It’s a charming idea that there would be a vacation resort when fans of Jane Austen could go to escape into their favorite novels of Regency England. With a few modern necessities, such as electric lights and indoor plumbing, along with old fashioned dresses and men there specifically to court you, what could be wrong? As far as Jane Austen sequels, prequels, and spin offs are concerned, this is one of the most original.
The movie Austenland is a lot of fun. It’s one of those guilty pleasures we have: girly, fun, flirty, with lots of man candy to look at. We want the main character, rightfully named Jane, to find herself a man, and wonder which of the main guys is genuine and which are acting (as in Austenland, the men are paid to become the lead males of Jane Austen’s works). There’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of laughs, and even though there’s no real depth to it, there’s nothing wrong with a light, fluffy romantic comedy now and then.
The book, on the other hand, leaves a little more to be desired. The writing style is elementary, to say the least, and I would expect more from someone who is writing an homage to a renowned authoress. There are lines in there that are like, “Then they really made out,” or are meant to show the main character’s disgust in something by linking it to a subject and then saying, “And she hated (subject).”
Of the supporting characters, a certain Miss Charming is a grotesque caricature of a spoiled rich woman pretending to have class by saying “Tally-ho” and “chip chip” and having no depth of character whatsoever, whereas in the movie she was at least a fierce ally of Jane’s. Even Jane herself comes out looking a bit flat, going back and forth between “I love Austenland” and “I hate everything about this place” to show that she is a modern girl at heart, but also likes to read (even though she later admits she hasn’t read a book in the afternoon since college). And though she does redeem herself by having witty conversations with the resident Darcy character, her snarky remarks aren’t consistent with the bits of characterization she has.
Even though the book is a bit disappointing, the movie seems to fill in the gaps while maintaining the fun atmosphere of the idea. Usually it is the other way around.
Posted by Jen