In the wonderful month of April, I visited OWWR Pod Number 1 Fan, Veronica! We started the week off together without really knowing what was going to happen. Five days was the longest we ever spent time together. But when I made a joke about the 1996 Pride and Prejudice, Veronica mentioned that we should watch it. Thus started us watching a ton of Austen Adaptions and off shoots over my stay in Portland. It was thrilling and I cannot recommend a week like this enough. So here is me rating every single #Thirstenland2022 adaption. Because why not?
Mansfield Park tells of a poor girl who lives with rich family and there is a play and two siblings that may be romantically involved, but also want to bang poor girl’s cousins. First of all, Mansfield Park is my least favorite of all the Austen novels. Second of all, it’s almost impossible to do an adaption of because the characters just plain ole stink. In the book, we have Fanny Price, the main character who is so virtuous but happens to be sickly. Then, throughout the first half of the novel, she gets not sickly, leading her uncle to want to marry her off immediately and continue to make weird comments about how well she looks. But Fanny is in love with the most boring man in the universe, her cousin, Edmund. Now we can go into great details about why Edmund sucks, but also you could just watch this movie. Because they do not give Edmund any favors. He continuously is malleable, weird, and changeable. Plus, he judges Mary Crawford for being progressive and telling him the truth. He just didn’t believe her. Seriously, Edmund’s other love interest throughout this entire movie is saying “Hey Bro, I’m not that deep.” And he will run his little legs over to Fanny and be like “Mary is so deep and virtuous.” No she isn’t. She thought you were falling in love with her, and you were falling in love with the idea you put in your own head. A burden I too bear, Edmund. But I don’t blame the person for that!
Overall this movie was, in fact, bad! Billie Piper never changes a modicum so when her uncle is like “you are looking so well!” you are flabbergasted. And you can change up a heroine in a Jane Austen novel, Veronica and I have a favored movie where they do it quite well!
Winner of: Nothing. Go away
Loser of: Everything.
Death Comes to Pemberely
Death Comes to Pemberley has the Darcys years after they are married, and there is MURDER! This show feels like a fever dream. Do I believe that I’ve watched this show before? Yes. Do I remember much of it? Not really. This miniseries was wild. Do we have Mrs. Bennet and Lydia doing their thing? Yes. Is it amazing? Also yes. You may think this review is a lot of questions, but the show will leave you with even more! Overall, throughout it, Veronica and I missed Denny as soon as he was off screen. He is always hotter than Wickam, and appears to actually have morals.
Our favorite scene was where Elizabeth is walking through the forest after a person who may be a ghost. She picks up the person’s dropped hat, the woman appears behind her, grabs the hat, and hisses and Elizabeth. Later, she’s telling Darcy that the woman was “likely just scared!” Elizabeth, why are you the detective of this series, that’s how a cat acts when they’re scared, not a person. Anyways, Darcy is weird in this series, he believes everything he hears, and there is just so much going on.
Winner of: Lydia Bennet. Literally Jenna Coleman is everything as Lydia and she does so well of showing the worst sides of her while still getting it.
Loser of: Human emotions. Next time I’m scared of you I will be hissing at you. Sorry not sorry.
Bride and Prejudice
This is a bollywood retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Veronica and I actually grew up with this movie! And it did not live up to the hype we gave it. I mean, the funnier parts yes. The Mary/Maya character embarrassing herself scene was the woman doing a snake dance (and weirdly enough, hissing!). We sang a specific song called “No Life Without Wife” all weekend. We laughed at how hot Bingley is compared to Darcy.
But the other parts of this movie? YIKES ON BIKES! Darcy is literally throwing microaggressions everywhere. Like, any time he wants to impress her, he literally just craps all over her country. He “learns” because he realizes “maybe colonizing be bad?” Yes Darcy, yes it do be bad. This has early 2000s written all over it, and I am sad for my mini-self who did not see the writing on the wall. Do not end up with him, he sucks.
