Christopher Orr reviews METROPOLITAN, a film directed by Whit Stillman, which we coincidentally rented over the weekend, making mention of its connection to Jane Austen.
The context of [Mansfield Park] and nearly everything Jane Austen wrote is near-ridiculous from today’s perspective,” one young character lectures another early in the film Metropolitan. “Has it ever occurred to you,” the latter replies, “that today, looked at from Jane Austen’s perspective, would look even worse?”
[. . .]
A film that began with its hero mocking the ridiculousness of Mansfield Park’s central dilemma–whether it’s ethical for a group of young people to put on a play–ends with him seeking to head off a moral crisis no less absurd, a young woman’s attendance at a weekend house party. Somewhere, Jane Austen is laughing.
Mostly they talk about Jane Austen a lot, and the main female character, Audrey, is rather Fanny Priceish. On the director’s commentary, Mr. Stillman refers to a scene where the characters play a truth or dare-type game as “the Mansfield Park scene,” mainly because
Fanny Audrey (we really did type Fanny there, ha-ha) tries to talk them out of playing, rather as Fanny Price tried to discourage the play-acting at Mansfield Park.
Speaking of Stillman, our Mysterious Correspondent sent us a link to a recent Stillman interview at the Onion’s AV Club in which he mentions a long-talked-about modern-set adaptation combining two of Jane Austen’s unfinished works, Sanditon and The Watsons.
AVC:You’ve been attached to two or three other projects since your last film, including a Revolutionary War drama and an adaptation of two unfinished Jane Austen novels.
WS: Yeah, my very slight alibi–though I don’t really have an alibi–is that I’ve been working on a number of things that I hope at some point will come through at a faster pace. But it must look pretty pathetic.
Guess that means we won’t be holding our breath. 🙂