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)

Good Lovin’: Romance is in the Air Part IV

Valentines

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. Our Valentine’s Day countdown of 14 romantic moments from film and TV.

Romance

So whether you love Valentine’s Day:

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Or hate it:

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There is sure to be something on this countdown that you’ll adore. So get ready for some good lovin’.

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For the 2013 countdown, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

For the 2014 countdown, go to Language of Love: Love Actually (2003)

For the 2015 countdown, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

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For more on the song Good Lovin’, go to Musical Madness

The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

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The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen compiled by editors Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. 2003 (originally printed in 1997).

I read this book a while back, but am only now able to write a review of it. This volume contains a brief biography of Austen’s life: her as a writer; essays on Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, and Pride & Prejudice; Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion; Austen’s short stories; the Austen letters; class-consciousness in her works; economy of the culture; religion and politics; her style in the novels; the significance of her juvenile works; and Austen cults/cultures.

The Lovely Jane

The Lovely Jane

I thought this book was…okay. Some of the essays had really interesting points about Jane Austen or her work.

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While others seemed to rehashed old concepts that you already knew. Although, in this book’s defense I think that was mostly due to age as it was published almost twenty years ago. At the time of publication I’m sure all the ideas in were new concepts at the time and just have now just seeped into the general knowledge. I do think it is worth a read if you are looking for more information on Jane Austen or a deeper look into her works.

However, the essay that I did not care for was the one on Northanger Abbey, by Rachel M. Brownstein.

Something is not right!

In Brownstein‘s essay she writes about how Northanger Abbey  is a parody of the romantic genre that was popular at Austen’s time, that I agreed with.

Northanger Abbey in a way is a rewrite of The Female Quixote or The Adventures of Arabella by Charlotte Lennox. In fact, I agreed with a lot of what Browenstein wrote in her essay, such as how Austen made fun of the romantic tropes, and was quite snarky in her writing. Today she would have fit in on Youtube, right next to Nostalgia Critic or someone of a similar tone.

Here's to another 200 years!

The part I disagreed with was what she wrote about Mr. Tilney.

In her essay she details that how Mr. Tilney is the most “feminine” of the Austen heroes because he is interested in muslin (something only for a woman), novels, and is dominated and intimidated by his manly father. I however, feel he is no less masculine than any other Austen man.

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1)Interest in Muslin

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Catherine has just met Mr. Henry Tilney who is unlike any man she has met or read in books. Instead of being tall, dark, and brooding; he is jovial, saracastic, witty, hilarious, etc. No reserve for him.

They begin on the subject of muslin by Mrs. Allen who is speaking on her muslin dress and how she would hate for it to be torn. It is a favorite of hers and cost but nine shillings a yard. Henry shares that he would have guessed that as he is a great judge of muslin, as he buys his own cravats and sometimes his sister’s gowns.

Now there are many ways to look at this conversation:

1. Henry is a Down to Earth Man

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Henry Tilney is a middle son. He knows that like most middle children, he will not inherit as much as her older brother but instead is expected to make his own fortune or marry rich.

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He chose the church as a profession, and while he will live comfortably he won’t be a millionaire, unless he marries a wealthy person. Depending on what living he is granted and who his patron is, he could have several servants or he might have to take care of a few duties himself. Also before he is married and has a wife to run the house, he will need to be in charge and know how best to budget and stay within his means.

He also might want to purchase the time of cravats he likes. Sometimes you can ask another to pick up a specific material or item, but that doesn’t always mean your servants will follow through. Maybe he likes a particular type and would rather pick it up himself?

2. Henry is a Good Brother

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Eleanor Tilney is the youngest of the Tilney clan. She is very reserved and quiet; due to her father General Tilney’s tyrannical ways. We know that the father emotionally abused the mother with his attitude and temperament, being a vampire of spirit, and it is easily concluded that he did the same with his daughter. Because of this, Eleanor doesn’t have many friends, the only ones seeming to be her brother Henry, and then later Catherine.

The eldest Tilney, Captain Fredrick Tilney, is a lot like his father. He is no friend of Eleanor; leaving Henry to shoulder the big brother responsibilities and to be the protector of his sister. Like Mr. Darcy, there are probably a ton of different things he does for his sister, buying her clothing the least of it.

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3. Henry is Being Sarcastic

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This is most likely the real reasoning behind the conversation with Mrs. Allen. We know that Mr. Tilney has a wicked sense of humor. He is sarcastic, funny, and likes going against society (not 100% but a mini rebellion).

Right before this exchange he and Catherine are discussing her time in Bath, with Mr. Tilney sassily and snarkily making fun of how society expects such bland converstion (much of how Elizabeth does when she and Darcy dance in Pride & Prejudice).

