Austenland (film)

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Austenland
Austenland Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jerusha Hess
Produced by Stephenie Meyer
Gina Mingacci
Screenplay by Jerusha Hess
Shannon Hale
Based on Austenland 
by Shannon Hale
Starring Keri Russell
JJ Feild
Bret McKenzie
Jennifer Coolidge
James Callis
Jane Seymour
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography Larry Smith
Editing by Nick Fenton
Studio Fickle Fish Films
Moxie Pictures
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Stage 6 Films
Release dates
  • January 18, 2013 (2013-01-18) (Sundance)
  • August 16, 2013 (2013-08-16) (US)
  • September 27, 2013 (2013-09-27) (UK)
Running time 96 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget £4.9 million
($7.6 million)
Box office $2,140,812 [2]

Austenland is a 2013 British-American romantic comedy film directed by Jerusha Hess. Based on Shannon Hale's 2007 novel of the same name and produced by author Stephenie Meyer, it stars Keri Russell as a single thirty-something obsessed with Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, who travels to a British resort called Austenland, in which the Austen era is recreated. JJ Feild, Jane Seymour, Bret McKenzie, and Jennifer Coolidge co-star.

Plot[edit]

Jane Hayes is a single 30-something American woman obsessed with Colin Firth's portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, and wishes for a nice Englishman of her own. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, Jane decides to spend all her savings on a trip to a Jane Austen-themed resort in Austenland, England.

As run by Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the guests at Austenland choose to be called by imaginary names, must dress in period costume, and conduct themselves like ladies without modern conveniences (though the plumbing is modern). Activities include needlepoint, riding, reading, shooting, and entertaining the other guests through musical performances or theatrics. At the conclusion of each guest's stay, a ball is held with a romance guaranteed.

When Jane arrives, she is told that she can only afford the "copper package", whilst the other wealthy lady she met at the airport, Mrs. Elizabeth Charming, has paid for the "platinum package". As a result, Elizabeth is shown to the old-fashioned, Austen-era decorated room, whereas Jane is shown to the servants quarters. From the duration of her visit, Mrs. Wattlesbrook treats Jane with contempt as she is not one of the wealthy guests. Once they have been dressed in period costume, they are introduced to the gentlemen of the house, several actors who will be with them for their Austen experience. Colonel Andrews is a camp, eccentric man whom Elizabeth takes an instant liking to. Also introduced was Mr. Henry Nobley, Mrs. Wattlesbrook's handsome nephew, who seems reluctant to converse with anyone despite his aunt's insistence. Lady Amelia Hartwright is an eccentric, exceedingly wealthy guest who is introduced. At the evening meal, Lady Hartwright openly flirts with Nobley, which seems to make him uncomfortable. Jane and Nobley disagree with each other, with a similar argument that Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy have on their first meeting in Pride and Prejudice. When Jane is humiliated by Mrs. Wattlesbrook, she leaves the table.

The next day, whilst taking a walk, Jane feels left out, so she leaves the group and reads a book in the stables. She is discovered there by Martin, the stable hand. They are interrupted by Elizabeth, Nobley, and Andrews with news of a hunt. They all go pheasant shooting at which Jane surprisingly excels, inciting Amelia's jealousy. When Jane's horse refuses to move, she is left to walk back to the house when Martin doesn't return with a new horse for her. She gets caught in a rainstorm from which Nobley rescues her.

That evening, Jane leaves the house for a walk around the grounds when she gets bored at the card games. She hears Martin singing and, after some flirting, slow dancing, and the birth of a foal, they kiss. The next day, stifled by the attempts of Elizabeth and Amelia at being ladylike, Jane searches the grounds for Martin. When she finds him, after some persuasion, they spend the afternoon together in a boat in the canal. That evening, Captain East, an extremely attractive man, arrives. All the ladies and gentlemen admire the Captain, except Nobley, who dislikes him. Martin, from a distance, sees the Captain making a pass at Jane and gets angry. That night, he dismisses Jane and she leaves the stables angry and upset.

