‘Lost in Austen’ review: Pride & Prejudice suffers an intruder

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Lost in Austen TV Mini-series
Lost in Austen TV mini-series starring Jemima Rooper, Elliot Cowan, Hugh Bonneville, Gemma Arterton and Alex Kingston

On a friend’s recommendation, I’ve just finished watching Lost in Austen, a 2008 British TV mini-series about a Jane Austen fan who switches places with Elizabeth Bennet and turns all the events in Pride & Prejudice topsy-turvy as a result.

It was pretty funny, though a little sacrilegious. It has the plot of one of those “girl-gets-transported-into-Jane-Austen’s-world” fanfiction stories, and she ends up getting Mr. Darcy, so many people may decry her as a Mary Sue (except that she does try to put things back in order, and she’s not perfect).

Still, everyone did a good job with their characters, including Gemma Arterton before she was famous and Hugh Bonneville before he was the Earl of Grantham. It was nice to see Mr Wickham portrayed as something other than a complete cad (and he was pretty hot), and Bingley being angry with Darcy.

Love the part where Bingley says “Whenever life is getting me down, I shall be sure to go downtown.”

Frankly, I have never seen the appeal of Darcy, and have no idea why many Jane Austen fans dream of having a man like him. He was so rude and insufferable and cold and aloof, though he became a complete gentleman at the end. Perhaps women like him as a witty sparring partner to liven up their lives? (And his 10,000 a year?) And while the manners are charming, I’ve never liked the hairstyles or fashions of that period.

Still, I’m having the urge to reread Pride & Prejudice now. (If you want a collectible version, the Penguin Clothbound Classics edition is nice, though I wish it was another colour besides mustard yellow.) And re-watch the 2005 movie version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Mmmm.