So today is Valentine’s Day and the end of our postings. I always find this fun to do as we just focus on a romantic moment, which could be found in almost any film. Tradition is to end on an Austen themed film (I broke it once and I’m going to try to never do it again), so here we go with our last one on Austenland (which I have started watching every Valentine’s Day.
I LOVED these books, so when I saw they were making a movie I was so excited!
One day I will review the whole movie, but not today-today we are just focusing on a moment.
Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is a giant Jane Austen fan.
She 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 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?
So this moment comes at the end of the film. Jane took back her vacation, and had fun, gained confidence, and fell for Mr. Nobley (J.J. Feild). However, Martin returned (urgh!) and convinced her to join “reality” and she turns down Mr. Nobley’s declaration of love.
She ends her vacation and when she is speaking to Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the resort owner, she discovers that Martin was the actor, not Mr. Nobley. Mr. Nobley was brought in to fill some time while they waited for another actor to finish his series-Nobley was never scripted for Jane, he wasn’t scripted for anyone.
It turns out that what Mr. Nobley said was real, but Jane is so upset with Mrs. Wattlesbrook manipulations (and the fact that she wasn’t even seen as worthy to be paired with a gentleman) she can’t focus on that-made even more so when Martin and Nobley follow her to the airport.
Jane thanks Mr. Nobley and says good-bye, ready to head home and give up on her Jane Austen interest.
When she gets home she expects her friend to be over soon to talk about the trip, a knock does come-but when she opens the door it isn’t her friend-but Mr. Nobley!
He traveled all the way from England to give her-her sketchbook and tell her how much he loves her! OMGoodness!!!
He tells her that he is in love with her! “Could someone like me make you happy?”, and then says the line that makes my heart melt and brain turn to goo-“You are my fantasy”! Aw, it is just so romantic!!! Jane and Mr. Nobley both get their happy fairy tale ending!
Squee! I loved it!
Even more so, I love that this mimics Northanger Abbey, when Mr. Tilney comes after Catherine and tells her that he loves her:
Ad with both characters being played by the same actor, J.J. Feild? It makes my heart go into overtime.
So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Con’s and wishing I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.
But then there was a light in the darkness! On my instagram popped up a post about a Jane Con in Modesto! Modesto! I could go to Modesto!
No horror-glee and happiness instead!
From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!
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).
That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera-to of course post on them later (as I am now).
So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & Groans. After that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club.
I was excited for this workshop as there are so many adaptions of Pride and Prejudice, oh this will be so much fun! I mean you have a ton of Regency Darcys to choose from:
AND a ton of modern adaptions (and yes I know the above has a picture of Darcy from Bride and Prejudice. I didn’t make the image):
And let’s not forget-we aren’t just looking at Darcy. We are also trying to define the definitive Elizabeth.
This workshop was run by Erin E. Connor and Melissa Ruzika:
Why is Mr. Darcy such a big deal and why are we wild about Lizzie? Join JASNA Central California executive committee members Erin and Melissa as they delve into Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, and its three most popular film adaptions. Bring your own opinions and take sides in a friendly debate as to who is the definitive Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.
Erin E. Conor is a lifelong Jane Austen fan. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and serves as member-at-large on the Executive Committee for the Central California region of JASNA. Her favorite Austen novel is Emma, and her favorite Austen inspired film is Austenland.
Melissa Ruzika is a long time JASNA member and Central California Region Executive Committee member. Her knowledge of Jane Austen and her works is deep, and Melissa is known for being an acute observer of JA in popular culture with solid textual backing for her opinions.
Debate you say? Okay:
So one of the nicest things that Connor and Ruzika had with their workshops were handouts and a paddle with the Firth and Macfayden Darcys to engage the crowd in the debate in order so that everyone could be heard.
Connor and Ruzika started off with Historical Context, discussing what the Regency period was. You can click on the link above for more information, but a brief overview:
Crazy King George III (sorry I’m American) had to take a step down from ruling as he was suffering from a disease (believed to be porphyria) that made him mad, and his son had to become Prince Regent.
The Regency Period is believed to be 1795-1837, with the Prince Regent ruling from 1811-1820. When King George died in 1820, the Prince became King.
There was the Industrial Revolution in the North (Any North & South fans out there? It is set in the Victorian time period but shows the difference between the industrial North and the Countryside South extremely well.)
