I may be in the minority here, but I really kind of liked "Miss Austen Regrets" on Masterpiece Theater Sunday night. Maybe it's because, unlike the other films in the Jane Jamboree on PBS, it was a story that I wasn't thoroughly familiar with. Of course, they took liberties, but I'm not a stickler on facts if there's a compelling plotline to be gained from it.
I was surprised by (but immediately took to) a Jane Austen who flirted up a storm, drank too much at times, threw people dirty looks, bitched about people she didn't like, got ripped a new one by her adoring niece, was occasionally passive agressive and fretted about whether her writing was good enough -- so unlike the typical Austen heroine, who is only slightly flawed and always rights herself in the end. This Jane was human, even though I spent the whole 90-minutes wondering where I'd seen that actress before. (It's Olivia Williams, fyi, and we've seen her as "Miss Jane Fairfax" to Kate Beckinsale's "Emma." She also played Bruce Willis's wife in "The Sixth Sense.")
Jane's jilted suitor, Mr. Bridges, though not heartthrob material, had a certain something about him that I found endearing and loveable. (Hugh Bonneville, by the way, was supposed to be in an Andrew Davies-directed version of "A Diary of a Nobody"...has anyone seen this?) Even my fiance found himself somewhat engrossed. (He usually reaches his Austen saturaton point about 30 minutes in, but watched this one in its entirety.) So for that reason alone, I'll give it a thumbs up.