I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

9 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)

And to celebrate, I decided to watch + review Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 year old niece.

Last year my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995). The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun. So I thought, why not bring it back with one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. And I’m still trying to convert my niece to Jane Austen.

I don’t know if she will like it, but she enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, so I’m confident she won’t hate it.

At least I’m hoping she is!

I will give a quick synopsis for those who have never sent the film or read the book. Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is kind of a parody of gothic novels and a saltire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, of which one son she finds delightful and handsome, Mr. Tilney. She also has another man vying for her affections, a more crude and brutish man, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home Northanger Abbey and wonders if there is a dark secret there. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?

Hmm…

So this won’t be a full review as last October I reviewed the film for my Horrorfest IX and you can click on the link and read my full review. Instead this will just be our thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

So the film starts off with the great quote from the beginning of the novel:

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.”

Northanger Abbey

I love that quote. I feel it right away connects you to Catherine as most of us are just average people.

G: What’s a heroine?

Me: A female hero.

The film then progresses to talking about Cathrine more how she was plain and more interested in boy’s things than girls, but around 15 she started to care more about her appearance and other things. Her parents were known to say:

“Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl—she is almost pretty today…”

Northanger Abbey

G: Don’t lie to her.

Ouch!

My niece can be really mean sometimes. I think Felicity Jones is so cute and very pretty.

I also love that quote to “be almost pretty”:

G: Her little sister is so annoying.

Me: Yeah the little sister is very sassy.

So as the film progresses, the Allen’s ask Catherine to come along with them. We both agreed that we wished we had a family friend who wouldn’t ask us on a vacation like that. I mean at least my niece has me, but I wish I had had someone do that for me when I was young.

Sigh!

So in between the action with Catherine every time she reads she imagines herself in the book and we have a dream or imagination while reading sequence. I really like this, but my niece was not a fan.

G: This is weird.

So Catherine and Co. arrive in Bath and when they go out the next day they run into Mr. Tilney.

G: Is that the guy she’s gonna end up with?

Wow, she was sharp. At least she’s not opposed to him like she was to Colonel Brandon last year. But then again who could ever resist JJ Feild?

G: I really like their [Mrs. Allen and Catherine] dresses.

I totally agree, as even though Catherine isn’t the wealthiest Austen heroine, nor the poorest, I like her dresses the most.

I love how Mr. Tilney is able to clear the room for the ladies with a glare. He’s like get out of the way, this table is for the ladies!

So as Catherine dances with Mr. Tilney, she notices another man watching her and questions Mr. Tilney about him.

“Catherine: [Puzzled] Why does he look at us?

Mr. Tilney: I imagine he likes what he sees.

Catherine: [Incredulous] You don’t mean me?”

G: No duh!

Yeah, Catherine is pretty naive. Although in her defense she’s never really been called pretty before so it is easy not to see it in yourself.

Mr. Tilney decides to sassy and sarcastic (as usual):

“Mr. Tilney: So, tell me, what will you write in your journal tonight? ‘Friday, went to the Lower Rooms, wore my sprigged muslin dress with blue trimmings, and looked very pretty, though I say so myself. Danced with one man, was stared at by another much more handsome.”

Me: Who do you think is more handsome, Mr. Tilney or him? [points to Mr. Thorpe]

G: Not him [points to Thorpe], he looks weird. I like that other guy, what’s his name? Christopher?

Me: Mr. Tilney, Henry Tilney.

I’m all about that Henry!

We have another dream sequence and at first G wasn’t into it, but then we started talking about how we act when we read.

G: I like to imagine myself as a character or create my own.

Me: Me too.

Look at that, we both be Catherine Morlands.

The next day Mrs. Allen and Catherine are out and they run into Mrs. Thorpe and Isabella Thorpe.

G: She [Isabella] looks mean.

Me: Well, she’s not a nice. And look at her dress, during the day ladies wore a fichu or lace to cover themselves and only at night would wear something so low cut, but Isabella is not following the rules.

