Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The World of Pride and Prejudice

Lost in AustenRecently my family watched the hysterical Lost in Austen, a British television series which we found on Netflix. It is the story of Amanda, a 21st-century Londoner, who travels back in time through a door in her shower to the world of Pride and Prejudice.

On the other side of that door is the home of the Bennets. Amanda more or less switches roles with Elizabeth (who is meanwhile visiting modern London). Brash Amanda, obsessed with the book Pride and Prejudice, enters the 19th-century scene and tries to make the Bennet's lives conform to what she knows from the book should happen.  Unfortunately she succeeds only in tangling them up.  There are some surprising "revelations" along the way--some of which might make Jane Austen roll over in her grave, and all of which are quite amusing.  I was expecting a pat and obvious ending, but Lost in Austen ends with a lovely twist instead that leaves the viewer thinking about all the layers of fiction and responsibility that this show presents.

Pride and Prejudice - The Special Edition (A&E, 1996)Much of the movie--with the deliberately-out-of-place exception of Amanda--feels as lush and proper as the Firth/Ehle BBC film version.  There are even several references to Colin Firth, including one wonderful scene parodying this clip.

Although Lost in Austen is in many ways a romantic sit-com, it feels deeper that that.  For those of us who are Austen fans from birth, this is a playful adventure.  If you are very familiar with the book Pride and Prejudice and have seen the Firth movie, you'll appreciate the silliness--and the seriousness--of Lost in Austen.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for a fun movie tip. This story and PERSUASION are my favorite Austen novels, and I've founded many of the modern knock-off book versions surprisingly well done, in general. Elizabeth is such an appealing character, and that time period in England seems so much more congenial, I think, to us moderns than the later, stiffer Victorian times.

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  2. Never heard of it, but I've now put this at the top of my queue--thanks for the suggestion! Between Downtown Abbey, Sherlock, and The Choir, all my favorites seem to be coming from Britain these days.

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  3. I watched this last year and loved it. I completely agree that if you're already a huge fan of Austen it's such a fun miniseries.

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  4. This is one of my most favorite movies (didn't know it was actually a series:)!!! I took an educator's course on "Austen in Hollywood" and this was one of the movies we viewed, along with 3 versions of Pride and Prejudice, even a Bollywood version! Love it!

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  5. I'd never heard of Lost in Austen before. It sounds great, though. I must find this! :-)

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