Other than that, there is a main song about love that I couldn’t tell you the tune of or the words in it. Literally we heard it multiple times but were more likely to discuss the aggressive way one of Lalita’s sisters stares at her boobs as a comedic bit.
Winner of: No life without wife! And a weird fever dream that makes me laugh.
Loser of: The show with the most random hissing! The winner went to Death Comes to Pemberly
Y’all. This movie is as wild as the book. Northanger Abbey answers the question “what if you were so naïve you think you live in a gothic novel?” And honestly, Austen handles this satire with such wit and humor. I love it. Catherine Moore goes to Bath, falls in love with a random man with very little personality (but a weird head turn), and people try to thwart them from being together because they think she’s rich. Spoiler: She is not. Overall, I feel like this Felicity Jones adaption shows a lot of the ridiculous nature of Catherine but loses on some of the Austen wit. Veronica pointed out that in the actual novel, James hardly wants to marry Catherine. I mean, it is hard to do an adaption where a man wants to be with someone this naïve without some implication…. From a 2022 perspective, it’s just hard to be on board with this, and think about what will happen after they get married. I will say that the character played by Carey Mulligan has a lot more depth and sympathy than the actual novel. So that was a plus.
Overall, not the worst, not the best. Overall enjoyable, if not to just do that weird head turn above to your friends. Veronica and I do it all the time!
Winner of: JJ Field, because he gets to play all the random Austen love interests!
Loser of: Romance that you can get on board with.
Emma, if you didn’t know, was about a rich woman who needs a hobby. So she tries to marry people. Or Clueless, for those who are more into the 90s movies. This movie is also a movie I grew up with, but Veronica did not. Also, I have subjected both Laura and Veronica to me describing a very weird dream Kate Beckinsale has where she sees someone marrying Mr. Knightley and screams at the top of her lungs “BUT WHAT ABOUT LITTLE HENRY!” as she holds a child’s hand (context: no. I will give you nothing. Watch the movie!). This movie is well worth a watch just for that.
Other than that, I can’t tell you much other than it has one of my favorite Harriet Smiths. She was also Jane Eyre in another one of these cheaper straightforward adaptions, so I will love it forever. Veronica, her partner, and I were also shocked when we realized Mark Strong was Mr. Knightley and was only like 33, younger than most Mr. Knightleys. Apologies to Mark Strong, I do blame the weird mullet thing you had going on. You are an amazing actor, but also it was just a specific choice the hair department gave you. We did feel bad after laughing about this, Strong was at the time balding and was very upset about it. Sorry we didn’t know you were about my age; Mr. Knightley is one of my faves.
Winner of: Hannah’s Childhood
Loser for: Little Henry. He will never get Knightley’s estate now!
Sense and Sensibility TV Miniseries
A minieseries that dares ask the question: what if you were poor, but you still lived in a three room cottage and had two servants? Yes, so very, very poor. Sense and Sensibility is one of my top Austen novels, a story of two sister’s and their romantic involvement. This is more faithful than the movie starring Emma Thompson (although that one is great). Veronica was very confused with an opening sex scene, I do not blame her. I was confused with how Colonel Brandon was so “romantic” when he literally just says that Marianne reminds him of his dead childhood crush who has a daughter almost Marianne’s age. And she is very young and he is a 44 year old actor. I.e., every movie casting for the last decade (why did we pretend Michele Williams and Hugh Jackman were the same age in the Greatest Show?!). Anyways, this miniseries is very good. I really liked how they treat Marianne’s other love interest, Willoughby. They actually give their romance clear legs and clear feeling from him, which is new. Also yay for Eleanor for telling that awful man off later on in the story! We are team Eleanor.
Other than that, we did laugh that Edward Ferrars is supposed to be plain and he’s Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey. Glad they had Lucy Steele’s sister in this adaption, and made Lucy more sinister. I literally forgot about Margaret every time she was off screen.
Winner of: Hannah and Veronica quotes. There’s a seen where Brandon is in the rain screaming “MARIANNE” and we have sent many a Marco Polo with just that line.