The next day the girls are out checking to see if Mr. Tilney is still visiting the Upper Rooms. They don’t see his signature and leave, being followed by two men. The men go a different way and instead of steering away, Isabella wants to cross paths with them again.

G: She wants to run into those men, that’s why she has her boobs out.

Isabella is definitely on the prowl!

They run into James Morland (Catherine Morland’s brother) and John Thorpe (Isabella’s brother). James is super into Isabella and John tries to get with Catherine.

G: John Thorpe looks so crazy! Hes so creepy.

Me: It is because he has such a heavy brow.

G: Yeah but it is the way he stares at her, with his eyes-it is so crazy [mimics John Thorpe].

Me: Yeah, he makes me think of those tiktok videos when they say do you want to look creepy? Then lower your head and look up with your eyes.

G: He does!

That night they go to a dance and Mr. Tilney arrived with a woman in tow.

G: [Screams]…oh it’s his sister.

The two spend the time talking and make plans to go walking the next day. The only problem is, John Thorpe has other plans. John starts with “I think I saw them leaving”, with Isabella backing him up, then he insists that in this brief passage in the street from far away that he heard them saying they will be gone.

Me: Do you hear that, first he asks Catherine does Mr. Tilney have a certain type of horses and then he’s all I heard them say they will be gone all day. Such a liar!

G: Mmhmm.

Catherine insists they wouldn’t act that way, but then her brother interjects and makes her doubt herself.

“James Morland: My dear scatter-brained sister, haven’t you just heard him say they’re halfway to Wick Rocks?”

G: Shut up James! You’re supposed to be on my side!

Me: I know, right! James is so awful, look how he talks to her.

John Thorpe goes off in his phaeton with Catherine and who should they see as they go down the way.

“Catherine Morland: [Sees Mr. Tilney and Miss Tilney] Oh, Miss Tilney! [To Mr. Thorpe] Stop! Stop now! It’s Miss Tilney and her brother!

John Thorpe: There’ll be hell to pay if I tried to stop him now!

Catherine Morland: Please stop, Mr Thorpe! I’ll get down! I will!

John Thorpe: It’s not possible!

Catherine Morland: Oh!

John Thorpe: Whoa, there!

Catherine Morland: How could you deceive me so?

John Thorpe: Well, what if I did?

G: Boom! I would smack him!

Me: He definitely needs a punch in the face.

G: Get Out and Run, Catherine!

Me: She should! But she won’t as he manipulates her into feeling bad that if she leaves her brother and Isabella, they can’t ride together.

They get rained on, served them right. And the next day they go to the opera where John Thorpe tries to be romantic and fails.

“John Thorpe: Damn fine-looking woman. [To Catherine] But she’s nothing to you, you know.

G: I don’t care!

Ugh, John Thorpe!

Ugh…this guy

Catherine goes to talk to the Tilneys after the opera performance and apologizes. Mr. Tilney tries to act cool, but you know he was probably driving Eleanor up the wall with his heartbroken.

G: You’re [John Thorpe] nothing to him [Mr. Tilney]

A couple days later Catherine learns of James and Isabella’s engagement. John Thorpe tries to ask Catherine, sort of.

“John Thorpe: Miss Morland, I, too, must take my leave for the present, just for the present. I’m going to accompany James to Fullerton, and then onto town to help him choose a ring.

G: I’m not going to miss you.

Me: I know, right.

“John Thorpe: Perhaps I might look for one for myself while I’m there. Do you think I should?”

G: No!

So the men leave and the next time they go to a ball, Isabella states she will not dance with anyone. However, Mr. Tilney’s older brother, the rogue, enters the scene.

“Mr. Tilney: Miss Morland, allow me to introduce my brother, Captain Tilney.

Captain Tilney: [Dismissive] Charmed. [Moves away from them]

Mr. Tilney: Don’t let my brother’s ill manners offend you. That’s how he is, I’m afraid. He was ill-mannered as a baby.

Even though Isabella wasn’t supposed to be dancing as her “love” is away, she dances with Captain Tilney.

Catherine ends up being asked to go visit Northanger Abbey. We both wished we could go to a castle.

