Jane Hayes’s (Keri Russell) adoration of all things Jane Austen is complicating her love life. Determined to be the heroine of her own story, Jane spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, an eccentric Austen-inspired resort, where she has a difficult time determining where fantasy ends and real life begins.
Jane has been a die-hard Jane Austen fan her entire life. Now that she’s in her thirties, she hasn’t managed to find a single man who lives up to her ideal – that is to say, she hasn’t found a Mr. Darcy. And it’s possible that her obsession with Austen’s romantic heroes might even be getting in the way of Jane finding love. So with zero f*cks left to give, she throws caution to the wind and spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland – a fully immersive, Jane Austen-themed getaway, where corsets are required and cell phones are absolutely not allowed.
Austenland’s proprietor, Mrs. Wattlesbrook, pairs each guest with a handsome actor, with whom they will get a happy ending by means of Regency-style proposal at the end of their stay. But the more time Jane spends with Austenland’s residents, the more the lines begin to blur between what’s real and what is part of the story that Wattlesbrook has plotted for Jane’s character.
Keri Russell as Jane
It might seem like Keri Russell is far too beautiful to play plain Jane, a character who is perpetually single and unlucky in love. But Felicity fans know that Keri is capable of striking the perfect balance of adorable and awkward, which makes her perfect for this role.
Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Charming
Jennifer Coolidge plays this movie as though her Legally Blonde character won the lottery and decided to spend it on a trip to Austenland. She’s constantly yelling out random things like “Bloody Americans!” with a horrible British accent, and it’s so DUMB but so FUNNY.
Bret McKenzie as Martin
I’m a huge Flight of the Conchords fan so it will come as a shock to no one that I went into this movie highly biased toward Austenland’s gardener/chauffeur/stable hand/general manservant, Martin. McKenzie plays Martin as charming, a little smarmy, and just enough of a wiseass to have me rooting for him when he strikes up a romance with Jane early on.
JJ Feild as Mr. Nobley
Ruby in the Smoke fans know him as Fred, Austen fans know him as Henry Tilney. In Austenland, JJ plays Mr. Nobley, the grumpy, brooding nephew of Mrs. Wattlesbrook and the resident Mr. Darcy character. Feild isn’t normally my type, but Mr. Darcy is always my type, so no surprises that I was all in on this guy by the airport scene.
Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook
I want an entire movie on Jane Seymour’s character, Mrs. Wattlesbrook. What happened in this woman’s life that she decided to open a Jane Austen LARPing theme park? How does she afford to pay all those staffers with only three guests? Why is she so mean to poor people?
Couch-Sharing Capability: Higher Than Expected
From the outside, everything about this movie screams “WATCH IT ALONE AND DON’T GET CAUGHT” but the first time I watched it, I somehow convinced my husband to watch it with me, and he…..actually….sort of……enjoyed it?
The humor is far more absurdist and cringe than your run-of-the-mill rom-com. It was directed by Jerusha Hess, the co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite, to give you an idea. And it’s got an all-star cast you can’t help but find charming. You can just FEEL how much fun these people are having on set.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice
You do not have to be drunk to watch this movie, though being drunk while watching this movie might make it even more fun than it already is.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: My Comfort Movie
Listen, this movie is not exactly arthouse cinema. More often than not, the performances feel ad-libbed and the direction is a chaotic mess, like the whole thing wasn’t fully formed but they shot it anyway (which, tbh, is the whole vibe of Wattlesbrook’s Austenland). HOWEVER, when I want swoon and silliness and to only use two of my brain cells, this is the movie I come back to over and over again. It is the comfort junk food of movies.