On Saint Patrick’s Day, my sister and I wanted to watch As Luck Would Have It, but I needed a Hallmark subscription and signed up for the seven day trial with full intention to end it as soon as the film was over.
Even though I chose not to renew the subscription, I still had the rest of the week to use it and decided to peruse what films and TV shows were being offered. Once such film I saw was Unleashing Mr. Darcy and I figured why not take advantage and use this time to review it.
This movie was terrible! I struggled so much with watching it that I actually had to stop watching it twice as the Elizabeth depicted in this was one of the worst I have ever seen.
The hallmark film is based off a book and while Unleashing Mr. Darcy could be seen as clever; I’d rather it be called Elizabeth Bennet the Incredibly Rude Girl.
The film starts off with Elizabeth Scott (Cindy Busby), a history teacher, being bribed by the father of one of her students who wants his son to get a passing grade so he can continue to win at lacrosse. She refuses most definitely and then decides to spend her birthday doing her favorite thing; attending a dog show with her pup.
At the dog show she spots the very handsome dog show judge, Donovan Darcy (Ryan Pavey), and is smitten. When it is her turn to be judged; Darcy is extremely professional and this upsets Elizabeth. She’s mad that he didn’t fawn over her or “at least smile” as she tells him.
Yes, she’s incredibly rude to a judge who is currently judging her dog. She’s astonishingly unprofessional and rude. She then goes to her sister and friend and talks bad about Darcy, even though he did nothing wrong.
Elizabeth wins the dog show and instead of being pleased that Darcy is a professional and judged her on her dog’s merits than her terrible rudeness, she continues to talk about how terrible he is, when he did nothing to her.
Afterwards they go out to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday when it just so happens Darcy is eating there too with his sister. He is polite and says hello; along with introducing his sister, Zara. Zara makes a joke about her brother being important and her being a little person and Elizabeth is incredibly rude again, to his face and in front of everyone!
Her sister and family friend all are in shock, but Elizabeth defends her rudeness claiming he had it coming and that even his sister doesn’t like him. Ugh I had to stop watching as I really wanted to smack this girl.
After a day I picked up the film and Elizabeth gets accused of asking the parent for a bribe (the parent lying about what really happened) and is suspended. She is later let go and without anything else to do, she takes up her friend’s offer to be a dog handler and train her dogs. She moves to New York City to stay with the family friend, and moves right across the street from Darcy.
When she sees Darcy she continues to be incredibly rude to him for absolutely no reason at all and he remains classy and polite to her; although I don’t know why as she doesn’t deserve it.
Darcy’s dog is having puppies and he invites Elizabeth to see them. She goes over but he has been called away with a work emergency (she being very rude about it) and meets Darcy’s aunt and “supposed fiancé” (his aunt’s choice). Darcy’s aunt is rude but Caroline isn’t that terrible, I would rather she date Darcy than the Elizabeth featured in this film.
I know sacrilege, but I can’t help it, this Elizabeth is terrible.
Later Elizabeth gets word that the father that accused her of bribery, is trying to sue her. She is very upset over it all and goes for a walk with her dog. She runs into Darcy who is polite, asking her about her day and again she is incredibly rude, yelling at him and accusing him of never having a hard day and having no real problems. Mr. Darcy is a gentleman and ignores the terrible behavior; and for some reason that I cannot understand falls for her.
Someone get this boy some help.
Elizabeth later finds out from her friend that Darcy’s “perfect life” (her preconceived notions/prejudices) is not so perfect after all as Darcy is an orphan and he was left in charge of his sister even though she was very young and he was barely out of high school. He really fought to have her as he didn’t want them to be separated as he didn’t want Zara to lose another person in her life. Yeah feel bad Elizabeth, feel bad.
Again I had to take a break as she was just so infuriating. It turns out Elizabeth is fantastic at dog showing and winning ribbon after ribbon. Her friend continues to try and match Darcy and Elizabeth up, constantly trying to find a way to throw them together, etc.
In the end they have their happily ever after but I hated this film. Elizabeth was rude and immature; having none of the warmth or wit that causes viewers to admire her. Darcy was perfectly fine and I didn’t understand her dislike as nothing he did merited this “disgust or frustration.” He never insulted her or did anything to deserve this ire.
The only good part of the film was the Henry and Jenna/Mr. Bingley and Jane scenes as they were adorable. The problem was there wasn’t enough of them.