Please pick me.

On Catherine’s last day in Bath she and Isabella go to the Upper Rooms. There Isabella hangs out with Captain Tilney.

G: Are they [Isabella and Captain Tilney] dating now?

Me: Just watch.

Catherine then travels to Northanger Abbey which is awesome and mysterious and I really, really, really want to go there one day.

G: I wish I could go to a castle. I want everyone to know the princess that I am.

So at Northanger Abbey Catherine spends a lot of fun time with the Tilneys, especially once General Tilney leaves on business. One thing Catherine had wanted to see was the portrait of Mrs. Tilney, but General Tilney kept them from the room. When Mr. Tilney goes away, Catherine takes the time to search in the room.

G: Why are we snooping around?

I alsways feel embarrassed when Catherine does this but I totally would want to do the same. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilney catches her and as you can imagine it doesn’t go well.

Catherine become even more upset when she gets a letter from her brother James who has ended his engagement as Isabella was trying to get with Captain Tilney, he has left Bath believing the two to be engaged although Eleanor does not believe her brother will, he’s not into commitment.

G: It’s because of all those low cut dresses she wore.

Then Catherine gets a letter from Isabella. Isabella tried to trade up but nothing came of it as Captain Tilney is not into commitment.


”Catherine Morland: I wish I had never known her.

Eleanor Tilney: It will soon be as if you never had.

Catherine Morland: There is one thing I can’t understand. What has Captain Tilney been about all this time? Why should he pay her such attentions and then fly off himselr?

Eleanor Tilney: He has his vanity, as well as Miss Thorpe. And he is accustomed to…having his way. Though I am surprised he should have stooped to such an easy conquest.

Catherine Morland: Really? Then I am sorry for Isabella.

Eleanor: I am sure she will be over it soon enough. “

Oh, Eleanor is just throwing shade.

So the film ends with Catherine being sent home with no escort. She doesn’t cause a scene as she thinks that Mr. Tilney told his father what she thought about him murdering his wife. After she returns home, Mr. Tilney comes after her and declares his love in the most romantic way! It is such a great scene!

So after the movie ended I asked her thoughts:

Me: Did you like it? What did you think?

G: It was good.

Me: Did you like it better than Sense and Sensibility?

G: Hmm…I don’t know.

Me: Which guy do you like the best. One of the guys from Sense and Sensibility or Mr. Tilney.

G: I don’t remember what they looked like.

Me: This one is Mr. Ferrars, Elinor’s love interest [Shows picture of Hugh Grant]. And then the other guy was the actor who played Snape.

G: Snape??!

Me: Yes, Snape.

G: I liked this guy better. I think he was cuter.

Yay! She likes Mr. Tilney and she liked the movie. My work here is done…at least for now.

If interested in a full review, click on this link. Otherwise thank you for 9 wonderful years! Happy Blogiversary!

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) With My 12 Year Old Niece

Now what is an anniversary without presents!

The 9th anniversary it is pottery, wood, or willow wood. Let’s see what I can find as a gift on here, I’ll try to see if I can find something from every year …

For “pottery” we have a Jane Austen/Harry Potter post from 2014

For “wood” I have a post on Emma Woodhouse from 2015:

Another “wood” piece is my review of Emma [Woodhouse] (1996) AKA The Kate Beckinsale Version from 2016

Some more “wood” is the wooden ship Captain Wentworth has and my 5th blogiversary post from 2017

For “pottery” how about a pot of tea? (Post from 2018)

Another “wood” is my review of Rational Creatures: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. These two are “Self-Composed” by Christina Morland and “Every Past Affliction” by Nicole Clarkston (From 2019)

For more “wood” some Sense & Senchability tea the Dashwood sisters would love! (from 2020)

So thanks for the past nine years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

Yay!

