Austenland (The Movie)
Austenland lately. When I first rented it and watched it on my laptop, I confess I wasn't overly impressed, mostly because the innuendos and whatnot stood out like stains on the carpet of a new apartment as I was first immersing myself in the world. But when I spotted the movie in Target, the humor and strange sweetness came to mind, and I later made it one of my purchases with an Amazon gift card.
Since then, I've re-watched the movie several times. Yes, the crude moments are still there...but they serve as an emphasis for the ridiculousness of this "fantasy land" that turns out to be just as full of human flaws as any "real" place in this world. The movie is such a fun diversion: a reminder that our dreams - and the people that populate them - aren't always what they seem, and yet a "happily ever after" can be found in unexpected ways when we embrace what's real.
The actors really do a brilliant job, and each time I watch the movie I can't help but laugh, chuckle, and smile my way through Jane's misfortunes, mishaps, and mayhem. There's so much silliness and hilarious drama, yet it refrains from becoming too much to handle by lacing in Jane's genuine (and very relatable) emotions. Yes, I will confess that the fact that JJ Feild plays a big role in the film makes me happy... (He won me over as Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey. ♥) And the ending (especially the one for Austenland itself) is just too perfect!
The film is rated PG-13 for a reason, though thankfully the language and sexual content are not explicit. But if you're really uncomfortable with innuendos, this may not be your cup of English tea, so to speak. Otherwise, Austen fanatics should find Austenland a fun place to visit - and they should conclude the journey quite grateful that the park doesn't really exist. ;)
Austenland by Shannon Hale
With how much I've been enjoying the movie lately, I couldn't resist picking up a Kindle copy of Austenland with its sale price. I was happily surprised to see that the book starts out quite different than the movie. And as the story progressed, I discovered a fun balance between "new" material and similar elements from the movie. As a blogging friend and I were chatting about on Twitter (S/O to @flowersquiet!), the spirit of the book and movie are pretty much the same.
I confess that I preferred Movie Jane to Book Jane, though. Book Jane felt more self-centered and more free with her affections than Movie Jane, but perhaps that might have been partly due to reading the whole story from only her perspective (and getting much more of her back story). That's another thing the movie allows for that the book does not: a broader glimpse at the other characters, which I quite enjoyed.
One thing I loved more about the book: the heroine's "self-discovery," if you will. I loved that the hero encouraged her to pursue a long-neglected passion, and I loved that the pursuit of that skill started to take over her pursuit of the men at Austenland. That element of the story, and what it said about both the hero and heroine, made me happy.
What about you? Movie or book? Thoughts on either...?