• Deborah Yaffe

Adding to the list

Since March 1, we’ve swooned (tastefully) over Sanditon, chuckled at (or ignored) The Courtship, held our breath for Bridgerton’s ve-e-ry slow-burning (but tasteful) romance, and prepared ourselves to welcome the Netflix Persuasion on July 15. And now comes word of yet another on-screen tribute to what we now call “Jane Austen’s era.” Really, the English Regency hasn’t been this popular since 1820.


Naturally, I’m not the first person to notice this recent mini-trend (see here and here), though I’ve yet to hear an explanation that doesn’t boil down to ShondaRimesIsAGenius. Still, if the result is delightful romcom entertainment with an Austenesque twist – which: sometimes yes, sometimes no -- you’ll get no argument from me.


The latest addition to the corsets-and-bonnets roster is Mr. Malcolm’s List, a feature film based on a 2020 romance novel by Suzanne Allain, who helped produce an eleven-minute video precis hawking the screenplay before her book was even published. As some recent breathless publicity notes, the story concerns a snooty hero whose long list of the qualities he requires in a wife enrages our heroine so much that she schemes to puncture his arrogance. Any resemblance to Pride and Prejudice is of course entirely coincidental.


Yes, I too thought this premise sounded like fun, until I read the book and pretty much hated it from beginning to end.


But as blog readers know, this unpromising start will certainly not keep me from buying a ticket when the movie hits theaters July 1. If it’s marketed as Jane Austen, Jane Austen-inspired, Jane-Austen-adjacent, or even just part-of-that-new-Regency-trend -- well, I’ll bite, every time.


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