And a special thank you to all who follow me:

Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

So Modesto Jane Con was this past weekend. From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

I, unfortunately, could only go on Saturday, but I had so much fun and I can’t wait until the next one! If there is a next one…

So your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

I dressed up for the event (I’ll post on that later) and brought a reticule my sister made. Reticules are tiny, so I couldn’t pack everything in my bag-just the essentials. Debit card, credit card, ID, fan, gloves, pens, glasses (as I was wearing contacts) and a handkerchief. I wasn’t too worried about the size of the reticule though, as I had planned on purchasing one of their cute tote bags.

I also brought my notebook, as I planned on taking notes and later posting them (as I am now).

Our group was traveling from 1.5-2 hours away (depending on that CA traffic) and left around seven and arrived a little after 8:30. We actually headed to the theater as I was looking at the wrong event. You know me and navigating, I always get lost!

I then redirected our group, and we went to the library. We easily checked in and finished just as they announced the first workshop: Gowns & Groans

So of course, we were excited about this workshop. We wanted to learn more about the Regency gowns and who can resist the chance to snark about costumes?

Let the snark begin!

This workshop was run by Kristine Doiel and Hillari DeSchane

“Costumes have a coded language all their own. They can transport us back to Austen’s time and speak volumes about the characters, or they can be a constant distraction and prevent us from losing ourselves in the unfolding drama. Join veteran costumer Kristine Doiel on a lively, and likely to be controversial, stroll through this Regency costume Hall of Fame and Shame.”

Kristine Doiel is a costume designer and theater educator with over 50 theater and dance productions to her credit. A lecturer at Fresno State since 2017, she has taught costume and theater classes and mentored student designers. Awards include the UC Davis Provost’s Fellowship in Arts, the Princess Grace Foundation Theater Grant and a Dramalogue Award for costume design for The Rivals in Santa Barbara.

Hillari DeSchane is a JASNA life member and a board member of Opera Modesto. Her pre-show opera talks have become audience favorites. DeSchane’s first Regency pet cozy: A Christmas Tail: A Regency Holiday Mystery received a Certificate of Merit from the Cat Writers Association hillarideschane.com

Picture by Arnold Chavez

So Doiel started off the workshop talking about her background; moved onto the judging of the film depictions, finished with her experiences in costuming the Mansfield Park Opera, and concluded with a Q&A.

Part I: Doiel’s Background

Doiel shared that didn’t have a background in Regency wear, and had to do research on it-being an archeologist, literary analyst, and art historian all in one. I enjoyed this aspect of her talk as you don’t really think about that when watching a film or performance, that not only do the clothes have to be accurate-but they have to reflect the action of the scene, the context of the characters, and the literature of the piece.

That’s a lot

It reminded me of when I studied art history and how you looked at the art and what it was saying, but at the same time also looked into what was happening at the time and how that influenced it. There are many layers you have to work through-such as a self portrait of an artist wearing red, blue, and white takes on a different meaning when it was created post-French revolution, such as to show liberty, fraternity, that is one of the new citizens, etc.

Part II: Gowns & Groans

The next part of the discussion was Doiel reviewing the clothing choices in Mansfield Park (1999), Mansfield Park (2007), and Pride and Prejudice (1940).

So to start with, I do not like Mainsfield Park (1999). 

Not for me..

Eventually I will review it, but as for now-we will get back to the clothes.

Gowns:

Doiel felt that quite a bit of the costumes in here were accurate. Lady Bertram wore flimsy, lacy gowns that looked like something the wealthy class would wear, but older-late 1700s and post-French Revolution. It fits as Lady Bertram wouldn’t be at the height of fashion, but wearing something more her time. Maria, Julia, and the men were all accurate.

Groans:

So here is the good part, let’s start talking trash! J/K, Doiel was very kind in her remarks, trying to not be too judgmental and try to reason why a certain outfit would have been picked.

The first offender: Fanny Price played by Frances O’Conner

So in this Fanny wears a lot of what looks like a jumper or vest over a shirt. This is not accurate at all. Instead the film, which is one reason why I can’t stand it, doesn’t follow the book at all when it comes to Fanny’s character. Instead, they turn Fanny into Jane Austen, and emphasize the writing aspect, dressing her in this more masculine, “writing type” outfit. I call it a “writing type” outfit as when I saw this the first time it made me think of Jo in the 1933 version and she was a writer. It also is similar to what Jo wears in the 2019 version of Little Women.