I know some of you are probably thinking, another book list?
After I posted my review of The Real Jane Austen, I realized I have reviewed quite a few Jane Austen biographies but I don’t have a central place for people to go to to look for them. Why not make a post where I will list them out like all my others?
This year I ran a poll on my instagram asking people to vote between my reviewing Sense and Sensibility and Snowmen or Christmas at Pemberley. Christmas at Pemberley was the clear winner as 71% of those who voted wanted me to review that one.
But before I start my review, let me pause and say:
Happy Birthday Jane Austen!
Yes, today marks her 247th birthday, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by reviewing a Jane Austen film? (Although after watching it I may change my mind about that)
I had a really hard time trying to find this film to watch. It’s not on any streaming site as far as I can tell, except on Amazon to purchase. Just trying to watch online seemed imprisons good, so I ended up buying it (I had money from delaying my packages so it only cost me $0.49.)
This film came out back when Hallmark was remaking several classics as Christmas films. It stars Michael Rady as Mr. Darcy, which you may recognize from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or The Mentalist. It also has Jessica Lowndes as Elizabeth Bennet (spelled Bennett in this).
Elizabeth Bennett is a party planner from NYC and is the type of personality where she is on top of everything and always has every thing perfectly planned out in her color coded binders. She works for Caroline Bingley, the actress is the almost stepmother in The Parent Trap (1998). Caroline Bingley is the preeminent party planner in NYC and is a tough woman to work for (according to Elizabeth but she seems fair to me from the little we see). Elizabeth has always been in the background but Caroline is trusting her to be head of a Christmas festival in Lambton Connecticut. Elizabeth knows the mayor of the town as they went to college together. His name, George Wickham.
Before Elizabeth heads out, Caroline warns her to not forget it is Caroline’s name and reputation in this event. She’s trusting her with both and if things don’t go well, Elizabeth is out.
We then switch over to our Mr. William Darcy, as mentioned before played by the cute Michael Rady. He has an assistant, Travis, who is terrible at his job and supposed to be the Bingley character I suppose? Darcy is extremely kind to his assistant, and the two head to his family’s home Pemberley Manor, in Lambton, Connecticut .
We are in Lambton. George is getting ready to meet up with Elizabeth as he is still crushing he’s on her. As they go to meet her Jane Lucas (Jane Bennet/Charlotte Lucas?) remarks how sad she is that Darcy is selling Pemberley Manor and that it will be turned into condos by a developer. The audience is also told of her doubts for the festival as it previously had only been a one day thing of lighting the tree and reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but Elizabeth is making it a multi day affair with all kinds of events. The movie is trying to scare us into thinking this is impossible for Elizabeth, but I’ve seen enough movies, I know it will all work out in the end.
So this George Wickham seems okay, he cares about the community, Elizabeth,…but I’ll reserve judgement as George Wickham’s can’t be trusted.
George is clearly into Elizabeth, but Elizabeth keeps saying they are only friends although goes into detail about the romantic way they met. She’s giving off serious mixed signals to him. She also is reading to get started so they all decide to grab a warm drink from the only hot drink cart located in this town and stand in a super long line. Like why don’t they just go to the mayor’s office? Or a coffee shop?
Darcy has just also just arrived in town and he wants a coffee. He sends his assistant to fetch him one, and his assistant is so hyper focused on doing a good job he misconstrues a joke and thinks if he fails to get the coffee he will be fired. He goes to the only place in town to get a drink, this one lone coffee and cocoa cart and tries to cut in line to get the drink. Elizabeth decides to be his champion and not only inserts herself into the conversation between Travis and the hot drinks cart man, but she also decides to march on down to Mr. Darcy’s car and yell at him.
Seriously, what’s wrong with her? First of all she doesn’t even know that Travis is telling the truth, he could be lying so he doesn’t have to wait in line. Also what good will it do anyone one for her to march over and yell at his employer. At best Travis could get in trouble, at worst fired. She also goes and starts lecturing him about being a good employer completely projecting her own work related issues onto this stranger. So all that tells me is that she clearly has problems with her boss she hasn’t communicated about, but thinks this man she just met, Travis, is supposed to do what she can’t. How do you know you won’t make things worse for him?
Do the writers think we are supposed to be on her side? If anything this makes me like Elizabeth less as she harasses a complete stranger. Mr. Darcy behaves like a perfect gentleman listening, explaining what happened, and being completely courteous to this woman who is acting like a total jerk.
