Austen Avengers Assemble!

So back when Avengers: Age of Ultron came out someone did a post on what Austen characters they would have as the Avengers. I read it and did not agree with several of their choices.

So I decided I would do my own post, and meant to put the original link here, but forgot!

So sorry to whoever it was!

So I jotted down my thoughts, saved the draft and meant to come back and finish, but I forgot all about it. May 2015 was a hard month for me, I had an ear infection and an over 100 degree temperature-plus you know life-

But this year I have been going through my drafts trying to clean them out and finish my thoughts-and I spotted this. As The Avengers series is ending, not really as you know Disney is all about them dollars:

But as this is the “end”, The Avengers: Endgame, I decided what better time than now to post it?!

Another thing that is ending this year

So I did not like Avengers: Age of Ultron and after watching that movie I stopped watching The Avengers films all together. There are a lot of reasons why, and if you are interested go to this post. Basically-if I don’t like something, I stop watching the series. So just to clarify-I will only be using the superheroes from The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron films. I also will only be doing the female Austen characters and their Avenger counterparts, maybe I’ll do one on the men in the future, who knows? But as for now, let’s get this mashup started!

Another thing ending this year!

Jane Austen Avengers Mashup!

***Contains Spoilers***

We will start with Sense and Sensibility and work our way through the Austen novels.

Nick Fury-Elinor Dashwood

Elinor was a bit hard to find someone to match up with, but I decided on Nick Fury.

Nick Fury is the leader of The Avengers. He is the oldest of three, and has had to learn responsibility at a young age. After a long, illustrious career, he goes on to be the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only does he work for a secret organization, but he knows more about what is going on than anyone else in the movie-from secret families, wishes, covert agents, etc.

Elinor is the oldest of three and after her father passes away, has to take on responsibilities of the home. Elinor may not be the leader of a secret organization, but she is the secret keeper of this book. From illegitimate children, secret engagements, wards of the family, lost loves-etc she knows it all.

Both are intelligent and good judges of character, but can be fooled by a charismatic person (Willoughby and Robert Redford’s character in The Winter Soldier)

Now some may not see how level-headed and controlled Elinor could ever compare to the loud and aggressive Nick. While Elinor may not be as loud and curse, she does have moments when she too loses her temper.

It might not be a perfect comparison, but the one I felt was the closest.

For more on Elinor Dashwood go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner)-Marianne Dashwood

Both are controlled by their feelings so this was an obvious mashup.

Dr. Bruce Banner has had many incarnations-but what stands out to me is how he can range in emotions from sarcastic, witty, self-assured, to depressed, sensitive, and worried-ultimately running the full gauntlet…just like Marianne. Marianne, like Bruce, is confident, self-assured, and firm in her beliefs. When things happen in life, Marianne betrayed in love and Bruce’s Gamma Ray incident, both become depressed, sarcastic, and lose sight of who they are-both trying to give up on living. Ultimately, they work through these feelings and regain some of their confidence and sense of self-Marianne being more reserved and thoughtful while in Avengers Bruce accepts his green self and is able to use his ability to help and be a team player.

Both have deep emotions and can go to extremes when they feel. And when they feel, you see it-no hiding that from anyone.

Dr. Banner is well educated, read, etc-while Marianne has’t achived the samr level-she too is well read and educated (as she comes from a wealthy family).

Both need encouragement from friends/family and both also discover that someone they wouldn’t have thought at first is the person for them (although the Colonel Brandon and Marianne storyline makes a lot more sense than the Black Widow and Hulk one).

For more on the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner, go to Avengers Assemble

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to We Are Family: Austentatious (2015)

Thor-Elizabeth Bennet

So I was split between who to be the equivalent to Thor and finally after a long deliberation, settled on Elizabeth.

Thor is Odin’s heir and favorite son, although he is stubborn, impetous, and opinionated. Elizabeth is her father’s favorite daughter and is stubborn, obstinate, and headstrong. Both are fun, well-educated, and have great wit.

Both fall for people who they don’t begin on the right foot with. For Thor, Jane at first is not interested and gets upset with the way he talks and treats her, same for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but eventually they move past the misunderstanding and have a great relationship.