I [Mr. Tilney] have hitherto been very remiss, madam, in the proper attentions of a partner here; I have not yet asked you how long you have been in Bath; whether you were ever here before; whether you have been at the Upper Rooms, the theatre, and the concert; and how you like the place altogether. I have been very negligent-but are you now at leisure to satisfy me in these particulars? If you are I will begin directly.’

[Catherine Moreland] ‘You need not give yourself that trouble sir.’

[Mr. Tilney] ‘No trouble I assure you, madam.’ Then forming his features in a set smile, and affectedly softening his voice, he added, with a simpering air, ‘Have you been long in Bath, madam?’

‘About a week, sir. ‘ replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.

Really!’ [said Mr. Tilney] with affected astonishment.

Why should you be surprised. sir?’ [asked Catherine]

Why, indeed!’ said he, in his natural tone. ‘But some emotion must appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed…

This teasing continues for a while, with Catherine trying her best to withold her laughter.

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So we know that Mr. Tilney is a kidder. He likes to joke around, and he likes to be sassy; it is easy to believe that his remarks on muslin are all just one big joke. That he actually knows nothing at all, but is just being sarcastic again.

SarcasmWayofLife

Maybe he decided to play along with what Mrs. Allen is saying as he is in a silly/sarcastic mood, trying to make Catherine laugh once again. We know he likes to tease, and make fun of other’s foibles (eccentricities) so it is easy to conclude that.

Well, whether he knows his muslin, is a good brother, or just making fun. Mrs. Allen believes he knows his stuff, and that is good enough for me.

tilney on muslin

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2) Dominated by His Father

How do I describe General Tilney?

Jerk

He pretended to be sweet, charming, and kind to win the heart of a wealthy woman, but later revealed his true colors. He was tyrannical and insisted his way was always the right one or else. He held all the power and expected his children to bow to his will or find themselves with nothing.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothingyoulose

How is this less than other Austen characters? Mr. Darcy isn’t dominated by a person, per say, but by society. He knows himself to be attracted to Elizabeth, but feels he cannot marry her as she isn’t in his class, nor does he want to be chained to her family. He does all he can to not want to be with her, but ultimately succumbs.

Mr.Darcy Pride&Prejudice

Edward Ferrars is just as dominated by the head of his family, although in this case it is his mother. Just like in the Tilney clan, you must do what Mrs. Ferrars says or risk losing it all. Edward’s mother wants him to follow a more elite career, while Edward wants to be a minister. He almost gives into his mother’s wishes; but luckily stays true to who he is.

quietofPrivateLifeSense&Sensibility

And this was something that happened a lot back then. With inheritance being the key to living comfortably, and rich relatives holding the power, more often than not people always had to bend to their will.

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3) Reading Novels

Stupid Not to Read Jane Austen Quote

In the 18th century there was what historians call the “reading revolution”. With the printing press improvements that occured then and in the early 19th century, books could be printed more easily and cheaply. Reading and owning books became a huge phenomenon as more people had the ability to purchase them.

NeverCanHaveTooManyBooks

Everything from science, to books we now call classics, novels, romance, history, to cheap thrills, etc. Such romances like The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk were popular, but thought to be purposely explicit and exploiting, “women’s cheap novels” but were read by all.

While it would be unusual for Mr. Tilney to admit to reading them, it is not unusual for him to actually read them as most men did. But this admittance goes with his character as we have already seen that Tilney doesn’t feel the need to be reserved, or be constructed by societal norms, but is more open in his demeanor.

Besides as this is still a romance, whether parody or remake, and as Catherine is an avid book reader, her hero has to be as much a reader as herself. After all, there is nothing sexier then meeting a man who loves to read.

guysread

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4) Never Makes a Move or Takes any Action Toward Catherine

Really?

Really?

In the essay, Brownstein declares that Mr. Tilney never had any romantic interest with Catherine, his relationship with her was all constructed or forced by his father, General Tilney. Yes, while Mr. Tilney is passive in the beginning of the novel and not the one to invite Catherine to his house (his dad does as he is trying to hook her) but what about that final scene? You know the one where he goes after Catherine and asks her to marry him risking everything for her?

tilney

Mr. Tilney is gone from the family home when Catherine is given the boot. When he returns and finds out what happened, he could have just let it go. Or he could have gone and apologized to Catherine, returning home and continuing the search for a wealthy bride. But does he do that? NO! He chooses to not only go after her, apologize for his family, but to also propose.