I know the writers think this is supposed to make us laugh when they have the later “payoff” scene where the two have to work together but I don’t think it was particularly clever as we already know he is Darcy (they should have not told us his identity), and I’m completely all on poor Mr. Darcy’s side.
Mr. Darcy goes to Pemberley and meets the new caretaker, as the former one Willoughby retired. Darcy is more than ready for the house to be torn down which makes me think there are some terrible memories associated with it. The house being sold wasn’t completely Darcy’s decision as it was left to is Darcy Corp and the board of directors decided to sell it.
Darcy hasn’t been there in years and when he goes inside and looks around he doesn’t seem that overjoyed at being back.
Back with Elizabeth, she and George are having dinner and the character of Elizabeth is so shallow, they just made her like every other Hallmark female main character. They took an interesting character and made her boring.
Of course the next day the festival is in trouble as the water main breaks and destroys the town square and the gazebo. Of course the only answer is to use Pemberley Manor, which we know won’t go well as she just insulted Mr. Darcy the day before.
The other thing that really annoys me about this version of Elizabeth is that she never listens to anyone. Whenever George tries to talk to her about things she interrupts him and moves on barreling faster than a bullet train.
Elizabeth sees that Darcy is the owner of Pemberley, yet her Pemberley demeanor doesn’t even change. She still forceful and barrels through him. She doesn’t even try to apologize or be kind; instead she just runs roughshod over his thoughts and feelings.
The other thing that really annoys me is that she shrugs off all his concerns even though they are valid. He’s selling the manor, he is worried about the liability, and worried about how if something goes wrong not only will he be responsible but his company too as it is a company house. Having put on events for work, I totally see where he is coming from and agree with why Mr. Darcy doesn’t want a festival in his home. But Elizabeth ignores it all and insults him again.
Elizabeth then tries to have George force Darcy to do it. I thinks she’s supposed to be endearing but she is really annoying.
Darcy runs into the caretaker, Kristopher, again, (and he looks suspiciously like Santa Claus), playing Christmas records. I wish they had given Darcy a sister as I feel that works well for his character, it doesn’t have the same meaning with him as an only child. Darcy receives an email from the company purchasing the manor as someone has been complaining about them tearing it down in the community. Guess who did it?
Speak of the devil, she then shows up and barrels through Darcy with her plan for the festival, not even asking him again. She’s so rude.
Darcy and already been convinced by Kris, so they move forward with the festival. Darcy does give her one condition, he doesn’t want any involvement with it. Darcy has been kind, respectful, and a great guy. And I really don’t want him to end up with this annoying version of Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is ready to set up and complains about how much work the paperwork was, and all of can feel is told you so. Elizabeth then forces Darcy to help her, clearly being into him as she “can’t have anyone else help her”.
They spend time together where she makes him carry thousands of bags. She also makes fun of him for being head of the his company and always working. Hello, he’s head of the company as he has a lot to do. Like you don’t work constantly, you hypocrite. There is no way someone with that many color coded binders isn’t a workaholic.
Elizabeth reveals she has done extensive research on him, and I think it supposed to be cute but it comes off slightly stalkerish as she never seems to stop smiling. Even when she was angry she just keeps smiling, slightly creepy.
Travis goes looking for Mr. Darcy and runs into Jane and it is love at first sight! The two are cute together, someone understood the assignment.
The one thing I think is odd is that Darcy and Elizabeth went to get supplies but they don’t have shopping bags they have gift wrap bags holding all the supplies. Weird set dressing choice.
I enjoy the Darcy character as I feel that they did make him real, a man who has been grieving and given up a lot after his mom died and finally coming to terms; but the Elizabeth character I don’t care for at all as she doesn’t feel real.
So Elizabeth is crushing on Darcy super hard and it’s extremely obvious to everyone, while Darcy is just moseying along. It’s actually funny because she is like begging him to kiss her and he does not see the signs at all.
The next day Elizabeth is complaining to George and is exaggerating about what happened, making it seem as if Darcy threw her out of the house. What really happened was that they decorated his tree, he shared about his mom, and then said he had to go back to work. Like what did he do that was so terrible? Not kiss her? Who says he has to let her stay in his home for all hours of the night?
Every time she talks about Darcy she rewrites what happened to her to make her a victim. Like she has a serious victim mentality. She even complains about him not wanting to be associated with the festival making it sound as if he was demanding it. Which he DID NOT do. This Elizabeth is not the right Elizabeth. She’s more like Lydia or Mrs. Bennet.