The thing that clinched it for me was the family drama. Thor’s little brother Loki causes a lot of problems, trying to take over the world, almost destroying everything and him. Elizabeth’s little sister might not have been as bad, but she too does what she wants-not caring how it affects everything and almost detstroying Elizabeth and the family’s reputation.

For more on the Thor, go to Anger Management

For more on Elizabeth, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Hawkeye (Clint Barton)-Fanny Price

So everyone hates on Hawkeye, he’s the “who cares” member of the group (at least we did back in 2015). Fanny Price, unfortunately, gets the same treatment. Both may not be flashy, have cool powers, the best romantic lead, money, etc-however, they are important characters and there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.

So Hawkeye had a rough start with his parents dying, being sent to an orphanage, running away to the circus, being betrayed by his mentor, and losing his brother and feeling alone. Fanny did not have the same type up upbringing, but understands what it is like to be alone. Sent from her family to stay with relatives she never met before, bullied by her cousins, being treated as a little higher than a servant, betrayed by her uncle when she won’t marry the man he picked out, etc.

In The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye turns out to be the linchpin of the group (Bones reference) -why? I don’t know, but he is. When everything is falling apart he knows what to do and takes them to his farm-keeping calm and helping lead the group out of this storm they are in. Fanny is the linchpin of her family, the moral compass, who helps right things after Maria runs off with Henry, Julia elopes in Ireland, and Tom gets deathly ill. They couldn’t have continued if it wasn’t for her calm demeanor.

The other thing I find similar is that both are observers of the group-Hawkeye sees from the “Hawk’s Nest”-watching out and watching the team, and Fanny “I was quiet, but I was not blind.”

For more on Fanny Price, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

Iron Man (Tony Stark)-Emma Woodhouse

Both characters were described by their authors as characters “only they would love”, so of course these two are the equivalent.

Tony Stark is wealthy, spoiled, and raised by parents who gave him a lot of power and free reign. He is a genius who inherits his family company at a young age and has to take responsibility.

Emma is also wealthy, spoiled, and raised by a father who gives her a lot of power and free reign. She might not inherit a company, but she does become mistress of the house and there is little doubt as to who her father will leave her estate to.

Both are powerful manipulators, using their power, prestige, wealth, and beauty. They can be reckless to the point of destroying lives (Emma almost ruins any chance of Harriet marrying and Tony you know almost destroys the world). They also tend to go too far and luckily have people who can bring them down to Earth and point them back on the right path, Pepper Potts/Rhodes and Mr. Knightley.

Both are betrayed by people they thought they were close to, for Tony it is Obadiah Stone, his father’s longtime partner, and Emma its Frank Churchill, the man all had been planning her to marry.

Both end up finding love with someone they’ve known for years, both more mature (in spirit and Knightley’s case age as well) who can see past their faults and help them be the best person they can be.

And of course, Gwenyth Paltrow is in both films.

For more on Iron Man/Tony Stark, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Dull Times Breed Disaster

Captain America (Steve Rogers)-Catherine Morland

Both are young, sweet, idealistic, and at times naive. “No one who had ever seen [them in their] infancy would have supposed [them] born to be [heroes]. [Their] situation[s] in life, the character of [their parents, their] own person and disposition, were all equally against [them].”

Steve was raised in Brooklyn, NY-and wants to go off and save the world. That wish is granted with the trip of a lifetime-to a secret lab, getting superhero powers, traveling to get war bonds and help improve morale, going off on his own “trip” to help his friend. Catherine is given the trip of a lifetime too, as family friends whisk her along to Bath (not as epic but still fun). There Catherine may not have gone through physical changes like Steve, but emotional ones as she grows up a bit and controls her imagination.  She also goes go off on her own separate trip (to Northanger Abbey).

Both have hiccups in their dating, with Steve being kissed enthusiastically by a WAC, even though he only has eyes for one girl. He tries to straighten it out, but it doesn’t quite work as well as he hoped. With Catherine, she only has eyes for Mr. Tilney, but gets manipulated out her walk with him by the enthusiastic Mr. Thorpe.

