the equivalent to Mr. Darcy. He has the same temperament and personality traits. But he’s an actor. Where is the line drawn between actor and person? Jane and Nobley have some deliciously tense banter similar to Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. They are constantly challenging each other.
Mixed in with Nobley’s insufferable personally, is a very considerate gentleman with a cute, half-turned sincere smile and eyes intensely always watching Jane. He is mysterious, handsome and yummy, if I dare say.
A few of my favorite moments
Without giving out the movies outcome, I want to highlight a few moments in the movie I thought were really great.
Mr. Nobley comes to Jane’s rescue in the rain
Okay, I think this might seriously be my favorite moment in the entire movie. She’s stranded in the rain, and here he comes like a Knight in Shining Armor. He rips apart her dress so she can properly ride the horse, scoots her forward and off they go. The whole scene is very scrumptious. The end of the scene is pretty hilarious as she walks away with her britches exposed.
Jane and Martin and their daytime date
Martin (played by Brett McKenzie) makes Jane feel normal in this fabricated Jane Austen world. They spend the day together, laughing, enjoying each other’s company and kissing. He may not be Mr. Darcy, but he feels real. He’s also funny and charming in a rugged way with a very sexy accent.
Jane Decides to step up her game and seize her own destiny
So Jane sort of got gypped with the whole vacation. She finds out she bought the cheapest package and is treated like lower class. She decides to take control of the situation and not let this keep her down or stop her chances of finding love.
Mr. Nobley and Jane in the garden
Jane and Nobley have a little chat about what is enjoyable in Austenland. Nr. Nobley grabs Jane’s sketch book and finds out that most of her drawings are of him and his stern face. They have very awkward conversation where Nobley pries a little bit into Jane’s possible feelings.
Final thoughts on the movie
I really like it but it does have some flaws and a few awkward delivery of lines. But, it was really funny and heartwarming. A feel-good, light and fluffy romance.
Movie Review Rating 4/5 (maybe 3/5 for the skeptical)
Now, onto the Book Austenland by Shannon Hale
I do recommend this book. I purchased this book after having first watched the movie. It’s a short and easy read. Some of the best lines from the book were kept in the movie version. There were a couple of great scenes, however, that didn’t make the final cut of the movie. The characters are pretty much the same with one main difference with Mr. Nobley, but it doesn’t in any way change his personality or the way he is portrayed. In the book, Jane seems to be more embarrassed of her obsession. She really doesn’t want to admit it, or for anyone to know about it. It seems to be a big shame she is carrying. The book is well written, difficult to put down, and easy to put yourself in the heroine shoes.
Book Review 4/5