George sets her straight and lets her know that Darcy is a charitable man and gives a lot to the community. He talks Darcy ho and let’s her know he just doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.
Back at the house Darcy and Claus, I mean Kristopher talk. Darcy shares some more positive memories he has of Pemberley and we can see him really healing.
Darcy sees Elizabeth outside working late and alone (yeah hypocrite who’s the workaholic now?) and greets her. She mentions she wishes she could make Christmas cookies and Darcy invites her in to bake. Again he is perfect as he is sweet, kind, and even praises her for being the one who takes care of everything in the background.
Then they are start sharing childhood dreams and he shares that he always knew he was going to take over the family. Elizabeth laughs in his face after hearing that. Wow! Girl you should learn how to flirt, or maybe not as you are going to end up with this guy after all. She also makes fun of his cookies and brings up Santa again. Like almost every other conversation she mentions Santa again. I’m surprised no one finds it odd as I do. She’s a woman in her 30s and can’t stop talking about Santa.
Jane and Elizabeth talk about the men in their lives and Elizabeth insults Darcy again. Why is she so rude?
Then Travis, George, and Darcy meet to talk and head to the only hot drink cart in town to talk. George is again trying to convince Darcy to not sell Pemberley. Travis is an utter trainwreck when it comes to being Darcy’s assistant, losing paperwork again. I know we should like him, but every time I see him I wonder how he even got this job? He forgets everything, is extremely messy, and completely disorganized.
Even though Elizabeth has treated him terribly, Darcy is kind and treats Elizabeth well. He’s not only extremely supportive and caring but he even found a carriage to be used for the festival. Man she doesn’t deserve you. You were written too well and wonderful and she was not.
The two work on the carriage And again Elizabeth is rude and assumes that Darcy only dates models and is one of those type of guys, when it just doesn’t turns out. He listens to Elizabeth talk about her ex, is kind, caring, encourages her and tries to give her hope; he’s so cute and sweet and she is not.
That evening is the festival and Darcy is inside as he does not want to be a part and do anything. Elizabeth keeps pushing him and doesn’t listen to what he says and again I’m like please stop thinking of yourself for five minutes. If he’s out there people might get angry about Pemberley, or what if he has a fear of being in crowds. Like seriously, just stop.
Then Kris gets on his case too. Why can’t everyone just leave him alone, it’s cold outside and he wants to be where it is warm.
Darcy does eventually go out and gets caught by a photographer who gets a great shot of him and Elizabeth.
The next day Elizabeth finds him to apologize about his picture being in the paper and he is all sweetness, kindness, and such a gentleman even after she couldn’t do the one thing he asked of her. She then insults him and tries to push him to try to be someone else.
Santa of course gets sick and they have to get a new one, who turns out to be Kristopher. I bet he’s the “real” one.
George tries to get Darcy to be a part of the festival, but he doesn’t want to. They talk a bit about Elizabeth and how George wanted to be with her but she just wanted be friends. George still likes her which means Darcy is going to step aside as he is a good guy. Man both dudes are oblivious as she is super into Darcy.
Darcy and Elizabeth go shopping again. How much of the town’s money is being spent on this festival? They have the decorations Elizabeth bosses’ fee, constructing Santa’s village, the stage, presents, etc. Good thing they have Darcy to find things, otherwise this town would be as bankrupt as Eagleton.
Caroline, Elizabeth’s boss, comes all the way down to Lambton and is upset about the photo as she feel it makes her look like a fool. What she is really worried about is that Elizabeth will leave her and start her own company taking a ton of people with her. Caroline decided to take over and change the simple Christmas festival to an elegant “Darcy-worthy” event in hopes of wooing his business.
Elizabeth goes to break it to Darcy but he’s smart enough to have put the pieces together. Caroline comes in and completely grabs his attention and keeps it.
Darcy invites Elizabeth to go on a carriage ride and is such a dreamboat as he is so sweet and supportive. He tries to help her feel better about everything that has happened. Aw, he’s perfect.
That night at the festival the singer’s voice is gone and Elizabeth has to fill in, of course. Darcy goes to gives her words of encouragement and watches her sing, risking the possibility of more publicity.
