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    Becoming Jane: a movie any Jane Austen fan won’t want to miss

    August 9, 2007

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Perhaps one of my most favorite lines of all in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen is, by far, one of my most favorite writers ever.

    So when I got an email from MotherTalk, the subject line caught my eye. Would I like to review the movie Becoming Jane? That’s like asking if ice cream is good any time of the day. I hit that reply button so fast my eyes were swimming. I was curious to see exactly how this fictionalized account of a young Jane Austen would play out. I chose to go with zero expectations.

    Now is a good time to admit that I am a Jane Austen snob. A Jane Austen purist. Jane. Austen. Obsessed.

    As a condition for accepting my husband’s marriage proposal, I may have required him to watch all 6 hours of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. It took me two years to realize that my wedding dress that I bought off a rack was exactly like the one Gwyneth Paltrow wore in Emma. I have been known, on occasion, to pop Pride and Prejudice Part I into the dvd player to pass a Saturday morning. I probably spent HOURS on the phone discussing the absurdity of making a Pride and Prejudice movie that ran less than 6 hours. With Colin Firth nowhere to be found. I have Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility (or Sense and Sensitivity as Kate likes to refer to it) stacked on my nightstand for those moments that I just need a decent, reliable, amiable read.

    becomingjane.jpgSo how was it? Hands down, Anne Hathaway’s performance was fabulous. My girl has had a tough run getting past the sweetness that is The Princess Diaries and I’m thinking people will finally start to take her seriously now. Coming on to the screen with the wit of Lizzy, I began to see glimpses Marianne and even Emma on occasion. Her portrayal contained the exact amount of spunk I imagined a young Jane Austen to have. As Austen’s love interest in the film, James McAvoy’s Tom Lefroy made me want to climb up and lick the screen. The chemistry between Jane and Tom was just that good. Let’s all admit it. We all know that the Perfect Man would have Darcy’s intelligence, Wickham’s rakishness and Willoughby’s dreaminess.

    Writers Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams cleverly wove Austen characters into the people surrounding Austen in Becoming Jane without offending your intelligence. Clever because you were constantly surprised that a character that you assumed would fit into a mold actually had the traits of a very different (or even more than one) Austen character. Without offense because it is more realistic to believe that Austen’s characters in her novels were not replicas of the people she knew but the sum of her life experiences.

    Loosely adapted from the early life of Jane Austen, this fictional account of what might have been was a great way to spend an evening in a theater. You should check it out.

    14 Comments

    1. JaneFan says:

      I enjoyed reading your review! I’m glad to hear that it is a fun movie, as long as you approach it as fiction (no t fact, as it is being marketed.)

      I was only able to get my husbad to watch Bridget Jones’ Diary before marriage! I think he would stand for the 6-hr P&P only if I reciprocated with going to an all day car show… :)

      August 9th, 2007 at 7:52 am

    2. caroline says:

      i think it says something that even though all of us who say this knew how the story had to end going into the theater still were able to hope and wish that it would be different. i, too, love austen so much and found this totally diverting whether it was a true story or not.

      thanks for sharing your review.

      August 9th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    3. OMSH says:

      I’ve been waiting. This is one I’ll see with girls b/c it isn’t Die Hard enough for Mr. OMSH.

      August 9th, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    4. mother-talk.com » Blog Archive » Blog Tour: “Becoming Jane” says:

      [...] Mommy Needs a Cocktail writes “Anne Hathaway’s performance was fabulous … Her portrayal contained the exact amount of spunk I imagined a young Jane Austen to have. As Austen’s love interest in the film, James McAvoy’s Tom Lefroy made me want to climb up and lick the screen. The chemistry between Jane and Tom was just that good.” [...]

      August 9th, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    5. Jennifer/The Word Cellar says:

      I was feeling skeptical about this movie, but feel more optimistic now. Thanks for the review!

      August 9th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    6. Amy says:

      I won’t be able to get Mr. T to go and see this with me (I’m crossing my fingers for “Nanny Diaries” though), but I promise to see it when it hits our many movie channels. I’m glad someone who’s taste and judgment I trust has seen it and given it the thumbs-up!

      August 9th, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    7. Keri says:

      I have enjoyed Anne Hathaway in everything I’ve seen her in – found her performance to be quite fine. I can’t say that I’ve thought the subjects of the movies have always been her in her best interest, but this time? I think she’s picked a winner. And I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for your review!

      August 9th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    8. Emily says:

      I love Jane Austen too (and had Pride and Prejudice at the ready in case my labor went long – it didn’t so I had to reschedule), and totally cracked up at the idea of hours of conversation about making a film of less than 6 hours. Because of course that was a crazy idea.

      I’m glad to hear you liked Anne Hathaway. She was the reason I wasn’t going to go see the movie. While I loved The Devil Wears Prada because Meryl Street was amazing, Anne Hathaway could barely keep up. Now I’m going, for sure, and looking forward to a summer escape with Austen!

      August 10th, 2007 at 4:25 am

    9. Manic Mommy says:

      We were staying at my MIL’s house while having our house remodeled when the new P&P came out. When Andy came home one night, I handed him our 8-month-old and ran screaming to the movies by myself.

      Can’t wait to see Becoming Jane.

      My bookend to Sense and Sensibility is Much Ado About Nothing. A very clever, very funny romance.

      August 10th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    10. Gretchen says:

      Oh – you’re definitely right! At first I was thinking, THIS is the best they could do? But by the end I was completely taken in by young McAvoy and those lovely blue eyes – and I rushed home to check him out on IMDB. I’ve got a wee little crush now, I’ll admit.

      August 11th, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    11. Super Zoe says:

      Thanks for the review! I am probably a Jane snob, too but am glad there are some more out there. Jane is the best!

      August 12th, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    12. Julie Pippert says:

      Very good to know! I’m eager to check it out now!

      Julie
      Ravin’ Picture Maven

      August 13th, 2007 at 7:47 am

    13. protagonist says:

      I just think that Anne Hathaway looks like Julia Roberts in that poster.

      August 13th, 2007 at 9:54 am

    14. Suburban Turmoil says:

      Jealous. So jealous. I wanted those free tickets, but it hasn’t opened in Nashville yet. My mom saw it though and says it’s AWESOME.

      August 13th, 2007 at 4:12 pm

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