There was serious class division, with an emerging middle class (The Gardiners who reside in Cheapside
From there we got a quick overview of the book Pride and Prejudice as Connor & Ruzika had provided a handout from Playful Paths to Love and one from shmoop to give us a better idea on how rich Darcy would be today. We (book club, sister, and I) really loved that as while I am the serious Janeite, the rest of the group isn’t. One member of our group had never even read the book or seen any of the movies, only having read The Darcy Monologues for our book club. I’m not sure about the rest of the crowd, but I am certain that there had to be some others who were grateful for the refresher.
And even if you know the story frontwards and backwards, it is one that I never get tired of hearing.
We then had a brief discussion of Pride and Prejudice (1940), but they didn’t spend that much time on it. They later explained that they felt that not that many people have seen it (or liked it), and I understand time is limited.
But as we have time, I’m throwing the trailer in here. It may not be accurate, but still is a great film and the first P&P adaption I ever saw. Plus LAURENCE OLIVIER! *Sigh*
I wish we could have looked at all the depictions, but that would have taken too much time. Although I’d be down for it.
Anyways-we then moved onto the debate. Colin Firth versus Matthew MacFayden, Jennifer Ehle versus Keira Knightley, Simon Langton versus Joe Wright, BBC versus Universal, etc.
Fight, fight, fight! (from Jane Austen Fight Club)
So starting with the trailers:
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
So now that we have seen the trailers, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So after they discussed each facet they had us hold up our paddles to determine who won.
I’m in this photo.
Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who won each scene:
So I’ll just put my thoughts at the end.
Round 1: Mr. Collins, Tom Hollander Vs. David Bamber
I know a lot of people love that scene, and I admit that I love Hollander’s stone faced delivery, however, it never really struck me as much as it does everyone else.
For Bamber they showed him trying to dance. But the scenes that really sell me on Mr. Collins is when they are getting ready for the ball and he runs into Lydia, and the Mr. Collins wave. Those scenes are priceless!
IMO Winner: P&P (1995) David Bamber
Round 2: Sexy Darcy, Hand Clench Vs Firth in Bathtub & the Wet Shirt Scene
So the hand clench scene, I understand it but I don’t go crazy over it. First of all, as Doiel said in Gowns and Groans, they should have been wearing gloves. And not to be rude-but to me it always looks like his hand has a spasm. That’s just my view, if you love this scene then love it. I actually like this scene better.
So they started off with the Meryton Ball in 2005. Now I don’t really care for it as I am mostly distracted by how Caroline Bingley forgot to put a real dress on, she looks as if she is in a chemise not a gown. I never cared for how casual the Bennet sisters look as Mrs. Bennet most definitely would be wanting the girls to be more dressed up in order to snag a husband. It is lively, but I don’t care for the interactions between the characters:
Now the 1995 version is more subdued, but I like the costume choices better, and to me I like that it is concentrated on small scenes (Bingley & Jane along with Darcy & Elizabeth) with not so much going on in the background.
IMO Winner: P&P (1995)
Round 4: Romantic Aesthetic Vs. Accuracy
So Pride and Prejudice (2005) has a lot of romantic elements. You have these big scenic panoramas, Elizabeth on the cliff, Darcy and Elizabeth in the neoclassical building when he proposes (1st time), and the slow walk along the field in the early dawn (2nd proposal). This I personally don’t like, as Connor and Ruzika said, it is very Bronte-esque, but that is my biggest problem. Jane Austen is not Jane Bronte. And I really don’t like the scene where he finds her in the rain, as how did he know she would be there? And the field scene, they just happen to be there at the same time? Besides one of my favorite parts is at the end of the book when Mr. Darcy comes around with Bingley and Elizabeth is doing all she can to try and get his attention and figure out a way to talk to him, but is thwarted and unsure. And that longing and loss of hope-just gets me every time, will they get together ?!
And “Your hands are cold” I’ve always disliked that line as I feel it just kills the mood.
With me I love the accuracy of the mini-series, but of course there are things added in, like the Lake scene. But one of my favorite is when they are getting ready for the ball and the interaction between the sisters and Mr. Collins.
IMO Winner: P&P (1995)
Round 5: Bennet Family, “Behave Naturally” Vs. “Meet the Bennets”
So to get a view into the different relationships with the Bennet sisters, they used the “Behave Naturally” scene from P&P (2005). This is a great scene, even I love it.
The scene they chose from the P&P (1995) version is also a great scene. You really get the family dynamic in this one.
