Monday, September 19, 2011

Lost in (Jane) Austen

We recently discontinued our DirectTV service, which was about $80/mo, and instead purchased a Roku box for each of our two main TVs, at a one-time price of about $60 each.  I won't go into explaining Roku, as I don't really know all the ins and outs and it would take too long.  But if you'd like to save a lot of money over your cable/satellite, you really should look into it.

Because of Roku and our Netflix and other subscriptions we got to go with it, I've discovered a lot of shows I didn't know existed.  A few days ago I stumbled on Lost in Austen.  Originally a British mini-series, the Netflix/DVD version is a three hour movie.

I am a big Pride and Prejudice fan, as is Amanda in Lost in Austen.  She is tired of her modern-day London life and her unromantic boyfriend.  One evening she finds Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of P&P, in her bathroom; she has stumbled upon a portal from her world to present-day London.  Amanda and Elizabeth trade places.

Does it make sense (even if you believed in time-travel portals)?  No, and Amanda doesn't get it either.  P&P is a novel, not history.  But she finds herself in 19th century England at the very beginning of the P&P story and a guest of the Bennet family as a "friend" of Elizabeth who, she tells them, has gone away to write a book.  

Amanda, of course, knows how the story should go, but her very presence is changing the plot.  Though she tries, she can't get it back on course, and the P&P characters make different choices than Jane Austen originally wrote.

If you are a hard-core Jane Austen fan who will tolerate no monkey-business when it comes to her writings, you might not like this movie.  I, on the other hand, thought it was funny and creative and did a good job of staying true to JA's characters while going down a "what if?" rabbit trail.  There are a few surprises that aren't in the book, such as Mr. Bennet's first name and the "truth" behind the Wickham/Georgiana scandal.  To quote Amanda, "Jane Austen would be fairly surprised to find she'd written that!".

Two thumbs up!


The Cannary's said...

I'm going to have to look that up - I haven't read any Jane Austen, but I do love time travel stories!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Fun review, Holly! I do love some Jane Austen, but I think it's fun to watch stuff like that. I read "Me and Mr. Darcy" awhile back, and didn't care for the writing style, but the plot was fun!

Jessica said...

Interesting. I've actually looked at this movie at the library, but I've never watched it I'm afraid I might be too much of a "hard core JA fan" to enjoy it. Ha But, I may try it someday.:-)
One question: is it completely family friendly, or are there questionable things in the movie? I couldn't really tell from the cover.

Holly said...

Jessica, it depends on your viewpoint and what you allow the family to watch. There are no s*x scenes, however one character drinks/gets drunk, one character pretends to be gay, and another actually is (secretly). In a short scene at the beginning, Amanda's mother is smoking and says "decorating is like s*x, but better...". Amanda mentions that she lived with her boyfriend and reference is made to her not being "a maid(en)". I don't recall any bad language specifically, but it's possible that there's an instance or two of "mild" four letter words.
Personally, I would probably let an educated 12-13 yr old watch it if she liked Jane Austen. I don't think boys would want to watch it.