The other offender: Mary Crawford.

All of Mary’s clothes were too contemporary. I mean look at the dress above, it is something that we were wearing at the start of the millennium, rather than 185 years earlier. remember wearing sleeves like that on my clothes.

She also has an outfit with a giant collar, that is just what? Doiel pointed out that the person in charge of wardrobe would have the resources and done the research on what was accurate and somebody (whether them, the studio, actor, or the director) picked this for a purpose. Doiel didn’t know why, but guessed that either the director or actor wanted something more modern to relate to audiences.

Mary’s outfits definitely were the worst.

So Mansfield Park (2007) is not the most accurate of films, as they cut a lot out to keep it at standard movie time length-however I am apparently one of the few that actually enjoys it.

Gowns: 

She didn’t talk about any she liked as it was time to move onto the next section.

Groans:

The offender here was Billie Piper as Fanny Price.

So Doil noticed that Piper wore a wide range of styles and thought maybe it was so varied as the production wanted her to be wearing hand-me-down gowns. There is a diamond dress that she wears that is completely inaccurate to the time period. Also her hair is one hundred percent wrong, as it is too modern, and she would have had it pinned up as she isn’t a young child. I think that is an interesting comment in light of the Emma Vogue photo shoot. 

The other outfit that Doiel pointed out as wrong was the white wedding dress Fanny wears at the end of the film. White wedding dresses only became popular after Queen Victoria, prior to that they were colored dresses. I disagreed with this as I thought the white dress was more a comment on Fanny’s innocence, sweetness, and morality versus being white to be in with what is in fashion today. I mean, after all this takes place after an affair, a love proved false, and all the manipulations by the Crawfords. Plus, it is a foil to Maria’s dress who had opulence (check out that hat) and color, Fanny’s being plain not because of what she was forced to wear (as I am sure Sir Thomas would have bought her a different dress), but a testament to her character. But that’s just my thoughts…

The last one we looked at was Pride and Prejudice (1940) a film I love, but apparently a lot do not.

Gowns:

Nothing was accurate.

Groans:

The film was set in the 1830s instead of the Regency period and no one quite knows why. Some say it was because Gone With the Wind was so popular and they wanted to use costumes like that. Others say it was because the Regency gowns seemed too plain. Others believe it was more cost effective to use these gowns than create new ones. Doiel thought that they might have picked such extravagant costumes as England was having to o with sparse materials, “mend and make do” as the slogan goes, and seeing such fun fabric and opulence would raise spirits. I don’t know if we will ever know…

Hmmm

Doiel said that she felt that this style works for Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, and Lydia as it is extravagant, frivolous, oversized, and fits their characters.

However, with Elizabeth, it works against her.

*Sigh* Laurence Olivier looks great, but he is wearing pants instead of breeches (as are the other men (see below on the view of pants) and Colonel Fitzwilliam wears a kilt (?).

That’s where we ended, although I wished they had discussed Mansfield Park (1983) as that one has some doozies in choices. I mean look at their hair.

From left to right: Edmund Bertram, Mary Crawford, and Mr. Yates

Part III: Costuming Mansfield Park, the Opera

So Doiel said that when costuming something that takes place in the past, buying the right type of fabric can be a problem. You need something that looks right on stage, fits together as a whole (in color and style), and needs to be accurate as to something they would wear.

Doiel did say that she was fortunate in this Opera to be able to reuse costumes from an earlier production, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley that had been done in December 2019.

She brought swatches in of the different fabrics for each characters costumes, and me and my group really liked that. We all enjoyed the closeup look and when we watched the performance later in the day, looked at the costumes and remembered what we had seen earlier in the workshop. We also loved that her mom, who helped her sew and cut things out, was there. It was so sweet how she helped hand out the swatches and supported her. I had tried to take a picture of the one for Fanny, but the people in my row wanted me to pass it along and the pic came out blurry.

