Pride & Prejudice, natch, is one of the classic stories (this year marks its 200th anniversary) that I—and many others—return to. It’s had many direct and indirect film adaptations, from the Colin Firth BBC classic miniseries to the smaller-commitment-but-still-brilliant Keira Knightley film, to Bridget Jones’s Diary, You’ve Got Mail, and the recent Emmy-winning, online, modernized adaptation, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which I just discovered and devoured. Even films like When Harry Met Sally and tons of television shows use the convention that I believe started with P&P: the couple have an awkward or uncomfortable meet-cute where he falls in love with her, but she instantly forms a negative opinion of him. Of course, by the end of the film, she reciprocates and they live happily ever after. There’s a reason the story is so timeless, and so frequently copied: it works.
Austenland is the latest film to use this convention, and I was really excited to see it—not just because it’s an Austen-based romantic comedy, but because it peeks into, or at least hints at, the world of historical reenacting, a world I have experience in. I’m always happy when pop culture references this fringe society, especially in a remotely positive way.