Austenland (Movie Review 2013)

Keri Russel, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge, Bret McKenzie, and Jane Seymour star in the mildly (and I mean mildly) entertaining movie about an obsessed Jane Austen fan who sets off to England for a dream vacation. Her dream, of course, is to be transported back into time by living in an English manor house, filled with Regency era characters, costumes, and lifestyles.  Unable to find her perfect Mr. Darcy in life, she hopes to at least find him in a short, fantasy-filled vacation.
Unlike the series Lost in Austen, she acclimates fairly well to her surroundings.  Of course, everyone is really in the 21st century, though they are encouraged to live in the early 19th century.  The ladies pay to stay in a house full of actors from the footmen to the other guests, in the hopes that at their last night they have received a proposal of marriage from one of the cast.
Jennifer Coolidge, as usual, plays a rather ditzy blonde.  JJ Feild is the resident snobbish Darcy-type.  Bret McKenzie is the servant help, though he comes across as just another modern employee taking care of the horses and landscape. Keri Russell, who plays Jane (of course) Hayes, is the modern woman looking to fulfill her Austen fantasies.
Even though Jane arrives filled with anticipation, she seems to teeter between reality and fantasy. She has purchased the “cheap” package and is relegated to the servant quarters for her room upon arrival. The other guests are lodging in the opulent surroundings. During her stay she becomes attached to what she thinks is the real-life help, rather than being attracted to the snobbish Darcy-type actor.  As the story plays out, each character falls for someone either in their fantasy world or in reality.  However, I won’t tell you who is who.
The movie is mildly entertaining and not as good as Lost in Austen.  Probably the best part is when the man she eventually falls in love with declares his feelings. When she balks they are still living a fantasy, he says in his dreamy English accent, “But Jane, don’t you understand. You are my fantasy.”  (Or something along those lines.)  Then the romantic kiss.
In any event, it’s a weak three kernel story and currently streaming on Amazon.
PS – As for me, I’m not really a Darcy girl.  I’m more the Captain Wentworth type from Persuasion by Jane Austen.    “Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”

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