Many want to use Steve because of his abilities or his looks, the same with Catherine. They believe she is richer than she is and she falls victims to two men trying to play her as a game piece.

Both don’t always catch on to the jokes said by others. With Steve, he has almost 70 years worth of history and pop culture he’s missed out on, and Catherine doesn’t always pick up on sarcasm.

For more on Captain America, go to Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White & Blue

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List

Black Widow/Natasha Romanova-Anne Elliot

So I had a hard time with Black Widow and trying to figure out who she worked best with. After a lot of deliberation, I finally settled on Anne.

Black Widow is woman who people look at and think they know her life story-but there is faaar more to her than you would think. Yes, she is a super spy, enhanced, and has a dark past-but it is way more convoluted with ups and downs. Anne is the same way…all look at her and see a kind woman who was proposed to once (by Charles Musgrove), but turned him down. What no one knows, and no one could fathom, she had a handsome sea captain after her, or that her cousin William Elliot is after her!

Both have been persuaded into making certain choices (in Black Widow’s case actual torture and brain washing, while Anne has an old family friend maneuver her choices.)

Both have a lot of secrets, and can blend easily into the background just as they can stand out and take control of stressful situations. They can be more intense than others think and are given great one-liners.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to You’ve Persuaded My Heart

So what do you all think? Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below!

For more Mash Ups, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce
For more on Avengers, go to Simply Fantastic
For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE
For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements
For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Heartbreak Kid
For more on Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue
For more Northanger Abbey, go to Did Jane Hate a Richard?
For more Persuasion, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

We Are Family: Austentatious (2015)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all the Austen characters were friends and lived in the same town. Hmm, have I asked this before? Oh yeah…

That was a good book, unfortunately this isn’t a review of the next novel in that series but of the TV show:

Yes, all the Austen characters live in the same city, the city of…hmm they never say where this takes place. They all have an American accent except for Emma who is British, sometimes.

Ugh!

I’ve noticed in other episodes it just seems to fade away. She must not be faking it because no one else has one so why would they make her have one? But I cant explain why that happens with her. Anyways

I don’t know

So it says that it is the Austen characters, but only seems to have Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, and Colonel Brandon. Yes there is no one from Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, or Persuasion.

Forget you!

I mean really? I wish someone would do “all” the characters and actually have “all” the characters.

So the story takes place in modern times. We start of with Elinor Dashwood (Kristen Marie Jensen) who is an IRS and is complaining to her friends Lizzie Bennet (Elise Groves), real estate agent, and Emma Woodhouse (Shona Kay), divorce attorney. Oops, and friend Grant Knightley (supposed to be GEORGE why change to Grant? I mean George is a common name), played by Brad Johnson, and works with Emma? I’m not quite clear.

HOld on…okay Elinor as a tax accountant, okay I can buy that as she is well organized and great with finances.

Lizzie as a real estate agent, I have a hard time seeing. I could see her more as a writer or Park Ranger or manager at something.

Meh.

BUT Emma as a divorce attorney?

That’s just crazy. First of all she hates reading-no way. Second, I don not believe someone who tries to match people up all the time could spend days working with separating couples. That makes no sense to me.

Did you even READ the book!!??

So Elinor is bummed her sister will be moving in as she is flighty, boy-crazy, and has no clue what she is doing. As soon as she moves in she starts shaking things up by redecorating and changing things. Elinor gets angry and flips out on her messing up her apartment.

Now I get that Elinor doesn’t want her sister to take over her space, but seriously? You know she isn’t staying for a few nights, but planning to LIVE with you. Unless you specifically drew up a roommate agreement or told her she only gets her room and a shelf in the fridge you are seriously overreacting.

They try to make it seem like Marianne is just doing what she wants-but Elinor is seriously being a control freak.

Calm down. They eventually patch things up and compromise.

Now the clothes that Marianne wears are really weird. 2015 was only four years ago, I remember what was popular and people where wearing and it was not that. Who picked your wardrobe? It is more 2005 than 2015.

Lizzie Bennet has the client William Darcy (Gavin Bentley) who is such a major jerk I am actually hoping they do not end up together.

