Regency costumers attended a special screening of the movie “Austenland” at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco on Aug. 17. The costumers were invited to the screening to add some Regency-era ambience and proved popular with the other attendees.
Before the movie began, costumers Kathleen Burnham and David Edgar explained that costumers love the elegant styles of the Regency era and informed the audience of the numerous groups in the San Francisco Bay Area that celebrate Jane Austen and her time period.
“Austenland” is a contemporary romantic comedy set in a fictional English resort for Jane Austen fans. It is based on the novel of the same name by Shannon Hale and directed by Jerusha Hess. American TV star Keri Russell portrays Jane Austen-obsessed Jane Hayes who spends her life savings to experience romance in Austenland.
The two leading men were both perfectly cast with JJ Feild (who played Henry Tilney in 2007’s “Northanger Abbey”) as the aloof and handsome Mr. Henry Nobley and New Zealand actor (who appears in the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies), musician and Oscar-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie as the approachable and rugged stablehand Martin.
The cast is rounded out with strong supporting players such as Jane Seymour as the haughty proprietress Mrs. Wattlesbrook, Jennifer Coolidge as the clueless rich American Miss Elizabeth Charming, Georgia King as the eccentric Lady Amelia Heartwright, James Callis as the dashing Colonel Andrews and Ricky Whittle as the seductive Captain George East.
The costumes by Annie Hardinge were excellent and encompassed different styles from early-to-late Regency. There was a wide variety including Regency daywear, dinner dress, formal attire and hunting ensembles as men and women in that era were expected to change clothes numerous times during the day depending on what they were doing. There was even a scene with some of the main characters doing a play and all of them were wearing Greco-Roman fantasy costumes.
The main characters wore different attire for almost every scene and their social status was distinguished by what they wore. Thus, the wealthier characters had more elaborate and colorful clothing. Jane Hayes started out wearing a drab brown palette and a mousy hairstyle. However, she broke out of the mold and donned a more alluring wardrobe and a more becoming updo.
“Austenland” is a lovely and totally delightful movie. It is highly recommended for those who like imaginative, entertaining, romantic and hilarious stories and especially for those who love Jane Austen and the Regency era. “Austenland” opens in the San Francisco Bay Area on Aug. 23.
Copyright 2013, Jean Martin.
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