Archives for posts with tag: georgia king

Technically, this is a rewatch, but I read the book recently, and I wasn’t really paying too much attention on the first watch.

And…you can’t get away from it: Anne Hathaway’s British accent is awful. Sometimes it’s not there, sometimes it’s normal posh, sometimes it’s middle school drama Cockney, and sometimes it swings wildly Yorkshire (its target), usually on the word “money.” It’s not clear why this happens, as she successfully fakes British accents in both Becoming Jane and Les Misérables, but…it is intrusively dire. And in a film that has Jodie Whittaker in the cast! She’s from Yorkshire!

In the shadow of that accent, Emma Morley (Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) run into each other in vignettes on most every July 15th from 1988 to 2006. In the first, they are graduating from the University of Edinburgh, and almost have an amorous interlude. This is interesting, of course, because Emma is northern and pinko, and Dexter is posh and probably wouldn’t actually spit on Margaret Thatcher. Naturally they become best friends but not romantically involved, because Emma has a crushing lack of self-esteem and Dexter is more or less a shallow cad. We check in on them as Dexter wanders about India and Europe finding himself while Emma slaves in a miserable Mexican restaurant, as they go on holiday to the seaside together (but Rules against Romance), as Dexter becomes an increasingly unpleasant television presenter and Emma is increasingly unpleasant about it, as Dexter marries rich and lovely Sylvie (Romola Garai) and Emma dates failed comic Ian (Rafe Spall), and…well, I think you know where this is going.

It’s really rather well done. Horrible clothes are worn, and dreadful hairstyles abound. The 90s were a sartorial catastrophe, in case you didn’t remember, and Emma’s Doc Martens and round glasses are spot-on for the self-serious anti-nuke would-be writer she is at 22. Dexter is plausibly over-smooth and fashion-victim-y in an hilarious series of jerkier and jerkier haircuts. He becomes really unlikeable. Which is the point.

Aside from the accent, it’s well-acted: Rafe Spall’s Ian is infuriatingly but touchingly useless; Romola Garai’s Sylvie is icily beautiful and deeply humorless. Patricia Clarkson is of course lovely and natural as Dexter’s mother; Tom Mison is disappointingly scummy for fans of “Sleepy Hollow.”

The conceit is slightly cheesy, and the book certainly introduces more shades of grey, but this is an above-competent adaptation, and I don’t understand why people hate Anne Hathaway so much. Sure, the accent is bad, but I’ve heard worse, and she’s otherwise charming.

Director: Lone Scherfig
Rating: PG-13
Length: 107 minutes
Score: 3/5

In an attempt, apparently, to give my brain whiplash, I followed up Inside Llewyn Davis with a movie that may be its opposite in every way, and, well, it’s never that enjoyable to watch a movie in which everyone involved is embarrassed. This is no exception. Austenland is a sad pastiche of Austen clichés and the inevitable American-in-Britain nominally hilarious garbage. At least, this time, the idiocy happens mostly at a theme park, so it’s slightly more bearable. Although the four hundredth time a person says “tally-ho,” you do sort of want to scream.

Anyhow, sad single Keri Russell as “Jane” goes to an Austen theme park, where she gets to act the part of the poor relation. There, she is surrounded by veterans of BBC period productions (Georgia King of Little Dorrit, JJ Feild of Northanger Abbey, and, in a slightly charming stroke, the chap who plays Bingley’s drunk brother-in-law in the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice, in an identical rôle), who play other sad ladies or actors meant to help them live out their sad lady fantasies. For some reason, Bret McKenzie is also around, and Jane is too ignorant to notice that his accent is not British (this really bothered me; if you’re that into Austen, you probably have enough ambient anglophilia to spot a Kiwi a mile away). None of this bodes especially well. But the worst thing is the tragic waste of Jennifer Coolidge’s comic talent. She’s just loud and crude and large. I know this is what she has been doing for some time, but to reduce her to a vulgar caricature is cruel and pointless.

The movie does, amazingly, sort of keep you guessing about the final upshot, though that’s the only thing that shows any care at all. Even within the artificial and insane confines of the theme park, nothing makes a great deal of sense. It’s supposed to be a super-authentic Regency experience, so naturally the women go out shooting.

Also, whatever personal growth Jane achieves, she starts out the movie as an insane person. It literally spells out “Darcy was here” in wooden letters above her bed. What does that even mean? In what fevered imagination is that reasonable, cute, or funny? I ask this of the film-makers. You can be single, thirty, and a little depressed about it and/or fond of Jane Austen without being deranged.

 

Stray considerations, as usual:

This movie deploys “Bette Davis Eyes.” Not well, but points for the song regardless.

James Callis, like everyone else, looks embarrassed, but also as though he might be enjoying himself, so that’s…a plus, I guess.

 

Director: Jerusha Hess

Rating: PG-13, for non-innuendo

Length: 97 min., and I kept checking how much was left

Score: 2/5