Saturday, June 7, 2014

I Heart Mr. Darcy

Austenland: Jane Hayes has an addiction.  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy are taking over her life.  Disenchanted by the state of her current love life, Jane jumps at the chance to travel to a resort in England to experience the world, the manners and the kind of men that populated Jane Austen's books.

Do not go into this movie thinking it will be 100% like Shannon Hale's novel.  Do not do that to yourself or else you will not enjoy it.  Go into it without expectations and with an open mind and you'll be fine (this is my adaptation watching and reading rule of thumb).  It can be done.  Otherwise, if you concentrate on comparing the two throughout the film, you will miss the entire movie.

What we have here is a really fun movie that I think keeps the essential feel and heart of the novel it is based on.  There are amusing jokes and hilarious characters and some sadness.  Some of the dialog in the film is similar and even the same in some scenes. But like the book, it's ultimately the story about Jane Hayes' triumph over the obstacles in her life.  Yes, some things were different like how Jane gets to Austenland and bits of her personality were different, but I do not feel like that took away from the film at all.

Remember, the novel gives us a much more intimate look into Jane's thoughts and feelings since her story is being told through language.  The film is simultaneously trying to visually show us the story and tell us how Jane feels. There's no narrator to do that if there was? It would be a bit intrusive. Also, Shannon Hale (the novelist) helped write the screenplay for the film. She was involved in the project so that right there should allay some people's fears about this film. The actors and the acting were also great.  Keri Russell was a nice surprise.  I haven't seen much of her work before but she did a great job here. Seeing J.J. Feild again was also a treat since I haven't seen him in  Regency wear since Northanger Abbey.

I really enjoyed this adaptation, and I think it's the perfect movie to watch when you need something to lift up your spirits.  I hope everyone will give it a chance.

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