Runtime: 120 minutes
Rated PG for brief [unnecessary] nudity and mild language
Cast includes: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, & James Cromwell
Jane Austen is young and unmarried, but none of the men who come courting her live up to her expectations...until a disagreeable young man honors the people of Hampshire with his presence. Mr. Thomas Lefroy is rude—yawning over Jane’s writing!—and, in her words, “insufferable.” However, upon meeting at other occasions, the two realize they are equals in wit and intellect.
Sound familiar? Yes, the beginning is so filled with painfully obvious Pride and Prejudice references—in characters, lines, and scenes—that it seems like a cheap rip-off on the classic novel. Maybe Austen did find inspiration in her everyday life, but Pride and Prejudice was not an autobiography, for goodness’ sakes. The allusions could have been much more subtle.
Fortunately the second half of the script smoothes out into a story of its own. And yes, liberties are taken with Jane’s life and her mysterious flirtation with Tom. So? Personally I can forgive a fictional movie for changing the story of a person’s life if it is well done (Amadeus, for instance), and Becoming Jane is, altogether, a lovely film.
James McAvoy was amazing and Anne Hathaway’s acting has improved immensely (her British accent wasn’t even half bad), but unfortunately Maggie Smith’s talents were hardly seen. The English countryside scenery was delightful and the soundtrack was very pretty, though it did not seem to go with the mood that was visually illustrated in certain scenes.
Over all, I thought the movie was well worth watching at least once—for the intense emotions portrayed with little direct speaking between the lovers in a near-end scene alone. My final opinion is: it was passable, but could have been excellent.
Friday, February 29, 2008