George confides in Darcy that he is going to ask Elizabeth out and Darcy is a gentleman , and steps aside. After the concert Elizabeth wants to talk to Darcy but gets blindsided by Caroline who snatches up his time. Caroline also insults Elizaveth and tries to remove her from the area as she wants Darcy all to herself.
Kristopher comes in and tries to start something with Darcy as he is trying to push Elizabeth and Darcy together. Man why is everyone pushing Darcy? Poor guy he just wanted some peace and quiet and now he’s had to deal with the festival, Caroline’s constant whining, Kristopher trying to change him, Elizabeth’s rudeness, etc.
Darcy goes to see Elizabeth and spots the two hugging, assuming they are together and going home, not wanting to ruin it. When he gets back he looks at the house but still signs the sale, and makes plans to go back home to NYC.
Elizabeth stops by the festival before heading to her family’s place and finds them taking everything down. The company was willing to work with them for a bit but doesn’t want to risk the liability and has canceled everything. Elizabeth wants to have Darcy fix it but discovers that he has left. She then is completely rude and mean about Darcy, but maybe you should take a breath. You don’t know his life maybe something happened, like an emergency. He might not have family but what about a friend? It’s like she wants to have reasons to think badly if him and hate him but there aren’t any. And her reasoning behind wanting to hate him, because he doesn’t do what she wants. She acts like a child.
Jane calls Travis to try and stop Darcy, and instead of telling him what happened he lies poorly to get Darcy to stay and try so they can use Pemberley. They do a guerrilla style party planning and begin working on putting everything back on. Except, technically yes Darcy still owns it, but what if there is an accident or a fire? Who’s going to have responsibility? Like the fact that Elizabeth doesn’t think about these things as a party planner is mind boggling.
At the manor Kris is missing, their celebrity canceled, and Darcy is stuck in the snow trying to get back to Pemberley. Kris heads out to get Darcy and reveals he “is” the real Santa after all.
And just as all hope is lost at the festival, Santa and Darcy show up in a sled, Santa hands out the gifts and Darcy reads the story. And there is so much snow everywhere, but no one is cold. Yeah right, I’m surprised anyone showed up with the amount of snow heavy is falling.
And we close with Darcy and Elizabeth together although they never resolve if Pemberley will be sold or not.
Was this a good Christmas movie?
This was an okay Christmas movie. There is no real issue in the film as every obstacle is instantly solved. Even Elizabeth’s boss isn’t really that terrible as after Darcy leaves she relaxes and helps put the festival back on. In fact the only villain is Elizabeth as she is terrible.
I have to be honest, when I heard Netflix was making a new Persuasion I immediately had a bad feeling about it. I decided to reserve judgement and hope that it wouldn’t be terrible, but I didn’t really believe we would get a miracle.
Then I saw the trailer and I knew it was going to be bad. I could see in those few clips they has completely misunderstood the character of Anne and that this was going to be another Mansfield Park (1999).
It was worse.
MadsenCreations and I watched it together, she did Instagram live while I live tweeted. You can read my tweets but more terrible and horrible moments happened that I actually couldn’t tweet as fast as the film went. It was a hot mess.
But before I go into what I didn’t like, let’s start off with what I did like
Set & Costume Design
The set was beautiful and the director knew how to utilize the home, forest, seaside, country and city. Unlike some other Austen novels these characters do spend a fair amount of time indoors and outdoors, the weather and scenery tying into the story and the emotions of the characters. This was probably the best thing about the film was how well the director understood to use the set.
The costumes are also well done, as MadsenCreations pointed out there are no large glaring zippers (Netflix has learned since Bridgerton). Although, I am sad that there weren’t any ones from previous Austen adaptions, or if there were any I didn’t catch it. I really love seeing the same gown pop up in adaption after adaption.
Visually the film was good, it was the other choices that were terrible.
As with Bridgerton they chose to do a rainbow cast (for those who have never heard the term before rainbow cast means that you cast people for characters regardless of the color of their skin, hence having a “rainbow” cast). While other productions that have done this have either made the character’s skin tone their only character trait (I hate when they do that), this production didn’t go that route. In fact it reminded me a lot of Cinderella (1997), the one that stars Brandy, where they had a family unit that contains a white father, African-American mother, and Filipino son; but nothing is made to explain it and being those races are not the characters only personality; instead they are just people. I really enjoyed it, and feel that of other films and TV shows want to that they should definitely go this route. Although I have noticed that like in Bridgerton, Persuasion has no one of Latin descent. As someone who is Latina. I do find that offensive that they promote how inclusive they are yet there is no one of Latino descent. And if someone wants to say that perhaps they couldn’t find a British-Latino person, while I find that to false. First of all Dakota Johnson isn’t even British and they gave her the main character, and secondly I googled it and found 24 right away. Netflix I’m expecting the next adaption to have someone!