Yes, a retelling made me actually wish that.

I think the world is going to explode or I’m going to die…too late

Good-bye, cruel world.

Too late

Sorry, this post will not be brought to you by the undead.

So Darcy in this is a total pain-complete and utter jerk. I really don’t see how they will redeem him.

Jerk

Also Lizzie’s parents are planing on divorcing and she doesn’t want them to as she doesn’t want her mother to try to live with her.

Woooooooow, real daughter of the year that one.

Both of her parents are going to Emma, who Lizzie gets to join her in her plan to reunite her parents. Emma plans a dinner date and before you can say The Parent Trap all is solved and they remember their love for each other.

This was weird to me. Why have that be the center of your episode? And just throwing this out there, maybe they would be better off not together. They fight nonstop (as Lizzie says) which isn’t healthy and a bad example to their children. I’m not for divorce, but if you read the book, they got married for the wrong reasons and were very unhappy with each other. And if they fight constantly, it might be better to at least try counseling or a separation.

Just throwing that out there, but none of my business.

Later Darcy storms in and yells and is a jerk to Emma as he works with her. Ugh, can we cut him out.

Yes, a retelling made me say that. As I said I think the world is going to end.

So yeah, I do not have high hopes for this show, but I’ll keep on watching. The things I do for Jane.

Ouch!

Sometimes when I read/watch a really bad retelling, I’m kind of glad that Jane Austen isn’t alive to see it. I think she’d be mortified at some things we come up with.

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

For more Emma, go to Dull Times Breed Disaster

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review. I had planned to post the review earlier, but I had to go out of town for my grandmother’s funeral, and then the rest of the week was packed.

But then I began to put it off as I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book.

But I’m actually glad I did. I don’t know if you have been following the college bribe scandal involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Hoffman-but this book is right up that alley. Crazy parents who will do practically anything to have their kids go to a “good” college. Expensive college application tutors doing all they can to get the kids placed and increase their application. If interested, go to this link. For the review-keep reading.

First let me start that I want to give props to Mary Pagones. Writing is hard…

Writing a whole book is even harder, and then putting your work out there for people to praise or pull apart-

That’s hard. So for finishing your book, Mary Pagones-

So I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book. I thought it was interesting but I’m sorry, I know that this will probably make the author angry-but I didn’t see Pride and Prejudice at all, but Emma.

What?

Yep-

Yes, I…well let’d back up. I’ll go over that later, let’s do a quick plot synopsis first:

So this is the story of Lissa- Jane Austen megafan who is getting ready to apply to college. She faces all the difficulties of branding herself, having a personal statement, using the scholarship from one school to leverage getting more money out of the other, etc. Besides that, she has her senior year with her friends, and a new boyfriend, and trying to do what she can to ace her SATs, pad her application, and hopefully-get into the school of her dreams!

So the first thing that made this book hard for me was that this concept was so foreign to me. I was shocked and confused, is this really how it is like? My experience was soooo different. I graduated in 2010 and am the first in my family to ever go to a four year university, and one immediately out of high school. I had no clue how to do anything and had knew no one to ask about it. There were no “college applications tutors”. We didn’t even have a guidance counselor-just the former principal who had retired and volunteered. I had never even heard of a college application tutor until reading this book.

Uhhhhhhh

I am biracial and the running joke in my family is that the only college fund we have is that my mom is Mexican-and I could hopefully get scholarships. I’m from a low-income area, mostly agriculture, but I did go to college prep/art school. I applied in mass (thank you fee waivers) to four UCs and four CSUs. I was lucky to get into al but one, UCLA. There were no interviews-just my resume of extracurriculars (which I had a ton of), transcripts, letters of references, and a personal statement (that I cant even remember what I wrote but I did have a teacher review it for me). I received my letters and then judged them based on the amount I received in scholarship money-I didn’t even know that you could use one’s amount as leverage as stated in this book. Basically I ended up split between two schools that were giving me the most. The school I chose, my first year was paid for, I had to take loans out the next three years, and work two jobs to put myself through school.