But Lynne Marcus, one of the organizers from Modesto Jane Con, sent me a pic a friend of hers took.

Doiel’s favorite dress of the production was the gray number that Mary Crawford wears in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. It was originally worn by Anne de Bourgh in the Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. I tried to get a good picture, but this was all I got.

She also loved the Navy suit that Edmund wears as she made it.

Part IV: Q & A

Doiel ended the session by answering questions and talking about Regency wear. Breeches were standard menswear. Pants, or pantaloons as they were called, were not to be worn by the upperclass. They were said to cause a scandal because they showed everything too well-even though in reality breeches showed more. But you know how I feel about that!

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

She said that pants were worn only by the lower class workers, so wearing them was seen as trashy.

Someone asked about the muslin we have today versus then, and she said it is different. The muslin sold in stores today is mostly white and work wear, instead of dress wear. Back in the Regency period it would be block printed, decorated, different colors, and came from India. The muslin was semi-sheer and lightweight, like cotton. Of course whenever I think of Muslin I think of:

India greatly influenced what people wore-in colors, patterns, and of course ladies adopting the use of a pashmina. I had noticed that when I was trying to find something to wear to Jane Con.

From Emma (1996)

Women and men always wore gloves when going out of the house. Doiel mentioned how they weren’t doing that in the Opera as it was too difficult with all the clothing changes. That means that that hand clench scene in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice never should have happened as both Darcy and Elizabeth should have been wearing gloves.

One woman asked about lace, and lace was very in fashion. It came from India or France (probably not as much from France at this time as England and France had been fighting) and was used on hemlines and sleeves.

My book club + sister really enjoyed this discussion. We wished that Doiel had judged the costumes a bit more, (as who doesn’t like a good rip ?), but understood that she was trying to be fair.

We loved that she stayed on topic-discussing only the clothes instead of the actual films. We would have liked to hear her thoughts on more films or more on costuming the show, but understood we only had an hour and had to be a bit limited to have enough time to cover everything.

DeSchane did a great job moderating the workshop, with her interesting questions and keeping an eye on how much time we had.

We loved it and learned a lot. In fact, later we watched the 1983 Mansfield Park and discussed what we learned in this when we looked at the costumes.

This workshop.

For more on Regency clothes, go to Muslin: The Fabric of Jane’s Life

For more Mansfield Park, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more on Jane Austen, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

I Only Read Pride and Prejudice Because I Hated the Keira Knightley Adaptation

Yes, it’s the bomb that wrecked the Internet. The hate mail and unhappy comments will be abounding. Oh well. All I ask is that you finish the review before writing them.

So this marks the seventh year of my blogging JaneAustenRunsMyLife and I’ve been thinking, it is about time I share how I got into Jane Austen.

So the first Austen-related thing I was involved in, was watching Sense and Sensibility (1995). I think I was 7 or 8 at the time, and I came into the living room and my mom was watching it. It was at the part when Marianne and Willoughby are going off in the carriage together. I watched a bit but then went off to do whatever it was I was doing before.

My sister read Pride and Prejudice in school and when I asked her what it was about, all I heard was “mother trying to marry five daughters…” and stopped listening. Romance?! Ugh. I was not about that and books that were only about people getting married. Ew! (Which P&P is not)

You see I was into mysteries-Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, etc-and “important” classics like Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Wilkie Collins, etc. Pride and Prejudice, no way.

Me, read Pride and Prejudice?

I know I was a snob.

No.

And of course-gothic fiction. I had read Wuthering Heights, The Phantom of the Opera, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.

So time passed and nothing could tempt me into reading Jane Austen. We even had a lady in our church who “adopted” us as her grandchildren and bought a beautiful copy of Little Women and Pride and Prejudice for my sister and I. I already had my beloved copy of Little Women (I know I owned and repeatedly read it and didn’t consider it girly. Why? I don’t know. I was working off teen logic which doesn’t always make sense), and decided to take the Pride and Prejudice as my goal was to read all the classics. But did I read it? NO. I put it on my stacks of to-read books and forgot all about it.

