Here's the really brief version of this review (in case you don't want to read my rambling): I loved the movie!! LOVED it!!
Now on to a more detailed, rambling account of the evening-
The screening was held at Peery's Egyptian Theater in downtown Ogden. I've driven past the theater countless times but had never been inside. It's gorgeous! My favorite part was the adorable man entertaining us on the organ until the show started.
Once every seat was full the movie was introduced by the director, Jerusha Hess. Then the lights went down and I found myself holding my breath. This was the moment of truth- would the book I adore translate into a film worthy of that same admiration? Would this audience, the majority of which probably had not read the book, love these characters and the story as much as I do? I honestly don't know how people like Shannon or Jerusha sat through multiple screenings- I was nervous and I'm just a fan. I don't have the same kind of investment that they do in this project.
Within seconds of the movie beginning the entire audience erupted in laughter and the laughter continued throughout the movie. It wasn't just a little bit of laughter- it was the kind of laughter that made you glad you'd emptied your bladder before the movie started.
I can't put into words how much I enjoyed the movie. There were a few small changes in the story but nothing to be bothered about. These quirky, over-the-top characters that had leapt off the page for me were brought to life even more brilliantly that I could have imagined.
As the movie ended the audience cheered. Then Jerusha and Shannon did a brief Q&A and we cheered some more. Questions were asked about the writing process ("It was a delight!"), the casting process ("We called in a few favors."), about Stephenie Meyer's role (She's a producer) and about distribution. At the time both Jerusha and Shannon said they didn't know about distribution and to keep our fingers crossed. It was announced later last night that Sony has picked it up, which means everyone will get to see it. Yay!!
As I walked back to my car I over heard several comments about people wanting to read the book, loving the movie and wanting to watch it again as soon as it was over. Today I received a phone call from a coworker that was at the screening. Neither she or her husband had read the book, they picked the movie solely on who directed it. They loved it!! It made me smile to hear people who had no idea what Austenland was going into the showing talk about how much they loved it.
I am so excited for the rest of the world to be able to see the movie!!!
Just for fun I'm re-posting this hilarious video from the Midnight in Austenland launch party of Shannon Hale telling the story of signing Ricky Whittle's underwear while on the set of Austenland- Enjoy!!