Loser of: Dominic Cooper. Because he did lose love and he was age appropriate. But is also a predator.
Austenland is so camp and fun and I had never seen it before! Veronica had and insisted we watched it. I can’t remember if this was one we charged her partner’s Amazon account for, but it if it was, thanks for the treat! Hope Veronica remembered to Venmo you. Kerri Russel is a woman obsessed with Jane Austen (same girl). She spends all her savings on a trip to Austenland, where you are supposed to get the romance of your dreams for a very specific price. But she is poor so she doesn’t get as many options as Jennifer Coolidge.
This movie is great. We loved every minute of it. Now that we are “bosom friends”, I can tell you to watch it! Although I have a very specific rewrite that would make this movie better, and it all deals with who the love interests are in this and how they should have interacted. If you have seen the movie, seriously DM me. I want to talk about this rewrite and how it would work.
Winner of: Some of our favorite lines of the week and a killer head bob to Gettin’ Hot in Here
Loser of: A very unrealistic end. They did not know each other.
I love this movie. Another Emma, and we did watch it the same day. We also charged Veronica’s partner’s Amazon account. And he had to listen to me say “It’s Emma PERIOD. Because it’s a PERIOD PIECE.” Go listen to the Bechdal Cast’s Matreon to find out what I’m talking about, but that is an actual fact about this one. Is it stunning visuals? Yes. Plus Mr. Knightley is Johnny Flynn of Scrotal Recall/Lovesick fame, one of my favorite television series of all time. He is doing the work as Knightley, and this Emma is a bit hornier than all the others. Which is nice and fun for a modern perspective.
Also, how do Jane Austen villains always get casted so well? Like Mr. Elton in this movie is ridiculous. Mrs. Elton is on Sex Education. It’s just so well cast. I can’t stand it.
Winner of: Actually well-done movies
Loser of: Phrases. Veronica and I rarely quoted this film. Weak.
Pride and Prejudice (1994)
Weirdly enough, I will always put Persuasion above this (because it is objectively better), but this will always be the adaption of my heart. This is the series that started Thirstenland 2022. It started with me doing the Mrs. Bennet impression. It ended with Veronica realizing my impression wasn’t a bit and was actually spot on!! But in all reality, this is a miniseries following Lizzie Bennet as every man falls in love with her and she rejects them all until one man grows as a person. It’s the DREAM! Well, someone’s dream. But Mr. Darcy is amazing. He loves her so much!!! He wants to be a better person!!
This adaption has humor, is a great miniseries, and an amazing Mrs. Bennet and Lydia, so even better than Death Comes to Pemberly. I have tried to convince every man I’ve dated to watch this miniseries. The closest I came was someone who would rather watch 6 seasons of Gilmore Girls (but in my defense, he did end up loving Gilmore Girls). Sigh. I love this series.
Winner of: Hannah’s Heart and an impression Hannah can actually do.
Loser of: People preferring the 2005 Adaption. I get it, I do. But they’re wrong. This is a perfect adaption.
Persuasion is, in essence, the best novel and work Jane Austen ever wrote. This movie is also a great adaption. We meet Anne Elliot at the ripe age of 28. She once had a great love until she was persuaded (Hey! That’s the name of the film) to give it up because it was not a good match. He comes back into her life and she has to watch him try and find love all around her. But she also realizes she must grow from who she once was and move forward in her life. Can they find one another again?
This is such a good adaption. Again, it’s older characters. They’ve made their mistakes. They come to an understanding between them. There is criticism of too much idealism and “romance” in books and poems, the realization of what actual romance can mean. It gives the best lines like “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.” Ugh, I love that line. This adaption also shows one of the best “glow ups” I’ve ever seen. It’s what Fanny Price couldn’t do with Billie Piper. The beginning Anne is not the ending Anne. She is not Jane Bennet pretty, she is just smart, kind, and helpful. She’s resourceful and is at the sidelines watching everyone else. I love Anne Elliot and this film so much.
Winner of: This list
Loser of: Nothing except a loss for Anne’s creepy cousin.