Jane Austen Fangirls in Pop Culture

Some Jane Austen fangirls are a little…obsessed. Not me obviously. It’s perfectly normal to dedicate a large chunk of your life to blogging though Jane Austen books and movies…right?

The fandom of Jane Austen is so great and her fans are so passionate that there have even been books and movies made about Jane Austen Fangirls. Each one addressing certain characteristics that appear to be truths universally acknowledged about Jane Austen Fangirls.

The Jane Austen Book Club (Book and Movie)

Truth Universally Acknowledged: 

Jane Austen understands life struggles and her books not only serve as therapy and marriage counseling, but they bring people together and can help you find TRUE LOVE.

*Disclaimer*

I have only seen the movie adaptation of this. I have not read the book. So my opinions are limited to that of the movie. I have also heard from others that the movie version is better than the book (a rare thing indeed). But I did not particularly enjoy the movie so I decided that the book was not worth my time to read.

However,  it could be that having read the book causes one to appreciate the movie more (which is often the case). So if you have read the book and seen the movie and think my opinion would benefit by having done so, please let me know in the comments!

Brief Summary:

A group of women are all facing struggles in their lives. One woman is getting a divorce. Another is considering having an affair with her student (who is played by the Airbud kid) and the others have various issues. They start a Jane Austen Book club where they read a different book each month. Each book seems to deal with something one of the members is struggling with and through their readings they learn how to deal.

What I Liked:

Hugh Dancy as Grigg

Hugh Dancy plays a really nerdy guy who joins the book club to get closer to his love interest. It’s fantastic. I have watched this movie (even though I don’t like it) multiple times just for him. He compares Jane Austen to Star Wars.

Also fun fact…Hugh Dancy starred in Daniel Deronda with Romola Garai who plays Emma in the BBC adaptation.

Also…Marc Blucas, who plays Emily Blunt’s husband in the Jane Austen Book Club was in the movie adaptation of I Capture the Castle with Romola Garai.

AND…Marc Blucas plays Riley in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This isn’t actually related to Jane Austen but Buffy’s awesome and always worth mentioning.

buffy-cast-41

What I Disliked:

I don’t care for this movie. There isn’t one big reason attributing to this. Besides Hugh Dancy I don’t like any of the other characters. I find them all semi-annoying and I’m not invested in them or their struggles.

If I had to pull out a few things I dislike….

I don’t think Grigg (Hugh Dancy) and Jocelyn have any chemistry.

Hugh Dancy’s Grigg was puppy-dog in love with Jocelyn from when they first met. But I don’t get why. There’s nothing wrong with her character…she’s just so bland. And it really annoys me how oblivious she is to his affections.

And when they do finally get together at the end I just don’t buy it.

Prudie

Emily Blunt is an amazing actress. There’s no denying that. And the character of Prudie is supposed to be off-putting. She really lives up to her name. She’s just so ughhhhhh.

That’s really all I can say.

Final Thoughts:

I love Jane Austen. And I love Jane Austen movies. I just don’t like this one and I have trouble articulating why. So I will quote my roommate on the matter:

 The whole movie just feels boring and pointless.

Lost in Austen (BBC Miniseries)

Truth Universally Acknowledged: 

Many girls would much rather trade their own lives for the one found in a Jane Austen novel. And if  you meet Mr. Darcy, he will be your true love.

Brief Summary:

Amanda Price lives in modern day London and is saddened by the lack of romance in her life (her boyfriend proposes while drunk) and comforts herself by escaping into Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Then she literally escapes into Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennet stumbles into her bathroom and the two switch places.

Amanda struggles with adapting to the 1800s while trying not to interfere with the story taking place around her. However, her presence (plus the lack of Lizzie Bennet) causes the famous story to happen all wrong.

What I Liked:

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet

Hugh Bonneville (who is also in Daniel Deronda with Hugh Dancy and Romola Garai) plays Mr. Bennet and Alex Kingston (who plays River Song in Doctor Who aka the wife of Number 11 aka Matt Smith aka Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies…THE CONNECTIONS NEVER END!) plays Mrs. Bennet.

This means in some strange world Mr. Collins is married to Mrs. Bennet.

Anyways…..

Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston are terrific. I also like how this version gives you a closer look in their marriage.

*SPOILERS* (Doctor Who fans will get the irony of this)

NO ONE ENDS UP WITH MR. COLLINS!!!!

Poor Charlotte Lucas always gets the short end of stick when it comes to her marriage to Mr. Collins.

In most adaptations he’s just ridiculous. In this adaptation he’s super creepy!

But! Because Amanda Price is there instead of Lizzie, Mr. Bingley falls for Amanda at first instead of Jane. By the time he realizes he does love Jane, she has already married Mr. Collins to save her family and Charlotte Lucas goes off to Africa to be a missionary.

