AUSTENLAND The Movie: Poor Jane


Austenland Movie Poster PG 13, 97 min – Comedy | Romance – 27 September 2013 (UK)
Director:  Jerusha Hess
Writers:  Jerusha Hess (screenplay), Shannon Hale (screenplay)

Based on the novel AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale Rented via Pay-Per-View.

Obsessed with Pride and Prejudice (1995), a woman travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentleman. (

Book Description Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?  Goodreads

Jane Austen would be rolling over in her grave if that were possible. I don’t believe every review I hear or read about every movie, but I am surprised this one ever had a theatrical opening, and I should have believed the sound panning this flop received. I recall enjoying this book, even if it wasn’t the best Austen-based tale I have ever read. But the movie had actors playing characters I did not think were ever directed to play; how could he have?

The connections between the characters are non-existent. Jennifer Coolidge’s character is completely off the wall and the other visiting lady to the estate is also bizarre, although perhaps the most in character supporting character. I associate Keri Russell with television and she does a commendable job with a terrible script, but it felt like a Lifetime movie at best.

Her acting is the most subdued, and her character s given the least causal motivation. Sometimes, I thought she wasn’t taking it seriously as a job. Goodness knows I would have found it very difficult. This was honestly one of the worst movies in every regard, except perhaps costuming.

There is one post makeover, slow motion scene with Keri Russell set to “Bette Davis Eyes” that is fairly well put together. Unless perhaps it was intended as farce. If that were the case then it succeeded admirably. Maybe that’s it! In any case, there’s little to commend it even as a Pay Per View.

It’s rare that I can’t find anything good in a book or movie but other than the possibility of farce and that one visual sequence, this was B-A-D. Fortunately I was knitting so the time was not a total loss. If you must watch it wait for it to be free, but you will never get the time back.

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