IMO Winner: Tie
Round 5: Darcy’s Flirtation, Sisterly Help Vs. Hungry Eyes
So with 2005, they chose the scene in which Elizabeth goes to Pemberley and meets Georgiana. It is a good scene as we get a new view of him from the servants, how he interacts with Georgiana, and that Darcy has been talking about her quite a bit with his sister. However, I have always hated Elizabeth skulking around and that peeping tom camera angle. I know it is partly because they had to combine different parts of the book for time limit, but her looking through the door gives me Norman Bates Psycho vibes.
For the 1995 version, they used a fan made video of Darcy staring and Hungry Eyes playing. That video is AMAZING but my favorite flirtation scene is when Darcy goes to see Elizabeth when she is staying at the Collins’ house, and Darcy comes to visit her and just stares or stares out the window because he doesn’t know what to say.
IMO Winner: P&P (1995)
So in my opinion there is a clear winner between Firth & Ehle versus Macfayden & Knightley:
But as for Jane Con? Everyone who had a paddle held it up and it came out to be 18-18
But then someone brought up the fact that not everyone had a paddle so they had us stand and count. The final result came out to be…………………………….
22-20 in favor of………
Yes Modesto Jane Con 2020 Declared Colin Firth as the Definitive Mr. Darcy.
So we all loved this workshop. They were fun, informative, interactive, and in the end we all could agree whether you love the 1995 or 2005 version, we all love Pride and Prejudice.
The only thing I would love more is if we looked at the other Darcy’s from films and TV shows, although I understand that wouldn’t be possible in one hour. I also would like to know who they think the worst Darcy is. I personally think it is the one in Austentatious (2015), which ugh, I still have to finish watching.
So you all know that I love Jane Austen, she’s the best.
So whenever I find anything that has to do with Austen I snag it.
So one day I was perusing the local bookstore on my day off. The day before had been an extremely hard day so I wanted something to help me feel better.
You know nothing makes me happier than reading.
As I was perusing the shelves, I spotted a book about Jane Austen and just had to purchase it and read it.
I then put it on my to-read pile and forgot all about it.
But as I was moving, I went through my to-read pile and had to read it.
Just Jane (Ladies of History #2) by Nancy Moser
So the book begins with Jane Austen as a young lady at a ball and her infatuation with Tom Lefroy, the man she based Mr. Darcy and Captain Fredrick Wentworth, going all the way to her death, following the completion of Persuasion.
The book is an intense delight and I recommend it for any Austen fan. Moser is able to blend the historical context, the quotes from her letters, and out it all together in a fun and intriguing narrative that I couldn’t stop reading.
We get to see inside Austen’s head, and view her process and take the path of her life and creation of her amazing books.
We get to experience her heartache, sadness, grief, etc. I love how Moser captures her essence as a girl trying to figure out her future, try to find love, find her place in her family, and worry about what she can do to help her household along with her as an author-the creative struggles, the pains and long journey of bringing an idea into a real novel, and the sorrows and joy of printing process.
We also get a great view of her family, the research done well and bringing certain things I had not known to my attention, and blogging of course.
Moser never claims that one fictional character is solely based on Austen or those she knows-instead she leaves it open to the reader as there is a delight in spotting what real life situations or people could be different characters or events that occur in the book.
It beautifully shows the Regency period, the things we see in films that makes us want to go back, along with detailing the realities that we are happy we no longer have to face.
There will be many posts that have come or will be coming in the future that have to do with something that caught my eye in the reading.
So once again, let me say-if you love Jane Austen and you want something that has life over just the facts, this book is for you. It was a great read and kept you wanting to see what happened next and read more about Jane’s real life and her family.
“Four, five people have been so honoured?’ She shook her head. ‘Tis deplorable, Jane. Hundred, yea even thousands, must enjoy your work.” pg 117
So do you all remember the film Big? Tom Hanks is a preteen that wishes to be “big” and becomes a 30-year old man?
He tries to find a Zoltar machine to change him back, but meanwhile works for a toy company to make money. Because of his childlike understanding, he moves straight to the top of the company.
Now his idea for a new toy is a computer game/book that you read but get to make choices as to what will happen next. Well Choices is that.
So a while back they had a preview for an Austenlike game Desire & Decorum
You know me and anything Austenlike or Austen related:
So as soon as it was avliable I decided to play:
You have the choice of being male or female and name. You can also customize your avatar and purchase extras if you want.
