It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single Jane Austen female fan in possession of brains and brawn must be in want of an enjoyable/believable Jane Austen movie from Hollywood. But not every Austen adaptation gets it right.
Austenland — about a 30-something woman obsessed with all things Austen who decides to drain her bank account for a trip to a Jane Austen theme park — was released Friday in select theaters.
The film, directed by Jerusha Hess (co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite), is the latest Austenalia adaptation in a messy (but consistent) string of zany romantic comedies, historical re-enactments, books, and stage iterations over the past decade. Jane Austen fandom is alive and well, what with that Colin Firth statue, her face on currency, and Hollywood studios’ constant churning-out of movies riffing off the author’s astute critical eye for social niceties and, most of all, romance.
A quick glance on IMDb for Jane Austen (who has her own entry) shows several adaptations and miniseries galore on the precipice. But with her rampant popularity, loyal fanbase, and Hollywood’s obvious interest, would Jane Austen actually approve of these movies bearing her name?
Let’s take a look at some of the Austen adaptations over the years and do a bit of analysis. (Note: I’ve left out most of the verbatim book adaptations and stuck to big releases and inspired screenplays.)
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