Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Lost in Austen
Good grief. Loads of fun, and soppy beyond reason. This is what happens when Britain realizes it cannot possibly film another rendition of a Jane Austen novel. They film a miniseries rendition of a Jane Austen novel with a modern person thrown into the mix to bash the plot about and ruin the novel as originally written, and entertain the pants off the audience. Of course, the audience has to be Austen-loving going into it, so if you hate all things empire-waisted, don't bother. I love all that stuff, so I had a blast watching this. It is treacly to the point that the friend I was watching it with felt compelled to say "sop, utter sop" aloud every once in a while, just in case I hadn't noticed...but she said it with such glee each time that it was glorious. AND we got to point out all the actors we recognized from other British works (hey, that's the other girl from Hex!!), and what's more fun than that?
You can skip the first 10 minutes of this miniseries, as it is awful. Here's what you'll miss: Amanda Price, a bored 20-something lady in London (Jemima Rooper, a girl from Hex) who keeps her copy of Pride and Prejudice on her person like a baby blanket, and longs for true love like that of Lizzie Bennett and Mr Darcy (specifically Mr Darcy as played by Colin Firth, MEOW -- and incidentally one of the funniest moments in the miniseries is a piss-take on that version). So naturally she is dating a boorish cad, the anti-Darcy.
After the too-long exposition, during which Elizabeth Bennett appears in Amanda's bathroom, they switch places, and hilarity ensues. So do ill-fitting marriages, a head wound, public drunkenness, and Sappho's poetry. Jane Austen probably didn't intend for that part to happen. Mr Darcy, played by the lovely Eliot Cowan, who you've never heard of, and nor had I, (hello, biceps) is sufficiently rude, but not charming enough by a mile. Rooper gets to purse her lips and tell people like it is for 3 hours, which she's sure good at, Emma Arterton (Strawberry Fields in the last James Bond movie) is Elizabeth Bennett in jeans with a cell phone, and Alex Kingston spends her time having fits. It turns out she's funny. Good girl.
As I said, this is a girly girly girly girl movie. There will be squealing. There might be crying. There will be comparisons to other Austen renditions. If you can't stomach that, leave the house and let us drool over Darcy in peace.