So the story is set in 1816 in the country village of Grovershire, England. You have enjoyed your life there but your mother is very ill, and on her deathbed reveals a secret. You have never known your father, but your mother reveals that he is the Earl of Edgewater, a very wealthy and powerful man. The two were in love, but his family drove them apart-and she went to Grovershire. How do you feel? You make the choice.
With the death of your mother you head to Edgewater and to meet your father and his family. Now this is an interesting concept to go with, being born out of wedlock in 1816-not the best way to be treated.
So you are taken to Edgewater and meet your paternal grandmother the Dowager Countess who is quite spunky. Is she an ally? Or will she try and remove you like your mother was removed?
You also meet Mr. Ernest Sinclaire, master of the nearby Ledford Park. He’s handsome, rich, and also the rude man that almost ran you down on his horse a couple days ago. Yes, you have met him before.
I wonder which Austen hero he will be like? Romantic and wise like Colonel Brandon? Idealistic and does the right thing like Edward Ferrars? Broody and serious Darcy? Playful and stern like Mr. Knightley? Serious like Edmund Bertram? Playful like Mr. Tilney? Passionate like Captain Wentworth?
Or will he be a rogue? Sacrifices love for money like Mr. Willoughby? Selfish and narcissistic like Mr. Wickham? An annoying brown-noser like Mr. Collins? A cruel social climber like Mr. Elton? Only thinks of himself like Frank Churchill? Manipulative like John Thorpe or Captain Tilney? Plotting and cunning like Mr. Elliot?
But more importantly, what about your father. Will he accept you or reject you?
There used to be this really fun game on facebook called Jane Austen Unbound. You had to search different rooms and areas to find certain objects, the more you did the more characters from the books come into play. It was great.
Well like all good things-it ended.
Now they have a different game, Jane Austen Manors
I thought, well might as well try it out and see how it goes.
So the first thing you can do is dress yourself. They give you a few things, you having to purchase the rest. You have the ability to go to town and purchase more. I bought a fan-it was the only thing I could afford.
Then we have the mini games
This mini game you have to fill in the squares with the corresponding colors until you complete the embroidery.
You have to spend your gold coins to get something called a “magic fill”. If you don’t you have to go and do each individual square-one by one. With magic fill, it fills all the squares with the same letter.
It takes forever. By the time you finish an area when you look at the rest of the square you have to do:
It was awful. Boring and it takes far too long. At least real needlepoint you are doing something fun and cool, making something.
This is a hidden pictures game. You have a chance of the different main characters’ manor houses. When you click on one they show you all the rooms and the objects, you job being to go room by room try and find them all.
This wasn’t too bad, but you had to click on the object at the bottom when you found it in a room. If you didn’t it would kick you out and you would have to go through it again.
I think this was the best of the games. You are given text from a novel and have to find the words that make it up.
When you find the word, it marks it red in the text. This wasn’t difficult in what you are doing,but did get a bit confusing after a while.
It wasn’t a bad game-but really boring.
I know there are a lot out there that like it-but I’m not one to be playing it again.
So we all have heard about Bette Davis Eyes, right?
Well I have Jane Austen eyes.
I know you are thinking, uh what does that mean?
So I was reading an article about how they studied two of Jane Austen’s eyeglasses and how bad her eyesight got at the end. They discussed how much her sight regressed, and think that arsenic might be the cause. If you’d like to read more follow this link.
But the part that really stood out to be was this part of the article:
“Tests showed they increased in strength from +1.75 in each eye from the first pair to +4.75 and +5.0 in the final pair-meaning she would have found it very difficult to see well enough to read or write by the time she died.”
That was what caught me!
“…she would have found it very difficult to see well enough to read or write by the time she died.”
That’s my eyesight!
My right eye is 5.0 and my left 4.75. So that means that if I lived in Regency England I “…would have found it very difficult to see well enough to read or write…”
It’s horrible! I can’t imagine not being able to read!
I can’t imagine a sadder life.
But on the plus side, I do have something in common with Jane Austen not everyone does. I have her eyes.
And thank goodness I live in today’s time so I have good glasses and can read. My life would be so sad and boring without it.
Some people agreed with what I said about it, and some people didn’t. That’s fine, we are all open to sharing our opinion-that being said this is my blog, I will always share my opinion.
Usually I don’t make a big deal over people’s criticisms of my reviews:
But then I received a message from someone on facebook who hated my review of Emma (1996). Not only did they disagree with me, they called me every horrible name you could think of, cursed at me, and went on spamming my inbox.
