Austenland – Men need not apply!


Branded as a film made by women, about women and for women, Austenland, the soon to be released  rom-com movie based on a fictional Jane Austen theme park, is the latest cinematic adaptation of an Austen inspired novel to hit the silver screens. Unlike previous offerings, such as The Jane Austen Book Club, Austenland is causing a bit of stir.

Conventional rom-coms may be predominantly aimed at the female market, with the occasional nod to the male audience, but Austenland looks to have gone a very large step further in actively discouraging men to watch the film at all.

I’m not sure whether I like this idea. Are men truly from Mars and women from Venus? I’m sure we can enjoy such things together.

Whilst there have been some significantly successful female dominated films in recent years, such as Bridesmaids, these have been enjoyed by both men and women, even if the plots of these films were undoubtedly female-centric.

Can a film entirely aimed at women, one that so loudly proclaims its disinterest in the male viewer, actually be successful? Until the film is formally released and we can see what sort of viewing figures it gets we won’t know for sure, but the critics already appear divided.

Apparently the male critics hated the film but that was fine with the film’s producers who make no secret of their indifference to male reaction. Women critics, surprise, surprise, love it.

Irrespective of whether the film flops or not the central premise of the story, a Jane Austen inspired theme park, certainly piqued my imagination and I’d have to agree that, to some people, such an idea  may be nirvana.

Me, I’m not so sure. Whilst I do love dressing up in Regency gowns, as do many of my loyal clients on P and P Tours, I suspect that the inevitable commercialism of a theme park, no matter how tastefully put together, would destroy any semblance of historical accuracy or sensitivity towards Austen and her masterpieces.

I can just imagine it – the Longbourn Gift Shop stocked full of bonnets and reticules, the daring Fanny Price Carriage Ride, complete with sea views and a near miss with a highwayman, or the Emma Matchmaking Game where you have to put the correct couples together or face societal disgrace. The thought makes me shudder.

No, whilst I hope Austenland is a success and I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching it and will take some visceral pleasure from the idea of such a theme park, I maintain that the best way to get close to Austen and her characters is to come on a PandP Tour, where our expert guides will lead you down the streets in which Jane walked whilst imparting their vast knowledge of Austen, her novels and her life and times.

No theme park could recreate the splendour of the 1995 BBC Pemberley or the thrill of having tea and dancing at THE one and only Longbourn. You can do these things and so much more on a P and P tour where we offer private tour, escorted tours, bespoke and chauffeur tours.

At P and P Tours we offer the genuine Austenland experience!


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