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Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Emma.

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Image credit: Emma. 2020

As any frequent moviegoer will tell you, 2020 was pretty much our worst nightmare. While theaters began to shut their doors last March, we saw our hopes for carefree, popcorn-scented afternoons dashed as quickly as that animated roller coaster flings itself around a cartoon soda in the opening pre-show. Perhaps you spent some time thinking about the last movie you saw before lockdowns, wondering if you made the right call. In my case, I could rest easy knowing I went out on a high note with Emma. (Disc/Download).

Though any Jane Austen scholar will likely critique this film’s deviation from its source material, to me it captures the spirit, whimsy, and fun of the book. Plus, in contrast to Clueless (my other favorite Emma adaptation), we get to enjoy the sumptuous costumes and polite society of the Regency era. I’ll always have a fondness for “Rollin’ With the Homies,” but there’s something about a choreographed quadrille that just makes me grin from ear-to-ear. Autumn de Wilde’s directorial style shows similarities to that of Wes Anderson or Sofia Coppola- heavy on style and symmetry, light on melodrama and manic performances. Anya Taylor-Joy is perfection as our meddlesome title character, and of course I adore Bill Nighy as her lovable, hypochondriac father whose greatest foe is a chill draft. It’s a pastel world of manners and manipulation, and in a year when literally everything seemed beyond our control, it was comforting to think of another character who had to abandon her controlling ways to find happiness. I was not alone in the struggle.

In the dark days of the pandemic, I often thought about the candy-coated costumes and production design of this film. Even down to the tiniest stitch or ribbon of paint, every element was an important piece of the visual tableau. In my beverage choice, I wanted to celebrate Emma’s love of flowers and bold pastel colors. While watching Emma., I recommend drinking this Night Bloom cocktail.

Night Bloom

1 1/2 oz Gin

1/2 oz Creme de Violette

1 Egg White

1/2 oz Lemon Juice

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Flower Garnish

Combine Gin, creme de violette, egg white, lemon juice, bitters, and simple syrup in a shaker. Shake vigorously for ten seconds, then add ice. Continue shaking until chilled and frothy, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a flower.

As I write this, I’m about to head back to the movie theater after sixteen months away. The flick: To Catch a Thief. Hollywood still has a long way to go before it lures me back with new material, so until then I’ll be enjoying some old favorites and savoring the memory of watching Emma Woodhouse dance with Mr. Knightley for the very first time (*sigh*). Cheers!

Austenland

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la_ca_0416_austenland

Image credit: Austenland, 2013

Due to the publication of Curtis Sittenfeld’s fabulous new novel Eligible (an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice), there has been a lot of recent publicity about the works of Jane Austen. How fortuitous that I’m closing out Cocktails & Corsets month on Cinema Sips, since there happens to be a fantastic movie that celebrates all things Austen, and features Keri Russell in corset-attire. This week’s film Austenland (DVD/Download) is an absolute must for any Austen aficionado.

Based on the novel by Shannon Hale, Austenland is about a Jane Austen superfan who travels to a fantasy resort in England in order to live the Regency-period lifestyle. This means empire waist gowns, croquet, reading in a grassy meadow, and the promise of a romance-filled ball. There are Darcy references galore, a rescue in the rain (on horseback), and catty remarks over high tea. Plus, everybody’s favorite scene stealer, actress Jennifer Coolidge. What time is check-in again?

Although my first instinct for a Jane Austen-inspired cocktail was the Pimm’s Cup, research tells me that this liqueur was not available until decades after the author’s tragically short lifespan. Therefore I’ll be serving a beverage that any Austen fan worth her salt would be drinking during her 5th reading of Sense & Sensibility– tea. While watching Austenland, I recommend drinking an Erstwhile Evening Tea.

Erstwhile Evening Tea

1.5 oz Gin

1.5 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

1.5 oz English Breakfast Tea, chilled

.75 oz Lemon Juice

3 dashes orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled teacup, and garnish with a lemon twist.

erstwhile tea

As Jane, Keri Russell makes an interesting statement about the Regency period. She says it’s a lot like a corset- she likes the way it looks, but it makes it hard to relax. In a world where emotions are kept in check, and image and social standing matter far too much, I could see her point. Austenland might not be the best place to establish a permanent residence, but it sure looks like fun to visit. Cheers!