Lost in Austen Review
Lost in Austen is a silly, funny and romantic love letter to the fans of Jane Austen and the great author herself. It answers the question many of us have likely pondered. What would happen if a modern girl who loved Pride and Prejudice was able to jump into the novel herself? It is a thoroughly entertaining mini-series that should not be missed.
Amanda is an ordinary girl who escapes into Pride and Prejudice every chance she gets. In theory, she would love nothing more than to disappear into that world. Then, it looks like she might just get her wish. One day she finds Elizabeth Bennett standing in her bathtub claiming to have stepped through a door from her world. After establishing that she has not in fact lost her marbles, Amanda decides to go through the door and promptly gets trapped there. She is about to find out how little she and her modern attitudes fit in Regency England. Her presence causes diversions in the story and she must use all of her familiarity with it to set everything back on the right course.
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Lost in Austen is as much a comedy as a period drama. There are many laugh-out-loud moments as Amanda tries to navigate her way through balls, dinners, and social etiquette. The script takes advantage of the humorous potential that Austen wrote into her characters and uses it to full affect. From Mrs. Bennett’s silliness to Bingley’s slight buffoonery to Lady Catherine’s forthright meddling. While the humor will still be apparent to non-book readers, those who have a familiarity with and a fondness of Pride and Prejudice will better understand the references and the problems Amanda causes.
The mini-series has an excellent British cast who are clearly enjoying their roles immensely. Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston make a prefect comedic pairing as Mr. and Mrs. Bennett. Tom Mison is lovely as the endearing yet easily influenced Bingley. Guy Henry makes a truly repulsive Mr. Collins. Tom Riley is great as the roughish yet charming Wickham playing off Amanda’s mistrust of him splendidly. Though initially very unlikable, Eliot Cowen does well as Fitzwilliam Darcy. Jemima Rooper leads the cast well with excellent comic timing. Lindsey Duncan also makes a sharp and entertaining Lady Catherine De Bourgh. All in all, a very talented cast that works fantastically well together.
The costumes are beautiful, though Regency fashion is far from my favorite era for fashion.The only thing that bothered me was that, even after she began to dress in clothing from the right time, Amanda kept her modern hairstyle and dyed color. This may have been to make her stand out or, more likely, something the character insisted on but it was still a little jarring. This is a minor problem, however, and doesn’t detract all that much from suspension of disbelief, given that the character was from modern London. My only other problem with this wonderful mini-series is that the ending was far too rushed. Otherwise, it is very enjoyable.
The main romance is sweet, if a little unbelievable. I personally thought Amanda should have ended up with a different character. The depiction of the Jane and Bingley’s romance, however, is lovely.
I should warn you that Lost in Austen is not a completely faithful adaptation. Amanda accidentally causes things to veer off course (much to her own anguish) and Lizzie is not present for much of the plot, being trapped in our world. If you would find this irritating, you may not enjoy the miniseries. If however, you don’t mind an interpretation of Austen’s genius that shakes things up and doesn’t take itself too seriously then I think you will thoroughly enjoy Lost in Austen. Fans of Austenland will probably like this series as well.
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Photo Credits: ITV
Content Note: This mini-series contains some crude humor (mostly from the main character). There is also some mild profanity. A character bangs their head badly and there is some blood. No sex or nudity.
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