So what finally got this stubborn, obstinate girl to change her mind? A sleepover.

When I was 15 going on sixteen (circa 2007) we had a church girl’s sleepover. Now granted, I was not in a good mood that day. I was bummed that the boys were doing their own sleepover and making potato guns while we did something I found really boring. I can’t remember what it was we did, I just remember wanting to make a potato gun.

It came for the time of the movie and I was not jazzed as the last time the assistant youth leader, Allie, picked-she chose Master of Disguise. 

Or saw. Just a stupid movie altogether.

There were two choices of films and I can’t remember the one I really wanted to watch and argued long and hard for-but I lost to Pride and Prejudice (2005).

I’m angry with you.

I was totally bummed and we started watching it. From the very start I was not happy.

WHAT!!!!

First of all I do not like Keira Knightley as an actress. I don’t think she’s that good as I feel she is the same in every film. To me a talented actor should make you forget who they are, but think they are the character they are portraying. So of course being an emotional teenager I couldn’t stand her.

As an actress not a person.

I didn’t care for anything else in it and to top it all off I could not understand anything they were saying or follow the film.

Now I have hearing loss in one of my ears, but I didn’t know that at the time. When I was a baby I had constant ear infections, so bad they wanted to put tubes in my ears but my doctor gave me a shot and I was good until 2015, when I got an ear infection but still saw Avengers 2: Age of UltronI had to go in that same year and do a hearing test and discovered that one of my ears is damaged from all those ear infections. So when I’m in an environment where there is a lot going on, such as a lot of people talking, it is really hard for me to hear. And when I watch TV or movies something about the volume always bothers me. Either it isn’t loud eough or it is too loud. So I was already upset and then it was probably my hearing problems.

Whatever it was, I was angry, upset, and I hated this film-with the frigid storm of hate that no one but a teen can give.

Anyways, I kept asking what was happening and just completely hating on this film when Allie said to me, “You just aren’t used to the accents. If you watch British dramas you would understand it.”

Oh no. Heck no, those are fighting words. I was deeply offended at that! You see I’ve been watching Masterpiece Mystery, BBC, and others on PBS since before I was born. English accents don’t bother me none.

Don’t mess with me!

She offended me so much I stopped watching the dreaded movie and spent the rest of the night reading in a corner. The next day I resolved to read Pride and Prejudice.

So of course, the first step I had to root through my pile of to-read and began.

As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked! I felt like Isola Pribby in The Guersney Potato Peel and Literary Society. How come no one told me that there were other men to go ape for besides the brooding Heathcliff and romance that is better than the way Cathy treats him.

Why?

To be honest, my sister did try. I just didn’t listen.

After that little taste it was over for me.

I was hooked on Austen.

I then had to watch every version of Pride and Prejudice-discovering that I had seen the Laurence Olivier version earlier when I was watching anything Olivier-related. He’s such a beautiful man.

So most people want to be Elizabeth, and friends said I was like her in some ways-however, I connected much more with Mr. Darcy, you know except the rich part.

When I finished P&P I then moved on to Sense and Sensibility. I took it along with me for my friend’s Sixteenth Birthday sleepover getaway and we ended up having Jane Austen pop up in more than one conversation.

I then watched all the Sense and Sensibility adaptations as well.

Mansfield Park was next and a little harder to get through. I liked Fanny but I really wanted her to punch Mrs. Norris in the face and was disappointed she didn’t. I mean I knew she wouldn’t do a physical punch, but was hoping for a verbal one.

I watched all the film versions of it that I could get my hands on, which wasn’t many as it is a hard one to get.

Then I tried to read Emma, but she kind of annoyed me and I skipped, planning to come back to it later, for Northanger Abbey,  which I just adored. I loved, loved, LOVED, this book. I adored Catherine as that was me!! I was such a tomboy growing up! I loved Gothic fiction! I had an overactive imagination! I loved that no one expected her to be heroine, but she became one. I loved the whole girl reads books and then has an adventure right out of a story. AMAZING! And I loved Mr. Tilney.