I had a hard time reading this book and hearing Lissa whine about being poor when she and her sister have iPhones and each have a laptop. I had a CD player because I and my family couldn’t afford anything. We had one computer growing up-that was my dad ad I only got my laptop my first year of college through my scholarship funds, and because I had a family friend who worked with Apple. Unfortunately, the one I purchased was outmoded the next year. Only by the grace of God is it still running. My first cellphone was a flip phone I got for free from the company because they were outmoding them, and it cost $40 a month, the cheapest I could get.

Lissa and her family eat all kinds of hamburger, pizza, turkey meatballs, name brand cereal, etc-and she can afford to buy lunch everyday from the cafeteria. Poor is surviving on 1/4 cup of oatmeal, hot chocolate instead of milk, and having to choose between fruit and dairy (which I did in college until I got my two jobs). She says that she is poor, but snubs her nose at a school that has maid service-if she was really poor she’d be down on that. If I didn’t have to clean my four years-woohoo. Do you know how much cleaning supplies can add up to? Luckily, today the Dollar Tree carries a lot.

As poor as these ladies

The other part I had trouble connecting to is when Lissa describes being at the college and meeting all these goth/all black wearing, alternative, pieced people-in a Jane Austen literature class. Really? In a Jane Austen class? I’m not surprised there would be some-but what about all the other people who would be in such a class.

My junior year I took an upperclass history class: The History of the Novel. Half the kids were in there for history, half were English majors. There is a picture of us and I will describe how we look. First there is Kevin: Kevin was a super outdoorsy, park ranger, hiker type guy. Hiking boots, loved the outdoors, all-american blonde football-type, in a baseball cap, tee shirt, and jeans. Then there was Thomas, noir-loving, Sundance, type guy-like Jughead Jones in TV’s Riverdale stole his look with the long hair, jacket, etc. Angelica-long curly hair/afro, always wore big rings, and smart jackets-very professional. Gwynn wore her hair long, with side bangs over one eye-dark eyeshadow and liner, jeans, and thin hoodies. Belinda was in a sorority and always had perfectly straightened hair and wore a shirt/sweater with the sorority letters on it. Kate was full athlete-always workout gear and hair in braid or ponytail. And then me-I’m wearing a little jacket my mom made, lacy “Jane Austen” inspired shirt and cowboy boots. A large variety of personalities, clothes, and interests.

Wow!

So I have to say that this book wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or the plot. I guess a lot has changed in nine years. Or it might have been the area I grew up in versus where this is set.

I guess I’m too old.

So lets move on to why do I think this is Emma?

So the story is of a widowed father who loved his wife dearly, and lost her suddenly. He has two daughters which he cherishes, has a close relationship too, and worries constantly about.

Then we have the main character, Lissa. Lissa is headstrong and stubborn-but at the same time she is also a tad manipulative, thinks she knows everything, and can be harsh and judgmental. True-Elizabeth does share some of these qualities but I feel Lissa is way more Emma.  Like Emma she thinks she knows everything and in the end discovers that she was much more naive than she thought.

She can be very controlling of her friends-pushing Calvin to “officially” out himself, instead of letting him do things how he wants. She is also constantly trying to match her friend Jacqui up-first with a guy they go to school with, Noel, but when she determines that he is not worthy-tries to get her to match up with a guy Jacqui met on a school tour.

She meets a guy, Hugh Fitzgerald, and because of how he dresses basically she believes that he is perfect-not really getting to know him and enjoying his sarcastic jabs at everyone and everything…

That is until his jabs are aimed at her and she realizes that he is not that great of  person after all-very much like how Emma realizes Franck Churchill is a major jerk. Hugh is so Frank Churchill, he uses Lissa to get him through English and write a screenplay for his movie which he takes full credit for-while at the same time boinking her sister; just as Frank used Emma to deflect he was involved with Jane.

Jacqui is so a Harriet in my opinion. Jacqui is Lissa’s best friend and is kind, sweet, and completely convinced into doing whatever Lissa thinks she should do. Lissa thinks she should get closer to Noel, Jacqui does. Lissa thinks that Jacqui should go with her to the Regency Fair, even though Jacqui isn’t into it-Jacqui not only does, but has a dress made, gloves, etc. Then Lissa pushes Jacqui to another guy, and she does go after him.

