Comedy, Romance

MovieDiva Film Series Presents

Austenland

  • Wed, Nov 13
    • 7:00pm - Cinema One
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Pining for Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy from the BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane signs up for some Jane Austen cosplay to jumpstart her romantic fantasies. The novels of Jane Austen have been revered since their publication, her writings appeared in the late 1790s through her death in 1817. Literary scholars and enthusiasts of Jane Austen were first called Janeites by George Saintsbury in his 1894 introduction to a new edition of “Pride and Prejudice,” and Janeites were the readers who shared a literary enthusiasm for her novels. But by the 1930s and 40s, the term began to be used in a dismissive way, like Trekkies is used to dismiss the superfans of a particular television show. As Adrianne Wadewitz pointed out in her Wikipedia entry, and recounted in her NY Times obituary, “Janeites deserved credit for codifying contemporary fandom” meaning without Janeites, there would be no Trekkies, no Marshmallows, no Whovians, no Potterheads, no Twihards, no Browncoats, no Bronies, no Cumberbitches, no Swifties, no Beyhive. The film was acclaimed in sold-out screenings at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was released in theaters later that summer. It came and it went in record speed, because film reviewers, the fraternity almost entirely male, just didn’t get it. They thought “Austenland” was about hiring a surrogate Mr. Darcy to be your gigolo. Or, as Roger Moore for McClatchy said, “It’s never more than a theme park that isn’t worth the price of admission.” The amount of vitriol aimed by the reviewers at this film is rather incredible. Why did they hate it so much? I agree that Jennifer Coolidge is allowed a bit more leeway in her comic character than perhaps is necessary. But, enough with Spiderman’s angst and Batman’s brooding. Aren’t girls allowed their on-screen fantasies, too?