Australian Council on Children and the Media

Austenland

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Not recommended under 8 (Lacks interest; Violence) PG 8-13 (Sexual references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Austenland
  • a review of Austenland completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 December 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to lack of interest and some violence
Children 8 to 13 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Austenland
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references, coarse language and violence
Length 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Austenland is a British romantic comedy about single thirty-something Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), an American woman obsessed with Colin Firth's Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Her idealisation of Mr Darcy has crippled her love life greatly – no real man can compare with the standards she has set. After her short-term boyfriend breaks up with her for that reason, Jane spends all her savings on a trip to an English Regency-style resort called 'Austenland' which offers an immersive Jane Austen experience. Guests must go by aliases, dress in period costume and go without all modern conveniences. There are even male actors posing as gentlemen and romance is guaranteed for each of the guests during their stay.

Jane soon finds herself torn between two of the men at the resort; the stable boy Martin (Bret McKenzie), who she presumes isn't an actor, and one of the gentlemen Mr Henry Nobley (JJ Feild). As time goes on, she finds herself falling for Henry. However, she equally doubts his intentions, believing it is merely part of the package 'romance'. Jane eventually discovers that Martin was scripted to fall for her, whereas Henry – who has only just begun working at the mansion – has genuine feelings for her. Jane then needs to decide whether to take a chance by trusting her instincts and giving Henry - a man who appears to be her ultimate fantasy - a real chance.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Relationships and love; social hierarchy; taking chances

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is limited violence and some accidental harm in the film, including:

  • The guests and actors all spend some time pheasant shooting.
  • One of the gentlemen, Captain East, is also a soap star. The other guests watch vision of him on his television show where he gets shot repeatedly and dies.
  • During the play performance, Captain East accidentally gets hit in the crotch with a large stick – he appears to be in considerable pain afterwards.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Nothing of concern apart from the violence described above.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Nothing of concern apart from the violence described above which may scare younger children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references and innuendo in the film, including:

  • One of the actors kisses Jane's hand and tells her she 'is the most sensual creature'.
  • When asked to play a piece on the piano, Jane decides to sing a contemporary song with quite sexually suggestive lyrics: 'It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes, I'm gonna take my clothes off'.
  • Mr Wattlebrook is flirting with Jane, and jokingly calls her 'Miss Lustwhile' instead of 'Miss Erstwhile'.
  • Henry accidentally grabs the breasts of Lady Heartwright during their performance.
  • During the performance, Henry accidentally says 'I seek no barrage but the cleavage', before correcting himself to say 'the cleaving'.
  • The male actors are discussing Jane, and Colonel Andrews says 'Oh yeah, I could slap that between a bun', implying he would have sex with her.
  • At the ball, Elizabeth tells Jane that she is wearing her 'favourite pair of pink pantaloons', implying that she has worn them because she would like to have sex with Colonel Andrews.
  • While in the stables with Jane, Martin says ‘You're a little bit tired, we’ll have to give you a rub down tonight’ – Jane becomes immediately uncomfortable, thinking he is suggesting something sexual. He is actually talking to his horse.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in the film, including:

  • Jane and Martin kiss several times throughout the film. Jane is also seen kissing Henry multiple times, and her friend Elizabeth kisses Colonel Andrews (against his wishes, however).
  • Mr Wattlebrook tries to force himself on Jane one night, something which he has done with several of the women who have previously stayed at the resort. He asks Jane if she would be interested in 'a little wink-wink nudge-nudge under the table' whilst grabbing her by the waist and trying to kiss her, before Jane ultimately pushes him off.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is limited coarse language in the film, including:

  • Jane's friend, upon seeing her Mr Darcy-themed bedroom, tells Jane to 'clear this crap out'.
  • Elizabeth misreads the lines in the play they're performing, and says 'a fickle in my large ass'.
  • One of the audience members tells Colonel Andrews 'You’re rubbish, get off the stage you wanker’.

In a nutshell

Austenland is a heart-warming film about taking chances and letting go of preconceptions. Jane is initially bound by her infatuation with a television character and inability to see beyond what she believes she really wants. However, she soon discovers that if she wants to take control of her future and give herself a true chance at happiness, she needs to make herself vulnerable and open to new experiences. She wants something 'real', and progressively comes to realise that her fantasy can in fact be her current reality. The film is likely to lack interest for younger children and has some scenes that might scare children under 6.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Taking control of your destiny is crucial to happiness - you are the only one who can craft the future you want.
  • Learning to trust others, but also learning to place your trust in those who truly deserve it.
  • Embracing change and letting go of your past.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Infidelity and the lasting psychological scars it may cause.
  • The differences between false relationships and feelings, and genuine ones.

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