Austenland - Review

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), the winsomely deluded heroine of Austenland, is a contemporary New Yorker who has spent her entire adult life escaping into fantasy, dreaming and wishing — oh, does she wish! — that she could be a Jane Austen heroine. She knows Austen's novels by heart, and she longs to wear those frilly dresses and sit around those drawing rooms, to sip tea and engage in elegant English banter. She's like an American Bridget Jones, pining for her Mr. Darcy — except that Jane is almost dementedly literal about it. She really wishes she could go back in time and meet Mr. Darcy. Depending on your point of view, Jane, as a character, is either an insulting vision of single-women-as-basket-cases or a flaky satire of contemporary feminine obsession. I'd say she's a bit of both: The satire is a bit patronizing, yet Keri Russell plays Jane's scatterbrained romanticism with such underhanded charm that she goes a long way toward making the laughs seem pertly knowing, even when they come at Jane's expense.

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