And because Mr. Collins was doing some sort of purity thing, he does not consummate his marriage to Jane so she gets an annulment!

It’s just so happy.

The Mr. Darcy Wet Shirt Scene

The Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy wet shirt scene is famous for arousing all Jane Austen fangirls into a sensual fury.

Seriously. When you type “Colin Firth Mr. Darcy” into the Google Search Bar it suggests you add the word “Lake.”

And when you hit enter into said Google Search Bar you get pictures of this statue:

I am still unsure as to whether or not this is a real thing.

Anyways. In Lost in Austen, when Amanda Price realizes she is in love with Mr. Darcy (of course she falls in love with Mr. Darcy!!!) she asks him to do one thing for her…

Also Benedict Cumberbatch re-created this famous scene…for charity.

To quote one of my other roommates, “This is important.”

What I Disliked:

Amanda adapted to the proper period clothes but she left her hair down the entire time and I really wished she would’ve put it up at least once.

I’m starting to think I have hair issues.

Final Thoughts:

Lost in Austen is every Jane Austen fangirl’s dream. To accidentally stumble into one of her romances and to get know the characters personally (you learn some surprising things about Mr. Wickham and Caroline Bingley). Also to have Mr. Darcy fall in love with you.

Austenland (Book and Movie)

Truth Universally Acknowledged: 

If Austenland actually existed all Jane Austen Fangirls would go. I am still confused as to why it is not a real place.

Brief Summary:

Austenland is a book by Shannon Hale that was made into a movie starring Keri Russell. (I have read the book and seen the movie)

Jane Hayes is obsessed with Jane Austen. Specifically Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy. Jane gets the opportunity to go to Austenland-a resort where you get to where period gowns, live in a big grand house, and be romanced by a Mr. Darcy-like gentleman.

What I Liked:

The Cast of the Movie

Keri Russell (August Rush), JJ Feild (Best Mr. Tilney from Northanger Abbey), and Jennifer Coolidge (Cinderella Story and a few episodes of Party Down).

So funny. So great.

The Way it Honors Its Fans While Still Acknowledging Their Ridiculousness

Jane Austen fans can tend toward the ridiculous side. If you have any doubts please scroll up until you find the Mr. Darcy statue again.

This story makes fun of the obsession by creating the world of Austenland and the characters who go there.

But it still tells a Jane Austen-like love story and pays homage to all of the fans.

What I Disliked:

The ending of the movie is slightly different from the end from the book. It isn’t drastic but I preferred the ending to the book.

Because I already gave away some spoilers for Lost in Austen I will refrain from doing the same here.

Instead here is a picture of JJ Feild holding a fake dog.

Final Thoughts:

Austenland is one of may favorite movies. Its knee-slapping hilarious, and what makes it so funny is that all Jane Austen fans (though many are not to the same level of obsession as Jane) can see something of themselves in the characters and laugh at it.

Fangirl Awards

Best Hero: Hugh Dancy as Grigg (Jane Austen Book Club)

Best Heroine: Jennifer Coolidge as Mrs. Charming (Austenland-she maybe a supporting character but she steals the show)

Best Fangirl Movie: Austenland

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3 responses to “Jane Austen Fangirls in Pop Culture

  1. I love both Austenland and Jane Austen Book Club – I think both capture different parts of being a Janeite. Austenland gets just how silly I can be sometimes, while the Book Club shows how painful it can be – both because of my own and other’s failings (I identify with Prudie very strongly). I confess I dislike Lost in Austen – though not as much as I loathe Becoming Jane. I think both of them are clearly written by men who think that this Jane Austen stuff is an easy way to make a quick buck, and it shows so plainly in the way they cast the heroine of Lost in Austen as someone whose only thought is of the emotional pleasures of Jane Austen, rather than the entire richness that is her six masterpieces – emotions, yes, but also morals, and ethics, and society, and honesty, and kindness, and attraction, and betrayal – it’s all there, more than simply treacly romance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree with your thoughts on Becoming Jane. What a conflation of her life and her characters to try and make her life more “interesting”! I understand why you dislike Lost in Austen. I enjoyed it because I thought it was fun how they interacted with her world and liked the casting of the P&P characters. But you’re right, there really isn’t much more too it than that. As for Jane Austen Book Club, I really appreciate your point on the struggles of being a Janeite which is not something I have considered.

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      • Indeed! I was more irked with the insinuation that Austen needed to copy clever dialogue from people around her, rather than being a master scripter herself.

        There are some fun things about Lost in Austen – the cast is generally excellent, and I have a fondness for both Jane and Mr. Bingley in that adaptation.

        The struggles of being a Janeite – I confess, these struggles are probably, on the large scale of things, very small – but like all struggles, they seem large enough when one is inside them. 🙂

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