At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »
Jonny Lee Miller,
Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside ... See full summary »
At age 10, Fanny Price is sent by her destitute mother to live with her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. As a child she was often made to feel that she was the poor relation but... See full summary »
Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, a loving father whom she cares for, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her... See full summary »
Jonny Lee Miller
In 19th century Victorian England, Mrs. Isabella Beeton produced what became an essential book for housewives of the day. She was married at a relatively young age to Sam Beeton, a ... See full summary »
Widow Dashwood and her three unmarried daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, inherit only a tiny allowance. So they move out of their grand Sussex home to a more modest cottage in ... See full summary »
Austenland is a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes, a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with Mr. Darcy-as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice-is ruining her love life; no real man can compare. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Written by
During the scene at the airport, Mr. Henry Nobley insults Martin by saying that Martin couldn't get an acting part in The Hobbit. In reality Bret McKenzie, who plays Martin, is in The Hobbit playing the role of Lindir in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (2014). He also plays the role in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and credited as "Elf Escort" in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). His role is also referred to by online Lord of the Rings fans as "Figwit" (an acronym for "Frodo is great, who is that?" in reference to his unexplained appearance in the Council of Elrond). See more »
I was roped into a screening of "Austenland" by my well-meaning, Jane Austen-admiring wife. Ninety-seven minutes later, we left the theater shaking our heads. Not because we were offended by the idea of someone making a satirical movie about a modern young woman who was so obsessed with Jane Austen's milieu that she wanted to live in it, but because that ship sailed five years ago, in the form of "Lost in Austen" -- a movie that was everything this film was not.
Had I known in advance that "Austenland" was directed and co-written by the half-wit half-responsible for "Napoleon Dynamite", I might've stayed home. If ever comparing two structurally similar films threw into high relief the shortcomings of one of them, "Lost in Austen" does it to "Austenland". The latter comes across as a script written in two weeks by a rather stupid college sophomore as a class project. No line was too trite, no joke too juvenile, no humor too obvious to not get the full scenery-chewing treatment here.
Even within the film's internal logic, the protagonist made utterly no sense. Here's a young woman who is supposedly so obsessed with Austen, her writing and her virtues that she spends her life savings on an immersive week in that very environment, yet she caves-in within 24 hours, describes being indoors as "stifling", and is soon making out with a stablehand! The contempt she displays for Austen's mores is one more reason the viewer loses any sympathy for her. And honestly, she's not that special. Take away her obsession with Austen (and the film effectively does that within the first 20 minutes), and she's just another vapid college student who dresses like a slob.
Much has been written elsewhere about Jennifer Cooledge, the *other* American who supposedly paid for a week in "Austenland". I thoroughly enjoyed her as a minor character in "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show", but in those, she greatly benefited from the writing talents of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy. Christopher Guest has had boils that could write more clever dialogue than Jerusha Hess is capable of. While I wanted to like Cooledge in this, there was simply no way to get beyond the fact that her character is the broadest broad who ever trod the boards.
One gimmick I've come to loathe in recent films was introduced by Sophia Coppola in "Marie-Antoinette" -- that of interspersing modern pop songs at length throughout the film. "Marie-Antoinette" somewhat worked since Coppola used the juxtaposition of modern songs to make the audience reappraise that late-18th century queen as a modern woman in modern material culture. "Austenland", on the other hand, just uses pop songs to tell the audience what it should be feeling at that moment. Every time this movie is screened, someone in the audience is going to whisper to their significant other "Hey! Remember when we used to make out to that Cure song?" -and move a little closer.
There are exactly three things I could find to like about "Austenland", for which I gave it one star each. The first is for the setting; West Wycombe is always lovely. The second is for Bret McKenzie, the roguish stablehand with a smooth, if improbable line for every occasion (he was far better, tho', in "Flight of the Conchords"). And the third is for J.J. Feild, whose earnest and understated performance is a welcome relief from all of the other in-your-face, turned-up-to-eleven performances. But ultimately, these three aren't nearly enough to save "Austenland" from being a mediocre and tiresome attempt at a romantic comedy. Jane Austen would've shuddered at the thought of such a film exploiting her name and work.
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