I did the same with the films-although I prefer the Felicity Jones and JJ Feild one to all others!

Then Persuasion, so romantic and sweet. I’m really bummed that Persuasion and Northanger Abbey get passed over so much. Persuasion  is slowly climbing it’s way out of obscurity, but doesn’t get the love it deserves.

I then watched all these adaptions as well.

I think this was from theotherausten.tumblr

I began to talk different, act different, dress different. You know how it goes. Watching all those films and reading those books your speech is extremely affected.

My first Jane Austen meme!

You’re view of the world changes:

My second Austen meme!

Your idea of the perfect man changes:

My sister used to poke fun at me, but I didn’t care.

Your life is consumed:

So I know, you are thinking-what about Emma. I decided to watch it, since I was struggling with the main character, and in the middle of watching it-I realized…Emma is Clueless.

After that-no problem at all. I LOVED Emma and how unique she was to the other Austen characters and women of her time.

Read it, loved it (some of my earliest posts were on it), and watched every adaptation I could.

So there we go, my Austen addiction all started because I couldn’t stand a certain adaptation and I was offended that someone thought couldn’t follow British films. Looking back on it, it all seems so petty. But hey, that’s what teens are right?

I then started a blog back in 2011-12 and then couldn’t find it as the title was too generic. I decided to create a new one and that’s how JaneAustenRunsMyLife was born. I mean it’s not that my friends or family don’t like listening to me, but if you have been following you know that when I like something, I really like it and love to talk about it. Sometimes making it annoying for those who don’t care about it as much as me, or who really don’t care about it at all.

And I know, you are all wondering-do I still hate Pride and Prejudice (2005)?

Do you?

I wouldn’t say I hate it, but I don’t like it. It is my least favorite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Pigs in the house? What? And why did they try and make them look dirty all the time? They were ladies!! And discount-Orlando Bloom who plays Wickham has no charm. However, I do think that their Mr. Collins was good, I liked how Matthew Macfayden and Simon Woods interacted with each other…and that will all have to wait for a review on another day.

So this marks seven years, and the seventh anniversary is wool. Hmm…what should I give myself? I always try to choose pictures from through the years. How about a Mr. Darcy in a wool coat?

Mr. Tilney in a wool coat:

Or Judd Nelson in a wool sweater from Making the Grade Valentine’s Day post:

How about a wool coat and scarf from Sherlock as well.

Ready for any case

How about a rugged Charlton Heston from The Ten Commandments anniversary post, in his wool coat.

There’s not enough wool coats, let’s throw Mr. Sinclaire in from Desire & Decorum

So thanks for the past seven years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

Yay!

In other news, I have decided to do a give away in honor of my 7th year. Now those of you who have been following me, know that after no one, and I mean literally 0, people entered my last one, I planned to never do one again.

But I decided to try again. I’m still putting it together and since “wool” is the theme of the 7th anniversary, I will be dropping it in the fall. So keep an eye out and of course, follow me on instagram, facebook, tumblr, twitter, or here on wordpress. And a special thank you to all who follow me:

For more anniversary posts, go to I Want Candy

 

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)

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers

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

You like to read her books:

And watch her movies:

But with only six completed and published books, sometimes you want more Austen stuff. There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read?

Hmm…

So I decided that I would do a series of reviews on books that are Non-Austen books, but ones I think Austen fans will love.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Mystery #1) by Tasha Alexander

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Someone to Care (Westcott Novel #4) by Mary Balogh

A Love for Keeps (Brides of Arkansas #1) by Janet Lee Barton

The Widow of Larkspur Inn (Gresham Chronicles #1) by Lawana Blackwell

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning

Homespun Bride (The McKaslin Clan Historical #2) by Jillian Hart

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kur Jaswal

Secrets of the Heart (The Ravensmoore Chronicles #1) by Jillian Kent

Julie by Catherine Marshall

Anna and the Duke (An Avon True Romance #3) by Kathryn Smith

A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano