Thursday, May 26, 2011

In praise of: Lost in Austen (mini series)

Posted by lea at 12:07 AM

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Austen fans clamour for more from their long-dead favourite author, so new variations of her work will always be acceptable if they're done well. And what a corker this one is. It's not perfect but it's a charming homage about a modern day Austenite who swaps places with her favourite character and literally gets lost in the world of Pride and Prejudice.

The first time I watched this four-part mini series was on TV, each episode doled out weekly while I waited with bated breath. The twists and turns had me utterly enthralled. (Spoiler alert) What, Jane marries Collins? Lydia runs away with Bingley? Wickham turns out to be the good guy??? With all these plot differentials, the time travelling portal isn't hard to swallow.

The second time I watched it all at once and became more aware of the gaping holes. Nonetheless, I think a little suspension in belief is good for the imagination. Anyway, what can you expect when you've got time travelling heroines and a huge plot to deal with in just four 46 minutes episodes? I would have been happy for them to have doubled that number. Despite glossing over some major inconsistencies, Lost in Austen does a great job creating an escape for those who, like Amanda, love the world that Jane Austen creates.

The casting was great: Jemima Rooper as Amanda, the modern-day Elizabeth with her witticisms and love-hate relationship with Darcy, was perfect, as was the smouldering Elliot Cowan as Mr Darcy and the luminous Gemma Arterton at Elizabeth Bennet.

And it's funny too. There's a scene where Amanda says to Mr Darcy, 'Will you do something for me...' and next thing you know, he's coming out of the lake, his wet shirt clinging to his considerably-more-buff-than-his-predecessor body. 

The biggest treat is how wayward the characters go as Amanda tries desperately to keep the plot together. Any self-respecting Austen fan knows the book practically by heart, so it's wonderful to see the characters come to life without the boundaries of Jane Austen's pen. We as the audience also find ourselves going wayward. I mean, what is the world coming to when we don't want Lizzie and Darcy to get together?

Ah the romance.

It's been at least two years since I've read P&P (it always takes willpower not to pull it off the shelf, but I know that the next reading will be the better for having waited), so I think now it's time to get a little lost myself.


Anonymous said...

ahaha! "i find your opinion truly amusing!" as Jane Austen would have said. but i believe, we're on a par with each other in a matter of views. i did find the twists very shocking, but i was quite happy with the way things ended. i guess, it's the "inner Lizzy" in me wanting Darcy to hers, if such a situation arises! :)

btw, if you'd wish to reply to this comment, i suggest you do via email, in case i miss it! :)

in case my name does not appear. :)

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