Lissa hates on a classmate Charlotte so much, but I don’t see any real reason to dislike her. Charlotte is wealthy, goes on lots of trips, talks about her grades and Princeton constantly-but she cares about people and never flaunts what she has in other people’s faces. She may gossip a lot but she’s not mean about it or cruel. Lissa just hates on her because she is jealous-and all her reactions reminds me of Emma and Jane Fairfax. Jane Fairfax is Emma’s number-one hated person but there is no real reason to dislike her. Emma just does because she is jealous off all she has and her talents.

I think Calvin was supposed to be Charlotte from Pride and Prejudice, but I see a Mrs. Weston vibe. Calvin tries to help Lissa and give her some advice, but then is also easily led by Lissa.

And then there is Mr. Clarke-he is so Mr. Knightley. He tries to help Lissa, instructing her in books, schools, and life.

They even dance together and quote from Emma (although that’s not something I think Mr. Clarke should have with all the teacher/student romantic relationships that have been in the news.)

This has nothing to with Emma, but Lissa’s little sister-ouch. Lissa should have told her father that her sister makes awful decisions about boys and will be ending up pregnant or with an STD if dad doesn’t get into checking on her. But really Lissa, giving your skeezy boyfriend’s number to your young, naive, impressionable sister and setting them up to all kinds of things together alone-reminds me of my friend Shannon, who had her friend Samantha tutor her boyfriend Vincent, and next thing you know-Vin and Sam were together.

Forget you!

So I know I have been harsh, as I said I don’t think this book was for me. I will say that I really enjoyed her writing style, it was a very engrossing read.

And I LOVE how she wove points and quotes from Jane Austen throughout her work. It is littered with it, and a fangirl’s delight.

She was able to tell a story based on a Jane Austen work, but it is something that an non-Austen fan can easily follow along with.

I also think that she made some very strong points and observations of Austen and her novels in her work. You might not agree with everything, but she has sound reasoning and presents a good case and an interesting view.

Hmmm….

I liked her depictions of teenagers and how Lissa thinks she knows everything, but is not as on it as she thought she was-falling for a narcissistic pig like so many young teens and women fall victim too.

As I said it was a hard review to write. I think it is definitely worth checking out, especially in light if the recent scandal and how far parents will go to get their kids into school. I mean bribing admissions so your kids can get in? I could see Mrs. Bennet doing it.

If you do read it, comment below what you think. I’d love to hear it.

For more Emma, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Emma variations, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more Pride and Prejudice variations, go to Why Do People Love Bridget Jones’ Diary?

For more Young Adult novels, go to Victoria and the Rogue

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

So there are a lot of period dramas I plan on reviewing, but to start it off-I’m doing something a bit unexpected.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Laura Jean is is a romantic. She reads romances, watches romantic films and Rom-Coms-her favorite is Sixteen Candles-and she dreams about the beauty of love in her head.

She wishes she could be in a romance book or film.

When Laura Jean falls in love she writes love letters, but she never sends them. Whenever she falls for a guy she writes them a letter, addresses it, seals it, and stashes it in her closet. She has fallen in love with five guys, so far:

  • Kenny from camp
  • John Ambrose McClaren from Model U. N.
  • Peter Kavinsky in 7th Grade
  • Lucas after Homecoming
  • Josh Sanderson, best friend turned sister’s boyfriend

Ouch, that last one-yes, Laura was best friends with Josh, but then her sister and him started dating. Very awkward!

It is the start of junior year and Laura’s sister is heading off to college to Scotland. Laura is feeling a little lost as she is losing her other best friend and the one she has…well it is even more awkward now that he isn’t dating her sister than when he was.

School is okay, as Laura Jean isn’t the most popular girl in school but it never really mattered before, but now she feels lonely without her sister.

Everything is normal until one day Peter Kavinsky approaches her out of the blue stating that nothing will ever happen between them.

Huh?

Laura Jean is confused, until she realizes he has her letter!! Josh does too, so in order to dissuade him-and to keep more awkward conversations from happening between her and Josh and her sister-she kisses Peter and takes off.