Usually I just forget it when people say stuff like that. No big deal. I mean:
But it was the venomous way this person spoke to me, and kept writing to me that made me upset.
I am not happy
And made me decide to answer their criticisms:
In a polite way, of course:
TO: The Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version
Be not alarmed, Madam, on receiving this letter, unlike you I am not crass, rude, use expletives, or call people names when trying to make my point:
I write without any intention of humbling myself: you must, therefore, pardon the freedom with which I demand your attention; your feelings, I know, will bestow it unwillingly, but I demand it of your justice.
This could get ugly.
Many offences of various nature you laid to my charge. I will now go through them and defend my thoughts.
A) The Set
No madam I am not an idiot:
I know that “lightbulbs” do not exist in Regency times. I know they had to use candles as their only way of lighting a room. I have studied history and have studied the Regency time period.
What I SAID, and what you failed to read-perhaps your vision is ailing you? Maybe you should visit your optometrist and see if you need an adjustment? – was that I didn’t like the use of candles solely in the film. Yes it is realistic, yes it is accurate, and yes it provides a nice chiaroscuro effect to the cinematography. However, using that as the only source to light your room made it difficult for the viewer to see all that was occurring in the scene. As someone who works hard for their money, I like to use what I spend it on. And if I am purchasing a film I want to be able to see the film.
And I want my money’s worth.
B) The Costumes
You called me quite a few names for not realizing that that the costumes were accurate. I never said they weren’t. Unfortunately, you failed to understand what I stated, perhaps the vocabulary I utilized was too flowery? I will speak plainer here. Out of all the Austen heroines, Emma is the richest. Some may argue that the Dashwoods or Elliots may be, but they lose a lot of their money due to different circumstances. However, Emma starts the book off wealthy, and remains so throughout the book.
In this adaptation, the dresses Emma wears are all boring and drab. I expect her to have something finer and more representative of her station and position in the community. Plus she is only 16 miles from London, she may not visit there but could order more elite fashion. I prefer her gowns in this adaptation:
And this one:
C) Harriet Smith
Now this part of your rantings, I really do not understand. I compliment the film on an actor’s portrayal, in fact the best portrayal of this character I have ever seen, and you yell and curse at me for doing so?
I know, right?
Perhaps you have never paid a compliment so you cannot understand when one is given?
You also yelled at me for misunderstanding the character of Harriet, but the charges you laid against me make me wonder if you have ever read the book, because you don’t seem to understand the character of Harriet.
So the first thing you wrote was that it was idiotic that I called Harriet illegitimate:
First of all I never said that Harriet was illegitimate, what I said-which you failed to read (maybe you need to slow down when reading so you don’t miss so many words?)– was that most people at that time period would assume she was illegitimate the way her father sent her to live in a boarding school and refuses to name himself-wanting to be anonymous instead.
And by the way, Joan Austen-Leigh, the great-grand niece of Jane Austen, stated in her book A Visit to Highbury that Harriet was illegitimate. As she is family and able to look at more personal works that you, I think I trust her information more than I trust yours.
And then you were furious at me for ever stating that everyone hated Harriet, well, once again, I have to say you misread me. Do you wear glasses? Maybe you need a stronger prescription, as what I said was because of not knowing her birth the other girls would not be intent on forming close relationships with her, just in case it turns out that she is illegitimate or from a poor family. Think about Great Expectations, how Pip freaks out when he discovers that his benefactor is the ex-convict Magwitch. He is afraid to tell anyone as he knows how they will turn on him.
D) Jane Fairfax
You went on and on about how I called Olivia Williams a bad actress and how I hated her portrayal, and all I can say is once again you have misunderstood what I said about a character and an actor.
What I had said was that she wasn’t really in the film. True, Jane does not spend a lot of time physically in Highbury, but her presence is always there as the Bateses talk about her constantly. In here we had barely anything about her-from people talking about her to her actually playing a part in the film.
E) Emma Woodhouse
I know you love Kate Beckinsale, and love her films. You went on and on about how well she has done in other pictures and I agree, Beckinsale is a talented actress and has done some great films-however I believe this isn’t one of them. I didn’t think her portrayal was all that great and felt it to be wooden and lacking the emotions if the book.
This, madam, is a faithful narrative of every event-it is done, and it was done for the best. — On this subject I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer.
Now to the rest of you, once again this is just my opinion. I am using my right to express myself and my thoughts. I know that not everyone will agree with me, and I am okay with that. If you like what I write: