Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lost in Austen (2008)

For fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this clever mini-series (packaged on DVD as movie) is a must-see. Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper) loves the novel Pride and Prejudice. She often re-reads it as solace from her own life which suffers in the romance department with a boyfriend who doesn't value her and has troubles staying loyal.

One day Amanda is surprised to come face-to-face with her hero Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton). She appears in Amanda's bathroom, entering 21th century London from the 1800s English countryside through a portal in the wall of the Bennet home and Amanda's bathroom. Amanda eyes the open portal, and unable to resist, enters. The portal closes and modern-day Amanda finds herself in the Bennet home. She tells the perplexed Bennet family that Elizabeth is staying at Amanda's place in Hammersmith (which is true minus the diff in centuries).

As Amanda meets the cast of characters she knows so well, her presence skews the novel events. First, Mr. Bingley (Tom Mison) seems to be falling in love with her and not Jane. She mitigates that fallout only to be vexed that Mr. Collins (Guy Henry) proposes to Jane (Morven Christie), instead of Charlotte (Michelle Duncan). ARGH. She voraciously attacks Mr. Darcy (Elliot Cowan) for his intrusion--for getting between the obvious attraction between Bingley and Jane (on par with the novel). Amanda prognosticates constantly, irritating the family, predicting what is about to happen and why things are going from bad to much worse. She is often scolded for being vocal, instead of humble, quiet and knowing a woman's place.

Time is running out. If she cannot get the portal to open and bring Jane back, Pride and Prejudice as we know it will be a huge mess. As she's plotting and trying to straighten things, she falls in love with Darcy and he with her, but with Amanda going on and on about how he must end up with Elizabeth (whom he hasn't met), he is puzzled. The recreation of the wet puffy shirt scene is priceless. Even if this movie had sucked (it didn't, even a bit), that scene may have been enough. Mr. Wickham (Tom Riley), a good guy and a framed innocent? Ms. Bingley (Christina Cole) a lesbian who fancies Amanda? WTF?

When Amanda is finally able to get back through the portal into modern-day London, Darcy follows. She introduces him to the now modern Elizabeth, who is a nanny, adept at using the Internet and has read Pride and Prejudice. Will the ladies trade back? Will Darcy and Elizabeth end up together?

See Lost in Austen. This one probably won't appeal to most men or anyone who has not read/loved/watched Pride and Prejudice.

Director: Dan Zeff

Country: England

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Run time: 180 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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