Lost in Austen review: fantasy romp through Pride and Prejudice

Jemima Rooper in Lost in Austen

Lost in Austen is a nearly 20 year old mini-series about a modern woman who finds herself living in Jane Austen’s fictional world of Pride and Prejudice with Elisabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I found it a hoot – clever and funny.

Lost in Austen began, I assume, on iTV in the UK. All these years later you can see it on Freevee or Tubi or Brit Box or several other places. I thought it was a great find and enjoyed it.

Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper) loved reading Pride and Prejudice. She knew it by heart, she’d read it so often. Her boyfriend was a dud. He proposed with the flip top off a soda can. He didn’t even come close to the allure of Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy.

Gemma Arterton and Jemima Rooper in Lost in Austen
Want to swap lives?

Amanda heard strange noises in her bathroom. She looked and found Elisabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton) repeatedly and delightedly pulling the string on the light switch. Elisabeth explained she’d come through a door hidden in the wall. Amanda crawled through the door for a look.

The door closed behind her and Amanda was trapped in the early 1800s in the Bennet home. When she came upon Mr. Bennet (Hugh Bonneville) she told him she and Elisabeth had traded lodgings for a few days. He accepted this as sensible and went about his main business of ignoring his nervous wife (Alex Kingston) and their many daughters.

Alex Kingston in Lost in Austen
The Bennet women need rich husbands.

Mixing a straight talking woman in trousers who seemed to know everything about their lives into the Bennet household was jarring for everyone. Elisabeth was supposed to meet Mr. Darcy (Elliot Cowan) very soon and fall in love. But Elisabeth was stuck in the 21st Century.

Elliot Cowan in Lost in Austen
That’s not Colin Firth

The brooding and handsome Mr. Darcy was interacting with Amanda. That wasn’t right. And Jane Bennet (Morven Christie), who was supposed to marry Mr. Bingley (Tom Mison), was far from following Jane Austen’s plot as she should have.

The more time Amanda spent in this world, the more mixed up the plot became. It was often funny and revealed things about the characters that Jane Austen would never have dreamed. Certain cads turned out to be gallant. Certain sisters turned out to be lesbians. Certain suitors turned out to be cowards. Everyone “in society” was faking it and a breath of fresh air like Amanda almost made the entire social fabric fall apart.

The ending was a surprise. The entire 4 part series was treat.

One of my favorite actors, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, had a tiny part as Amanda’s roommate in London. Seeing familiar faces as they looked 20 years ago was part of the fun of watching this.

The manors and gardens where the series was filmed created a fabulous setting. The costumes were not as lavish as we’ve grown accustomed to in shows like Bridgerton, but they looked authentic.

If the handsome Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice isn’t your romantic idol, what fictional lover would you like to drop in on?

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