The dialogue in this was horrendous. I’m not sure who was paid for this because it was beyond terrible. If I was Netflix, I’d demand that money back. First we have all these modern sayings, phrases, and slang that just do not fit right with the atmosphere. I think if that’s the route they wanted to take they should have just made a modern Persuasion. Or if they wanted to make this a cross between modern + Regency they should have done it Romeo + Juliet (1996) style with her in the Regency clothes and all modern language; or modern clothes and regency language. But this mishmash, some Regency and some Modern did not work out well at all.
There is a lot of truly terrible dialogue but the biggest offenders to be was when Henrietta tells Anne that to win a guy she should pretend she didn’t know how to use cutlery. Not only is that the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but now a whole generation are going to think that Jane Austen wrote that.
I asked a friend if that would be attractive to him and this was his response was “no” and that he would wonder about her mental capacities. The reason I find this particular scene so offensive is first of all Jane Austen wrote very strong and intelligent characters, there are silly ones but these women were not. And not only are we perpetuating this idea that women need to be dumb and have a man help them in order to be attractive, they are making it sound as if Jane Austen herself agrees with that and promoted it as well!
But that was just the beginning. So much of it is terrible that even the good dialogue is lost in the cesspool of words. And let’s not even begin on the octopus line.
The other truly terrible parts of this dialogue is that there is no subtlety or secrets. Everything is out in the open. In the book no one besides Lady Russell knew that Anne and Captain Wentworth had been engaged; in this everyone knows. In the book, no one is certain of Mr. Eliot’s intentions-he saying that he just wants to fix the rift; but Anne suspecting more. However, in this Mr. Eliot tells Anne right away he wants to keep her father from having a male heir. It’s like did anyone read this book?!!
They completely destroyed my two favorite parts: 1) when they discuss the loyalty of women and Anne points out that all the “proof” of men loving more are written by men; 2) the letter scene. It really felt like someone took the bare, bare, almost nonexistent bones of the story to write this production.
Mary Musgrove (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Sir Walter Elliot (Richard E. Grant), Charles Musgrove (Ben Bailey Smith), Elizabeth Elliot (Yolanda Kettle), & the Musgrove Children (Jake Siame and Hardy Yusuf)
So some of the characters and the decisions made about the characters were not good, but I’ll save my complaints for a little later. The ones I did enjoy were the above few. Sir Walter and Elizabeth were so horrible and rude, just as they should be, although I think it would have been better to include a bit more of them as they are hardly in there, but they did good.
Charles Musgrove although he too wasn’t in the film that much. The little Musgrove boys were adorable and they stole the scene every time they were on screen.
The one they blew me away though was Mia McKenna-Bruce as Mary Musgrove. You liked her and hated her, she was extremely awful but at the same time she also said a lot of things I agreed with when it came to Anne. Anne was such a mess that Mary (yes Mary), seemed to be the only adjusted character. She was a narcissist, that didn’t change, but she was more together than Anne (which is not how it should be). Out of everyone, I think she did the best.
Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot
Henry Golding was charming but too charming. He’s supposed to be somewhat suspect from Anne’s pov as he hasn’t done anything outwardly wrong, but she is questioning his interest and sudden appearance with her family. When Anne’s friend warns her against him and tells her she spotted Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot together, Anne immediately believes her and thinks something is up (which of course we later discover later that he ran off with Mrs. Clay to keep Sir Walter from siring a male heir [although he should be more afraid that Sir Walter will lose all his inheritance]).
However, someone in their great wisdom (read that sarcastically please) decides to reveal Mr. Elliot’s intentions in the first meeting. That’s supposed to be a big plot point! That’d be like if in Great Expectations when Pip goes to school if Magwitch sent him a letter saying that hey I’m your benefactor! By the way I also have a little girl that was adopted named Estella, do you know anyone by that name?
