Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lost in Austen: A Review

In my recent expeditions to have as much Jane Austen related things around me, I've been viewing most of her novels made into movies. The ones adapted from Pride and Prejudice hold a particular place of importance as usual. And so, the other day, as I sat there, twiddling my thumbs, wondering what to view next when the TV series Lost in Austen caught my attention.

For those who're wondering what it's all about, let me explain. The story portrays a 21st century bank employee who's an avid Austen fanatic. She dreams of the world of the Regency era and yearns for an escape from the mundane things in her life. And as predictable as it gets, her prayers are answered. One day, she finds none other than Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom and discovers that here's a hidden portal behind the plumbing that connects her world with that of Elizabeth's. And they decide to swap places. Up until this point, I was all in anticipation. But I should say... the moment she went into the other world, things started going a bit downhill for me.

For starters, she most decidedly wants to maintain the flow of the story but takes really drastic measures with no consideration for the times she's in to achieve what she desires. For a fanatic of Austen as the character is claimed to be, one would expect her to be aware of the ways in which things were dealt with in the time period of Austen's heroines. But nay! She acts brash and spunky and in her decided fashion of doing things, ends up complicating things more than they ought to be complicated.

For starters, why would she snog Bingley when she so righteously has taken it upon herself to actually bring him and Jane together? And then claim to be a lesbian to get away from him! I am sure there must have been another simpler way in which she could have achieved that and not alienate herself from half the population of the book. Any person with a grain of common sense would realize that the very act of being in a place where you aren't supposed to be alters that time and space. Ah... I guess I'm nit picking too much into the play now!

But there were good points as well. The characters of Austen's world for example. I am impressed with the way the story explores the unsaid assumptions that Austen left to her readers to ponder over. Wickham was one such character that I'm impressed with. Oh, and Mr. Collins. If I'd disliked him in the books, I positively loathe the one Lost in Austen portrays. Ugh... spending a lifetime in a monastery would be infinitely better than being married to that specimen! And it broke my heart to see his presence in the plot for more than what he merited in the books! And Darcy! Darling wonderful silly Darcy! I believe Elliot Cowan has done a wonderful job of usurping Collin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen to covet the title of my favorite portrayal of Darcy. Sigh... Too bad Amanda Price ends up looking like a swooning fan-girl everytime Darcy does something romantic. Yes, I understand resisting that man is futile. But, girl! One need not wear their hearts on their sleeves!

But all that said and done, I should say I enjoyed watching Lost in Austen for most of its duration and if you're a die hard Austen fan, you'd do well to pick this one up on rental. And for those who're hopeless romantics (or closet romantics like me), you could invest in a purchase as Mr.Darcy's passionate proclamations of love could melt frozen chocolate half a mile away!

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