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Is it too late to post about Sundance?  Things around here have been either happily-but-stressfully hectic or frustratingly dull and tiresome; both of which I’m afraid are not very conducive to faithful blog-posting. But I still wanted to share about some of the movies we saw this year at Sundance.

The eight movies we saw included documentaries, dramas, comedies, and a thriller.  All of them were well-made, most of them were excellent, and a few of them were visionary but Austenland was by far the most fun.  

Austenland is the story of Jane, a lonely single woman and obsessive fan of Austen’s work who in  a last-ditch effort to bring some excitement and romance into her life blows her savings on a vacation at an immersive English Austen-themed resort.  Hijinks ensue!

The movie has a great cast.  Keri Russell is the lead; Jennifer Coolidge is hilarious as a fellow vacationer; and Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords is funny (and always a treat to watch).

The movie is based on a book by Shannon Hale which I’ve read and directed by Jerusha Hess who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite with her husband. From the moment Jerusha came out on stage and introduced the movie she had the audience in the palm of her hand. During the film there were times when I couldn’t hear some of the dialogue because the audience was laughing so loudly. It was fun to be in such an enthusiastic audience.

After the movie Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale came out on stage and did a Q&A.  Hess talked about what a riot it had been working with the actors, especially Bret McKenzie and Jennifer Coolidge who had ad-libbed most of her lines.  She also mentioned that Keri Russell had been 6 months pregnant when they had filmed at which there was a collective gasp from the audience.

It has a few minor issues but Austenland is a playful romantic comedy tailor-made for the English-major set and anyone who’s ever sighed over Mr. Darcy. Check it out when it’s released in theaters!

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