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AUSTENLAND - Film Review
by Karen Pecota

A Sundance film that is really funny! Austenland is a film for the girls. A breath of fresh air from the typical heavy thematic genre associated with the Independent film scene. Delightfully comedic! Hilariously daring!

Based on the novel by Shannon Hale (who also co-wrote the script), the film was written and directed by Jerusha Hess (writer, Napoleon Dynamite) and produced by Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films.

Bonnets off to the filmmakers for going after this story from Hale. Their "girlishly" film celebrates fun with literature when the imagination is put to the test. What more could an all-star cast want or need to add to their filmography recognition? The film features actors Keri Russell, Bret McKenzie, Georgia King, Jane Seymour, JJ Field and Jennifer Coolidge.

The adorably sweet, thirty-something, young professional Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) consumes her extra-curricular activities with an obsession of all things Jane Austen. Her life-size poster of Mr. Darcy greets her each day in her apartment that she has decorated in the era only the characters in Jane Austen's novels would have lived. Mr. Darcy's silent  presence is her hope that even in the modern world she will find the man of her dreams who  also holds to everything good about the English and their old world customs--especially the romantics of true love.

Hayes decides to take a trip to England for the vacation of her dreams. Hayes' friends work hard to keep her in a reality-check but this time they are worried. To pacify their concerns of her eccentricity, Hayes convinces them that a trip to the English countryside will cure her obsession. Her friends are thrilled until they find out she is spending her life savings on the trip to this English country-side resort that caters to women who fantasize about being one of Jane Austen's female heroines.

Warned that her idea is a disaster waiting to happen is unheeded by Hayes in her naivety. Off she goes to be immersed into a life of old world charm for a solid week that includes appropriate costuming and accommodations.

Hayes is picked up at the train station in full turn-of-the century fashion---a horse drawn carriage. Her first stop is to meet with the proprietor of the British Estate, Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) before Hayes' extended stay begins with Mr. Henry Nobley (JJ Feild), Miss Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge), Martin (Bret McKenzie), Lady Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King), and Colonel Andrews (James Callis).

Saddened by the news that her life savings does not buy her status of what she had dreamed in the world of Jane Austen, Hayes relinquishes her dreams and expectations to take her place among a more lowly social standing. But, not without a fight and Hayes' Austenland comes alive! Let the comedy of errors begin!

Words from the director Jersuha Hess, "Austenland was as girlishly indulgent to make as I hope it is for you to watch. Enjoy." A September 2013 release date is schedule in the theaters across the country. Plan for a girls-night-out! You will not be disappointed.