Friday, March 21, 2014

Movie Review: Austenland

Movie: Austenland
Director: Jerusha Hess
Screenwriter: Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale
U.S. Released: August 2013

Book: Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Published: May 29, 2007

I came across this book at my university library when I was looking for audiobooks to listen to while caring for my newborn son.  As my sleep-deprived memory recalls, the book was funny, sweet, romantic, and very British even though the main character is not British.  Given all of this, I had high expectations for this movie.

Keri Russell was a wonderful choice for Jane Hayes, the romantic American obsessed with Mr. Darcy, and JJ Field as Henry Nobley was divine.  Unfortunately, most of the other choices were less notable and frankly seemed rather odd to me if one is judging on how much the characters reflected those found in the book.  On the other hand, as characters in a movie, I am always drawn to actress Jennifer Coolidge who played Elizabeth Charming.

The film is about an Austen (Mr. Darcy) obsessed mid twenties woman who decides to spend her entire life savings to go on vacation at an Austen theme park.  Before you dismiss this destination as ludicrous you should know that even official historical landmarks directly related to Austen's life regularly stage "reenactments" for fans to participate in.  Upon arriving, Jane is immediately thrown together with a supporting cast member but finds herself drawn to Mr. Nobley.  What then develops is the typical love triangle with an atypical story line.  Having read the book I knew what to expect but I thought the screenwriter and director did a great job making sure the audience understood Jane's dilemma: does she embrace a possible real love or does she continue to embrace her idealized Mr. Darcy.  I thought the last scene in Jane's apartment was by far the most true to Austen's own stories and would have loved a few more scenes between Jane and her chosen love.

Posted By: Sheri


  1. This sounds like a really great movie and book. I have seen this book a few times and been tempted to pick it up, but feel like I should actually read some Austen first. I will definitely be adding these to my to be read and to be watched lists. Thanks for the great review :)

  2. This movie was completely hilarious!! And the book was cute too. Have you read the second one? Keri Russell did a great job, even though she was pregnant and wearing obviously billowy clothing. I can somehow handle love triangles a bit more in movies, but I agree that I would have LOVED to see her with her chosen love more! Glad you enjoyed this too.

  3. I have heard of this one but haven't read it or seen it. It does sound cute! I will keep my eye out for it on audiobook at the library :)