Are you ready to go to Austenland? A new movie – clearly aimed squarely at Anglophiles – sure hopes so. This is the film adaptation of Shannon Hale’s novel of the same name, and will likely delight all the Jane Austen fans out there – and maybe convert a few new ones. (Yes, I am an absolute sucker for this kind of movie, I’m sorry. Not really.)
The Americans' Keri Russell plays Jane, a thirty-something New Yorker who is obsessed with the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. Yes, the one with Colin Firth. Everyone in her life is aware of her obsession (which probably would be hard to hide if you too had a giant cardboard Firth cutout in your home.) Therefore, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that when her great aunt passes away she leaves Jane a trip to Austenland in her will. Austenland is the “world’s only immersive Austen experience,” which basically appears to be a literary Six Flags with the benefit of period dress. (And something which we will probably all wish was real by the end of the movie.) Sadly, Jane’s role at the Austen theme park that we are studiously not calling a theme park will only be an “orphan of no fortune”, because her aunt couldn’t afford the aristocracy upgrade. Womp womp.
As generally happens in these sorts of stories, Jane becomes involved in an Austen-esque love triangle of her own, and is torn between J. J. Fields’ standoffish Mr. Henry Nobley and Martin, the obvious nice guy she probably won’t realize is the nice guy until the very end, played by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie. Since we have all likely read our Austen, everyone should be able to predict what’s going to happen here, but the trailer sure does make the journey look fun.