The next day, by the staff swimming pool, Martin nonchalantly asks about the men's opinion of Jane, indicating that he likes her. In the retiring room, after Amelia sings and plays the piano, Mrs. Wattlesbrook demands that Jane play the piano. Jane, angry at the constant snubbing, sings "Hot in Here", which results in her dismissal from the retiring room. On her way to the stables, Nobley finds Jane and insists that it isn't proper for a lady to be alone out at night, angering Jane and ending in an argument. Back at the house, Mr. Wattlesbrook accosts Jane, who fights off his attempted assault, which draws the attention of Nobley and Andrews.

Jane asks Elizabeth for help impressing the men and make her experience worthwhile. They steal some of Amelia's clothes and a montage follows in which Jane wows everybody with her grace. This comes to an abrupt end when Mrs. Wattlesbrook attempts to evict Jane at the discovery of her mobile phone. Amelia steps in to save her, startling Jane; Amelia blackmails Jane into creating situations in which Captain East and Amelia will be alone. At afternoon tea, Andrews announces that Mrs. Wattlesbrook has written a play and that they will all perform it for her. During the rehearsals, Jane and Nobley discover that they share a love for the Austen era and begin to like each other. The play is a disaster because Elizabeth accidentally injures Amelia's eye. Jane and Nobley run away to Jane's room where Nobley confesses that he feels something for Jane.

At the ball, Amelia and the Captain dance together all evening, mainly so the Captain can keep Amelia from attacking Elizabeth because Amelia's injury requires her to wear an eye patch. They all dance, but Nobley interrupts the dance to take Jane to a private balcony where he confesses his love for her. Jane is disillusioned with what she calls "the game" and runs away to spend the rest of the evening with Martin, as she wants to feel something real.

As their Austen experience has come to a close the next day, Jane and Amelia leave the house, and Jane is amazed to discover that Amelia is, in fact, an American, married to a very elderly gentleman, and she visits Austenland yearly to entertain herself. At the end of the trip, Mrs. Wattlesbrook addresses Jane, revealing that Nobley was not assigned to her and that Martin was actually an actor, meaning that the romance that he had with Jane was scripted. Jane, angry at being duped, threatens to sue Mrs. Wattlesbrook and shut down Austenland, suspecting she was only one of many guests assaulted by Mr. Wattlesbrook.

Ordered by Mrs. Wattlesbrook, Martin tracks down Jane at the airport to try and smooth things over and discourage Jane from filing suit. As Jane dismisses his claims of love (which he admits were scripted), Nobley appears and pleads with Jane to believe that his own affections for her were genuine. Angered by them both, and disillusioned with Austen, she leaves them both at the airport.

Back home, Jane clears out all her "Darcy obsession" collection. On a later day, she is expecting her friend to visit when there is a knock at the door, but it is actually Nobley, who traveled across the Atlantic to return the sketchpad Jane left in England. When she points out that he could have just mailed it, he is crushed that his grand romantic gesture is unappreciated, and he turns to leave, asking himself what he was thinking. Jane says she just thinks it was overkill that his aunt sent him all that way just to make sure she didn't sue. He reveals that he is there of his own accord, that his real name is Henry Nobley, that he is a history professor, and he only agreed to work for his aunt so he could experience the Austen era, a time when love was simple. Jane finally believes him and they kiss.

In the post-credits scene, it is revealed that Elizabeth has bought Austenland and turned it into a theme park. Jane and Nobley are among the guests, obviously very much in love. Mr. Wattlesbrook now works as a garbage picker, Captain East does a strip show of which Amelia is a keen fan, and Elizabeth is living the dream, surrounded by handsome footmen, as well as keeping Colonel Andrews as her co-host/companion. Martin is seen attempting to pick up women as he drives a buggy around the grounds, but they all snub him.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Austenland was filmed in the summer of 2013 at West Wycombe Park[3] in Buckinghamshire.

Release[edit]

The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013, and its distribution rights were bought by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions soon thereafter for $4 million.[4]

It was theatrically released in four theaters in the United States on August 16, 2013.[2] On the weekend of August 30th, it went into wider release, showing in 52 theaters.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AUSTENLAND (12A)". Sony Pictures Releasing. British Board of Film Classification. August 2, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Austenland at Box Office Mojo Retrieved September 20, 2013
  3. ^ "Other Projects - Austenland Movie". Stephenie Meyer website. Stephenie Meyer. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Sundance 2013: Stephenie Meyer-Produced 'Austenland' Booked by SPWA and SPC". indiewire.com. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-01-22. 

External links[edit]