Pony and Trap

We were having a Sunday afternoon walk around part of the parkland at Balbirnie. The house itself is now a rather posh hotel, but the grounds are owned by the local council and there’s a golf course there too of course, well it is Fife so there’s always a golf course nearby.

Walking down the hotel driveway I heard this pony and trap long before I saw it, it wasn’t the clip-clopping which I heard though it was jangling bells.

I think it must be something to do with the hotel, maybe they pick up some guests from the railway station, to give them a Victorian experience. Anyway it was a nice sight but it did remind me of that Jane Austen spin off comedy which I saw at the flicks fairly recently, Austenland. No surprises that the film wasn’t up for any BAFTA awards as it was just a bit of light silliness, but I was pleased to see that Cate Blanchett got a BAFTA for her work in Blue Jasmine which I think was the only other film which I saw last year.

Austenland – the film

Kirkcaldy Film Theatre has been having its very first Film Festival this week, which is why they had the Scottish premiere of the film Austenland at the Adam Smith Film Theatre this afternoon. I didn’t know a thing about the film but I’ve read and re-read Jane Austen’s books over the years and although I wouldn’t call myself a Janeite I couldn’t pass up the chance to see this film’s premiere.

I was surprised to see a red carpet had actually been rolled out at the front of the theatre, actually it looked great and I was cursing because I didn’t have my camera with me. Before the film began there was a short talk by Sharon Bassett, the treasurer of the Scottish Branch of the Jane Austen Society.

Austenland begins in the US where Jane a 30 something woman is obsessed with the Colin Firth Mr Darcy. Her home is full of Austen related stuff, dolls, a cardboard cut-out of Colin Firth as Darcy and lots of twee Georgianesque country home china bits and bobs.

As she’s having no luck with the US men she dates she decides to splurge all her savings on a trip to a Jane Austen themed stately home in England, the stay culminates in a ball where she will be guaranteed a romance with one of the gentlemen there. It’s the Jane Austen equivalent to one of those murder mystery weekends which were so popular a wee while ago.

From the beginning her expectations are dashed when she discovers that she has only paid for the ‘copper’ experience, whilst her older and wealthier compatriot has opted for the platinum deal. Poor Jane is treated like the poor relation.

This film has many of the elements of a Jane Austen novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it, there were plenty of laugh out loud moments, it’s all very tongue in cheek of course, but I think Jane Austen herself would have had a good giggle if she had been able to watch it herself. I’ve just had a look at some film critic reviews of the film and it was only given 3 stars which I think is harsh. It is after all a rom-com and it drives me round the bend when people say that Jane Austen things are cliched – that just can’t be helped as everybody else has copied her down the years, somebody has to do things first!

If you want to see what else is on at the Kirkcaldy Film Festival this weekend have a look here.