At home she discovers that all the letters are gone! Kenny’s from camp is returned to her, as address is wrong (*phew*) but all the others were sent out and received.

Lucas approaches her and reveals to her that he is gay, and the two actually become friends, this continuing throughout the movie. Peter’s girlfriend, Genevieve, dumped him for a college guy, and in order to get her back-he approaches Laura Jean about pretending to be his new girlfriend, as him dating Laura Jean will piss her off. Genevieve and Laura Jean used to be friends, but back in seventh grade it ended. At a party, they were playing spin-the-bottle and it landed on Peter, Genevieve’s crush. (That kiss lead to the writing of Laura Jean’s letter).

Laura Jean isn’t interested, but then Peter points out that if they are “dating”, then Josh won’t believe the letter is how Laura Jean feels now-and no awkward conversations will have to be done with Josh or Margo. Laura Jean agrees after they come up with a series of rules.

The two start “dating” and really enjoying each other’s company. Laura Jean’s mother died when she was little and she grew up with only one parent and her sisters. Peter’s dad left him and started a new family, it being just his mom and brother. They bond over what that feels like and have conversations they would never have with anyone else.

Most of all they just have fun with each other.

And their plan is working. Genevieve hates the situation and her college guy is quickly dropped as she tries to break the two up. Everything is going great until Laura Jean falls in love with her fake boyfriend. Will everything turn out okay?

So not fun…

Let me say that I love, love loved this movie. I put it on as background noise while I was doing something else and I stopped working as I was sucked in and just could not stop watching. It made me laugh, aw, and I just all around enjoyed it.

I can’t stop watching!

Now I know you think this film has been done a thousand times, and yes the fake relationship has-but what makes this stand out is the character Laura Jean. She is relatable, realistic, and so much fun. She was smart, but at the same time didn’t know all the answers to everything. She loved romance in books and movies, but was afraid at real commitment-understandable as she had lost her mother and now her sister has “left her.”

I liked the fact that they came up with rules as I have always thought that if you were to do this in real life the first thing you would need is a set of rules and a strong backstory.

I also liked that they broke up for actual serious reasons. Often they have the couple break up over silly misunderstandings that would be easily solved if the two would just talk to each other. But the fact that this guy says that he is into you but constantly talking to his ex-girlfriend and spent the night in her room? Good for you Laura Jean-that’s a no.

So I know you are all wondering-why would a Jane Austen fan like it? Well there are a few reasons. First of all Laura Jean is sooo Catherine Morland-a girl who loves romance novels and finds herself in one?! Out of all the Austen heroines that’s the one that most kept popping in my mind. How Laura Jean imagines herself in romance novels-and being sweet and naive. 

The relationship between Laura and Peter is reminiscent of Catherine and Mr. Tilney, both couples having great banter with their love interests-laughing and joking around with each other.

Like I said above, Peter isn’t exactly Mr. Tilney, but they do share commonalities. Both care about their younger siblings a lot and have a strained relationship with their fathers. They also don’t always follow social norms but do what they want, and enjoy joking around.

Another thing that Austen fans will enjoy is the family relationships. In Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the main Austen heroines didn’t have a lot of friends besides their own sisters. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth does have Charlotte Lucas, but just like how Laura Jean’s friend is practically non-existent in this film, the two don’t spend a lot of the book spending time together. Mostly, their best friends are their sisters (like Jane Austen’s sister was). In Pride and Prejudice, Jane goes away for a period of time to stay with relatives, and Elizabeth is very lonely with her gone-just how Laura Jean feels when Margo goes away for school. Speaking of P&P, Laura Jean’s little sister Kitty-she’s like a combo of Lydia and Kitty. Meddling, outspoken, more mature than her years in some aspects (but still a child in others).

Like Sense and Sensibility, we have an older, more sensible sister-Margo/Elinor; a romantic, reader, middle sister-Laura Jean/Marianne; and a spunky, does thing her own thing, younger sister-Kitty/Margaret. Like in S&S, The older siblings have a very close relationship, but both keep secrets from each other. But through all the ups and downs-secret holding and ultimately revealing the truth-the sisters are there for each other.