He is willing to throw his entire fortune away for her, not even knowing if she feels the same way about him. Unlike Edward Ferrars who is in a similar situation, Mr. Tilney doesn’t have an understanding with Catherine. He doesn’t even know if she will accept him, but he’s prepared to give it all up for her and even to to end up with nothing, having turned on his father who is not a forgiving man.

riskdish- tilney

Mr. Tilney is the only Austen hero who throws all caution to the wind, and risks everything for the woman he loves.

-prince-charming mr. tilney

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Mr. Tilney…what else can I say about you?

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You are definitely hero material

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For more on Mr. Tilney, go to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen 

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane, Jane, Jane: A Jane Austen Biography

I Carry You With Me Wherever I Go: New Year’s Eve (2011)

Most Romantic Moment #11
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New Year’s Eve (2011)

So this is another one of those movies that is like a Jane Austen book, in how you have all these different characters and story lines, but in the end they all link together somehow.

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Yep, just like He’s Just NOT That Into You or Love Actually it is one tangled web.

The film follows many people all trying to accomplish something on New Years Eve. Paul (Zac Efron) has been hired by Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help her achieve all her New Year’s resolutions. Ingrid has recently quit her job at Ahern music company, but still has four tickets to their amazing party, which she will give Paul, if he completes everything.

Mrs. Rose Ahern is the matriarch of the industry and is trying to pull of a phenomenal party. She has hired Chef Laura (Katherine Heigl)  to cater the event, and Laura is determined to make a name for herself and get more clients. Only problem is, her ex-fiance, rock star, Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) who broke her heart, is headlining the event and trying to get them back together.

Hailey (Abigal Breslin) has a huge crush on  guy in her class, Seth (Jake T. Austin), and escapes from her mom to spend New Year’s Eve with him in Times’ Square. Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) is upset as she wanted to spend the evening with her, and has to get her brother, Paul, to help her find her daughter.

Claire Morgan (Hilary Swank) as always loved watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. This year she is in charge of the whole event, and when the ball has some mechanical difficulties, she has to figure out how to get it rollin’.

Couldn't resist

Couldn’t resist

Randy (Ashton Kutcher), Paul’s roommate, hates New Year’s Eve, ever since a girl broke his heart. He was going to spend the night wallowing in pity, but ends up getting stuck in an elevator with Elise (Lea Michelle), Jensen’s back-up singer. Through spending time with her, he starts moving past his broken heart and learning to love again.

Tess (Jessica Biel) and Griffen Byrne (Seth Mayer) are competing with another family to have the first baby of the new year and win $25,000. Also at the hospital is Stan (Robert De Niro) who is dying of cancer and trying to make it to midnight. Nurse Amy (Halle Berry) is caring for him.

Sam Ahern (Josh Duhamel) is stuck in Conneticut, having been best man for his friend’s wedding. He hitches a ride with the local minister trying to get to New York so he can deliver a speech and meet up with a women he met on New Year’s Eve of the year before.

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*****Most Romantic Moment******

So the thread I’m going to focus on is that of Sam Ahern. So here we have the very rich, handsome, suave, charming Sam Ahern; who could get any woman he’s ever wanted. I mean he’s played by Josh Duhamel!

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Anyways, so even though he wants to get back to New York to give his speech, he has an even more important reason. Last year he had to give a speech at the company party and was super nervous, so he ducked out to grab a slice of pizza and relax. While he was there he met a girl and had an amazing night just talking and hanging out with her. He left for the bathroom, and when he got back to the table she was gone, but she had left a note asking him to meet her at the same place, same time, next year. Sam has no other way of finding her as she never gave him her name.

So fast forward the year, and here is Sam hanging with the minister’s family and telling them the story of what had happened. As he tells the family the story of what occurs, he pulls the note out of his wallet, laminated.

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That’s right folks, not only has he been carrying her note around for A WHOLE year, BUT he had it laminated. Yes he knew he would be constantly taking it out and looking at that he had to have it on him at all times and have it protected.

So romantic!

So romantic!

How can you not be swayed by that. Sooooooooooooooo romantic!!!! I know to others it might not seem like much, but like I said, I find it incredibly romantic!

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For the previous post, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

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For more on Josh Duhamel, go to A Fantabulous Post

What I Like About You: Romance is in the Air, Part III

Romance

Yep Valentine’s Day is coming up and you all know what that means! Romance is in the Air: Part III 14 Days of my Favorite Film Romantic Moment.

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So pipe out the sweets

Valentine's candy also doesn't count.

Valentine’s candy also doesn’t count.

And get ready for the romance headed your way.

Valentines

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For 2012’s Valentine’s Day Countdown, Romance is in the Air, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

For 2013’s Valentine’s Day Countdown, Romance is in the Air: Part II, go to Language of Love: Love Actually (2003)