Keri Russell plays a single woman in her mid-3os who is deeply in love with Colin Firth. Not even Colin Firth so much as Colin Firth in the 1995 mini-series Pride and Prejudice.
But really, she’s in love with his Mr. Darcy character from the Jane Austen novel. Since Darcy is a fictional character from 1813, Firth is a tolerable substitute.
When she discovers there is a resort in the U.K. where fans like her can go live for a time and recreate the Regency era of Austen’s classic novels, with handsome suitors willing to participate in a fanciful bit of romantic role-play, she ventures forth looking for love in all the wrong places.
Basically, she’s delusional.
“These lonely, sad ladies save all their money and go to this giant castle. They are ridding themselves of all low-slung jeans and eyeliner and trading them in for petticoats and corsets and bad bun hairstyles to be fake-romanced by the accented Austen heroes,” Russell says. “They’re going knowing it’s all a lie and still falling in love with these guys. They’re paying for it, which is amazing, and kind of what’s beautiful and so great and funny and sad about it all.”
Do these types of resorts actually exist?
“I don’t know if they get to go and have sex with the guys, but there are versions of it,” Russell says. “That’s what keeps getting hinted at. In the end, he’s going to say he loves me.”
The film is based on the 2007 novel by Shannon Hale, and co-written and directed by Jerusha Hess, whose co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite. Given her credentials, expect a lot of skewed humor — especially in the chronological mishmash the resort becomes.
“It is absolutely an irreverent version of the Jane Austen stories, told in Jerusha’s way,” Russell says. “At the ball, everyone is dancing romantically to ‘The Lady in Red.”
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