In this adaption Mr. Elliot also asks Anne to marry him (something not in the book), is messing around with Mrs Clay (which Anne catches instead of everyone finding out later), and they also change his character when he marries Mrs. Clay instead of just putting her up as his mistress. They completely changed the character and while it fit for Henry Golding; I this role was not the right one for him. He would have been better as a Frank Churchill, Mr. Tilney, or as Captain Wentworth as as Golding and a lot more chemistry with Dakota Johnson/Anne than Cosmo Jarvis.
Captain Harville (Edward Bluemel) and Captain Benwick (Afolabi Alli)
These actors did well in their parts but the problem was that there wasn’t a lot of them in the film. Benwick and Anne are supposed to spend quite a bit of time together, that’s why when he is engaged to Louisa all are surprised. In this he and Anne have one conversation and didn’t even use the amazing dialogue that Jane Austen wrote. Harville was also just used as a piece of the scenery.
Louisa (Nia Towle) and Henrietta Musgrove (Izuka Hoyle)
Most adaptions hardly use Henrietta but this one does it the least, blink, and you’ll miss her.
Louisa was not very well done in this either. She is made to be so silly, such as that line about how to get a guy. She also doesn’t make sense as a character. In the original book, she and Anne are close but she doesn’t know about their previous engagement, so when she meets Captain Wentworth it makes sense that she goes after this nice, rich, single man. However, in this production they show Louisa and Anne as best friends; Louisa knowing about the engagement and encouraging Anne to go after him. However, after dinner she then reverses that and tells Anne she is making a play for him. Seriously, what a jerk move to do.
The other thing that didn’t make any sense was that there was hardly any flirting and time spent between her and Captain Wentworth for us to even believe they were interested in each othe. In the book the two flirt a lot as Louisa is interested and Captain Wentworth appreciates having her attention in front of the woman who rejected him. The two do several jump and catch me little scenes, that later caused the accident as Louisa does it in an unsafe area. In this they cut out the previous scenes so when she does the jump it doesn’t make any sense and looks like she just decided to yeet herself.
Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth
I really didn’t care for Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth. I felt this version of the character was pretty boring and seemed to have no substance or relation to what was going on in the scenes. He never seemed upset or at all like the book character. And of course a big chunk is off because there are no secrets in this adaption like in the book.
I also didn’t feel as if Jarvis really fit in the regnecy times. He seemed out of place to me, as if he was not really apart of his surroundings.
Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot
I haven’t really seen Dakota Johnson in that many things so I can’t really attest to her acting but in this it was deplorable. A major portion of it has to do with her being the main character and pushing the film forward, but the script was terrible. Like Jarvis, I feel the bigger problem was that she never seemed to really inhabit the scenery as well.
Also her character is terrible. She’s trying so hard to be the “quirky” girl but it feels so out of place. They also made a majority of her character like little wine memes; basically this was her in a nutshell “It’s always wine o’clock”, “don’t give a carafe”, “wine not”, etc. She drank way too much, that is basically all she does-drink and fall down. She looks and acts like she needs to get help as she can barely function and cannot without alcohol.
In conclusion, I don’t care how much Netflix is trying to convince me this movie was “good”, I feel this is one of the worst Austen adaptations I have ever seen.
10 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)
10 Years! I can’t believe it. I wasn’t even sure if I’d still be blogging all these years later when I started; but here I am.
I want to say thank you to all of you who have been a part of my blogging journey these past 10 years! I also want to say a special thank you to some of the people who have been big supporters!
A.M.B, ashwillbiologist, Audra’s Book Blogging, Belle, Bibliophile89, caite92lovelythoughts, Christina Boyd, Christina Morland, Countess Parure, Elaine Howlin, Elsie Wells, JASNA EWANID, Jessica Ware, Karen M. Cox, Joy Thompson, lenoremarie34, Lost Opinions, MadsenCreations, Melody Faris, Middle Hyrule, Modesto Jane Con, Ms. Austen is My Homegirl, Northanger Soapworks, Ophelia, the Pretty Poems, ps_hansen_writes, P. S. I Love Rom Coms Podcast, SewMelissaWrites, Sophia Rose, Susan Joy Clark, Tom Austin, What the Austen, and everyone else who has read, liked, or commented!
And to celebrate, as usual, I decided to watch + review Austenland (2013) with my 14 year old niece.
I’m still not sure if this is helping to convert her to liking Jane Austen, but I’m still hoping!
This year I had planned to watch and review Pride and Prejudice (2005) but we only had a few weeks with her and even then we ran out of time. It was the night before she had to leave to return home and I needed a shorter Jane Austen film to watch. I ran through the minutes of the different Jane Austen adaptions and the shortest one is Mansfield Park (2007), but if we watched
that then I might turn her off from Austen altogether.
