Trailer Tuesday: Austenland

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

Jane Austen has been in the news a lot lately (see the horror that is this and the awesomeness that is this), so it’s fitting that Austenland is due to be released next month.  Take a look at the trailer, and read on for my thoughts:

Austenland is based on a novel by Shannon Hale, and tells the story of a woman, fittingly named Jane, obsessed with the stories and romances of Jane Austen, who decides to visit a retreat themed to her novels and time period.  The screenplay was adapted by the film’s director, Jerusha Hess, and it’s nice to see a movie about women actually written by women.

I think a lot of us can relate to the obsessive nature of Jane’s love for Austen.  It takes an enormous amount of restraint for me not to make my house a shrine to my obsessions the way Jane has to Pride & Prejudice.  The thought of getting to live out our fantasies from stories we love is what makes places like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter so popular.

Most of the humor in this trailer comes from the setup rather than the actors.  The fact that Jane only bought the basic package at Austenland and is therefore limited to the role of an orphan with no fortune is brilliant.  It’s a great way to interpret the classism of the period with a modern spin.

The cast looks solid, especially Keri Russell as Jane.  She’s great in these sorts of movies (see Waitress).  There’s everyone’s favorite medicine woman, Jane Seymour, as the head of Austenland, and the always hilarious Jennifer Coolidge as vacationer who seems to be clueless about the basis for the retreat.  Plus, for Flight of the Conchords fans there’s Bret McKenzie.

I do have one worry, though, and that is that Austenland will turn out to be a fluff of a romantic comedy instead of something better.  I always have high hopes for rom-coms written by women, mostly because of Waitress, but having a female writer and director is no guarantee that the movie will treat women any better than those written by men.  Jane Austen was a witty and talented writer, who crafted rich and interesting characters (both women and men).  It would be a shame to make a shallow film from such a deep source.

On that note, I’ll leave you with this quote from Stephanie Meyer (author of the Twilight series) about the book that Austenland is based on.  Take from it what you will:

Adorable! The best tribute to obsessed Austen freaks (like me) that I’ve ever read.

What do you think?  Does Austenland look like fun?  Would you pay to spend a week on vacation living an Austen-based life?  Does that Stephanie Meyer quote fill you with fear or hope?  What’s your favorite Jane Austen book?  Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Trailer Tuesday: Austenland

  1. Hmmmm! I don’t think I’ll be going to see this one. I’m not really a fan of Jane Austen (I much prefer The Brontes and Elizabeth Gaskell) and the trailer doesn’t make it look good. Having said that, I can see this could be fun for her admirers, irrelevant of how good it turns out to be, just as Fanboys was for me.

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    • I love the Brontes, but I haven’t read Gaskell. I think I like the idea of Austenland (the movie and the hypothetical place) rather than what we can see of the execution from the trailer. It just doesn’t look as meaty in the trailer as I was hoping, though as an Austen fan I have to see it. And yes, Fanboys is awesome!

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