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Saturday, September 1

Becoming Jane

I'm still digesting the movie and reading Jon Spence's Becoming Jane Austen. Of the four of us who saw Becoming Jane, the one who knew almost nothing about Jane Austen enjoyed the movie the most. Her reaction was curiosity. She wanted to go home and reread Jane's novels and to learn more about her personal life. She was also the only one of us who cried towards the end when Jane met Tom's daughter. To me the scene seemed contrived to provide a neat, pat ending to a rather trite tale.

After the lights turned on in the theater, my fellow Janeite, Lady Anne, and I exclaimed (almost simultaneously), "Nice movie, terrible biography." Two women in the row in front of us turned around, smiled, and agreed. We then briefly discussed "Amadeus," which was also a good film, but which portrayed Mozart's and Salieri's relationship inaccurately.

Click here for my other post about Becoming Jane, and to access other sites about the film. I'll write a more detailed critique about the film later, after finishing Spence's biography.


JAladynLanc said...

I loved the film - as a story about Jane Austen "adapted from" her bio. :-)
In this day when people enjoy mixing tracks together simultaneously from different albums & creating "new" music, I have become accustomed to allowing for a certain creativity when adapting from sources. ;-)

Linda Merrill said...

Well, the ending was probably contrived and pat, but since I assume we don't know how she really felt about being single (aside from her novels where she married her heroine's off happily) I thought her reaction to seeing Tom and his daughter rang very true. Certainly for me. But I can understand that those who are more versed in her life than I would be bothered by inaccuracies in the details. I wasn't burdened with that kind of detail!

Ms. Place said...

So true, jaladynlanc and Linda. I found myself enjoying the movie for what it was and I was rather surprised that I did. I sat back and enjoyed the film, never forgetting for one moment that I was watching Anne Hathaway, not Jane Austen.

Jane chose deliberately to live her life as a single woman, which was quite courageous in its own way. She lived in an era when it was perfectly understood that one simply HAD to bring assets to the marriage or the union would not be approved by the family. I think this concept is very hard for us who live in the 21st century to understand, but it is one that a majority of young ladies and gentlemen of that era learned to accept and live with.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

I was disappointed that the relationship between Jane and her sister Cassandra was given short shrift, annoyed partly because this relationship was one of the most important in Jane’s life. Also, because Anna Maxwell Martin, who plays Cassandra Austen is such a fine actress and I had hoped her role in the film would be larger.

Ms. Place said...

Agree, Jacqueline, and I want to address this short shrift given to this relationship in a later post.

Aside from my disappointment in the treatment of the relationship between Cassandra and Jane, there were so many details out of whack in this movie. To put a positive spin on it, I liked its earthy and vigorous tone. People in the Regency era were not prudish, to say the least, and in this aspect, the director captured the period well.

But I didn't need to see Jane glammed up at the expense of her sister. I've never thought of Jane as being an old plain spinster, and still don't, and I certainly wouldn't confuse the 'real' Jane with Anne Hathaway's facile portrayal.