The other thing that Austen fans will love- is that letters play a crucial role in the film and in the plot. In Austen’s time, letters were extremely important-being the only way of communicating when apart, but often read out loud and like the TV of the day. In Austen’s books-letters play a very important role. The two most known of course are Darcy’s letter in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Like those novels-the letters Laura Jean writes to her love interests, start all the events in the film, but just like those two Austen men’s letters bring a romantic conclusion-the love notes Peter wrote her are what convince her of his love.

I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more Young Adult/Teen works, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

For more love letters, go to You Were Right, Let’s Get Married: Psycho (1960)

For more Austen film/TV show reviews, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 5, The Road to London

So in the last episode your father and grandmother planned a garden party for you. You learned to dance properly, and was having a great time with Mr. Sinclaire. You to play nine pins with him, and you dance with him. You also meet the jerky Duke, ugh, and your father promises you a London season.

The London season started as both Houses of Parliament were in session, and as not everyone finds politics interesting, they needed more entertainment.

Women would meet the Queen; along with attending dinner parties, balls, musicals, the opera/theater, etc. Some were going for entertainment, to renew friendships, and most importantly-catch a man.

So back to the game-your grandma gets you ready for the season. You won’t be the only one trying to catch a man, as there are many other ladies-but the one for you to watch out for is Felicity Holloway. Her father is a viscount and she will be your biggest rival in catching an eligible man.

Afterwards, you and Miss Parsons go for a walk. Both of you feel uncertain about being “out” in society. It is unsettling to be a piece of meat up for auction.

Miss Parsons is having an extremely hard time as she was engaged to your brother. She didn’t love him, but respected, admired, and was his friend. What if the next man she is engaged to is cruel? Mean? Have nothing in common with each other?

I don’t want to do this

Your grandmother offers you a new riding suit for 25 diamonds, but I turned it down. I’ll wear what I have as that was what you would typically do. With all the dust, dirt, etc-why wear something new?

It still is a beautiful dress.

You and Miss Parsons are heading off to London together. When you reach the city you will split, as Miss Parsons will stay with her sister and you at your father’s townhouse with Miss Sutton and your stepbrother Mr. Marcastle.

So not fun…

Stuck with the schemers ugh. Well, you know what they say-

Before you leave, you have the choice of purchasing your own horse. In all the other games I never bought an animal companion, but thought it would be interesting to see how it plays out.

So I ride my horse the whole way to London, which makes no sense as I’m not an experienced rider nor does side saddle seem like it will be comfortable over such a distance.

What is this?

We stop for a picnic where we lament a bit more about the marriage market, and a market it is. Everyone competing, each man sizing up a woman’s fortune and physical attributes.

You arrive in London, but there is no one there to meet you.

That is not good,

It is a very dangerous situation for two unescorted ladies, but then to your luck you meet Prince Hamid. He is a friend of your father and escorts you two to your townhouse. When you arrive, he offers to take you around town but I declined. First of all, that would not be appropriate as we have no chaperone, and secondly I didn’t have enough diamonds.

The two of you then go into the townhouse and confront Mr. Marcastles and his mother’s plot to derail you from your London season.

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 4, Best Foot Forward Part II

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 4, Best Foot Forward Part I

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans

So if you are like me, you love Jane Austen:

You like to read her books and watch her movies:

 

There are a ton of different variations in books and film-but what about when you are done? What about when you finish watching every version of Jane Austen in film and have nothing else to watch?

Last year I started a series called Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, where I review books not written or based on Jane Austen, but ones I think Austen fans will enjoy. I decided to continue that and do a series on Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans (including TV shows as well.)

I haven’t decided if with the TV series I will review by episode or season, or just one review-I’ll have to play it by ear. But below are what I plan on reviewing!

The Buccaneers (1995)

Aristocrats (1999)

North & South (2004)

Under the Greenwood Tree (2005)

Lark: Rise to Candleford (2008-2011)

Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

The Paradise (2012-2013)

The Crimson Field (2014)

Poldark (2015-)

Doctor Thorne (2016)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)