Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors. I have read all her books and I like watching all the movies adaptions. Austenland is based on a novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, which is about an Austenite (huge Austen fan) going to an Austen themed resort.
Keri Russell stars as Jane Hayes who is obsessed with Jane Austen. Her apartment is decorated with a life size cutout of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and she has fine china and frilly lace everywhere. Her friend Molly (Ayda Field) worries that Jane is missing out on life due to her Austen obsession. When Jane decides to go a Jane Austen resort in England, Molly cautions that it may not live up to her fantasies and if it doesn't she should give up on her obsession.
Jane arrives in England and meets fellow American, Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge) a bimbo who signed up so she could show off in a low cut dresses. Jane and Elizabeth become friends despite their differences. Once at the manor, they are greeted by Mrs Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) who informs them that they will have the ultimate fan experience and romance guaranteed as she has hired actors to play dashing gentlemen. Jane discovers that life in the past is not as fun as expected especially the social class and gender roles.
I heard a few bad reviews for this movie so my expectations were low. I found that the movie was okay but not that enjoyable. In the movie, Jane realizes that real life is better than living in a pretend world after she witnesses the fake romances between the guests and actors.
This movie was kinda a downer for me because Jane gets treated like a second class citizen because she chose the “copper” package deal which is the cheapest experience you can get at the resort. The costumes were gaudy and everyone was a bit too silly. I know it’s a comedy but I expected wit and elegance which is a common part of Jane Austen’s work. It never once felt like they were in a bygone era mostly because of the crass things that everyone did. For example, Jane was urged to play the piano and she played It’s Hot in Herre by Nelly which was the only thing she knew.
While the movie didn’t reach my expectations, there were some amusing bits in it. I thought Jennifer Coolidge was funny, she said some kooky things that none of the characters knew how to respond to. For instance, Lady Amelia Hartwright ( Georgia King) remarks how Elizabeth has a good complexion and Elizabeth replied something like, “ At night when I’m all alone, I put my face in the fire.” She also was such a kind person to Jane and helped her whenever she could.
I think if Austen fans are looking for fan fiction come to life they need to keep looking. I would also suggest that Lost in Austen is a better movie if you want a story about a character going into Austen’s world.