Back at its release, I had looked forward to seeing Lost in Austen. Though its premise may slightly offend me, it’s overshadowed by how greatly the script amuses its target audience. This because of the heroines’ many attempts to fix an otherwise disastrous plot from the beloved Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Lost in Austen (2008) BBC TV Review
Modern Londoner Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper) takes the term Austen “fangirl” to new heights. She has read Pride & Prejudice well over seventy times and prefers Saturday nights with Mr. Darcy, and a glass of wine. After her boyfriend (who arrives a bit tipsy) crashes her evening, she receives a ridiculously unromantic, drunken proposal from him followed by the discovery of Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arten) in her bathroom!
Assuming she must be hallucinating, in the split second she turns away, her mysterious visitor vanishes. The following day, she goes about reading more of her book and Miss Bennet again surprises her, only this time she steps through the door to the past and is unable to return.
Before she realizes what’s happening, this fictional world pulls her back. Once there she meets the Bennet family including the shy and kind Jane (Morven Christie); and the ditzy Lydia (Perdita Weeks). In her attempts to make certain the right matches are made – including Jane marrying the love of her life, Charles Bingley (Tom Mison), things begin to backfire when Amanda finds she is the object of Bingley’s affections.
Scrabbling to right every wrong, she panics more with the conundrum that is the proud Mr. Darcy (Elliot Cowan). Finding herself losing her own heart was not a part of Amanda’s plan but what is she to do with a story whose heroine has gone missing?Lost in Austen (2008) – 'Pride and Prejudice' Reimagined with Hilarious (albeit Messy!) Results #TVarchives Click To Tweet
Say what you will about the scripting, one thing that cannot be argued about this fun spoof of a miniseries is its cast. It’s a star-studded jewel that shouldn’t be missed simply for the pleasure of seeing Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Christina Cole, Ruby
Bentall and Alex Kingston just to name a few. Unlike roles previous on their resume, these are characters they can have fun with. One that I don’t think anyone meant to be taken seriously. Even with a credit to Austen’s name, there is little to seriously compare to her works. That said, there are nods of respect to her words.
Recently I watched this a second time through. After seeing it again, I came away confirming what I already knew: I absolutely love this delightful piece of fluff. For anyone who doesn’t want to see a new take on a classic piece of lit, you won’t like or appreciate this. For those who can put aside the brilliance of Pride and Prejudice in its literary format, Lost in Austen is a piece of jolly good fun. This interpretation pokes fun at the characters – lovingly so, and makes some more dreadful (if possible) than Austen ever imagined. Then there are the comedic genius antics of Amanda.
Even the hairstyles and costumes production crews put together are hard to take seriously. Most of them rarely suit the performer with exception to perhaps Christina Cole who always has an image with polish. Much as I like Jemima’s leading lady, she looks ridiculous in period appropriate costuming, and never adapts to the era. Fortunately, these are minor details in the scope of an otherwise humorous series.
There’s an adorable opening credit sequence, fabulous script (the language is wonderful), a memorable scene involving a soaking wet Darcy (avid fans will appreciate this throwback), and general hilarity. The ending is ambiguous with its sudden close; not everything wraps as you may expect. Nonetheless, for the fan who is willing to allow for rules to bend, this is a bit of sass that may have appalled Jane Austen but greatly amuses me. ♥
CONTENT: References are made to a marriage never being consummated [including questions of a woman being able to “please” her husband] along with various other sexual innuendo. There’s a comment about a man grabbing his privates and “sniffing” his fingers afterwards. Another unmarried couple run away, and another girl admits to lying about someone taking advantage of her. In an attempt to deter interest, a woman subtly suggests she’s a lesbian; we later find out another character is when she mildly “comes on” to another female. A few British slang words pepper the script and there’s an injury that casues blood to poor from their head. This is TV14.