So I quickly cast a wider net, and discovered that Austenland is only 97 minutes. Not only does it work best time-wise but it is one of my favorites.
Jane Hayes is a giant Jane Austen fan and decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending. Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her own story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams? Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?
This won’t be a full review as I reviewed it last Sunday, but you can read the full review by clicking here. Instead this will just my niece and mine’s thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.
Okay so here we go…
In the beginning of the film we are introduced to our main character, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell). She loves Jane Austen, even wanting to watch Pride and Prejudice (1995) when her boyfriend is trying to get close to her.
G: (Boyfriend tries to kiss Jane) Hahaha. Denied.
Yup, nothing gets between a girl and her Darcy.
Present life isn’t going so well at the moment as her ex-boyfriend hits on her and harasses her.
G: (Ex-boyfriend slaps Jane’s butt) OMG! That loser
Me: I know, right!
Jane decides to take the plunge and go to Austenland.
G: Austenland seems like fun. We should go. Is it real?
Me: No. I wish though. I would have my bags packed in a moment.
Jane makes it to Austenland but finds a few surprises. She does not get be vacation of her dreams
G: Miss Erstwhile? (Makes scrunched “ew” face)…Oooh she has the basic package. Omg! Look at her hair!
Me: I know it is so severe.
We met Elizabeth Charming on the way to Austenland but as we spend more and more time with her she quickly become my niece’s favorite. And how could she not with lines like this
MissElizabeth Charming: I sure would like you to turn me upside down in the garden
Miss Elizabeth Charming: Is there something in my eye? (Shoves Mr. Nobley into her breasts)
G: She’s my favorite character.
She also likes Mr. Nobley!!!! Yay!!!
G: [Looking at Mr. Nobley] Isn’t he the guy from that other movie we watched?
Me: Yes, he was Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey.
G: He’s cute!
Me: He is indeed!
As things get worse for Jane she gets lonely and starts to get close to Martin.
G: Uuuuhh! No!
And when they kiss…
G: No!!! What about Mr. Nobley!! Get with Mr. Nobley!!!!
But Martin and Jane are not destined to stay together and a new guy comes in to town, Captain East.
G: He [Captain East] looks like the guy in Criminal Minds.
Me: Shermer Moore?
G: If that’s the guy who plays Derek. Then yeah.
Jane is to be sent home for bringing a cell phone but is saved by Miss Amelia Heartwright, another lady at Austenland (and a platinum patron) who takes the fall for her. In return Amelia asks Jane to help her to get with Captain East. Amelia tries to be covert, but just looks silly.
G: [Laughing at Amelia] She runs so funny!
They decide to hold a theatrical and Jane picks Mr. Nobley so that Amelia and East can be together. She and Mr. Nobely have a moment.
Jane Hayes: You’re the resident Mr. Darcy. C’mon you’re every girl’s fantasy.
Mr. Nobley: So I’m your fantasy?
They do the play and it is terrible. Elizabeth Charming shoots Amelia in the eye, they all “die” terribly, and it is just laughable.
G: [Laughing] Why is Captain East taking off his shirt?!
Jane and Nobely have a romantic moment and she promises him the first dance at the ball. The next night they go to the ball and Nobley confesses his love to her, but she rejects him for Martin.
G: No this can’t be the end! She chose him [Martin] over Nobley?!! The country stable boy and granny hopper?!!
The next day Jane is going to go home when she is stopped at the airport by Martin and Mr. Nobley. She declines both of them and returns home. While back in her apartment she receives a visitor, Mr. Nobley, who traveled all the way from England to bring her, her sketchbook.
My niece’s final conclusion? She loved it!!!! In fact she was a lot less vocal about this movie than the others as she was so engrossed. I definitely recommend this film for anyone to watch as it is so well done, but it’s also great for people you are trying to introduce to Jane Austen.
The 10th anniversary is tin, aluminum, or diamonds. As usual I look through the past years and try to find some posts that fit that theme. They aren’t my favorite posts, but the first ones I could find that fit the theme.
So thank you all for the past 10 years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!
And a very special thank you to all who follow, comment, like, subscribe, etc. I wish I could mention you all by name, but even though I can’t, as it would be a really long list, just know I appreciate you all!!