Thursday, March 22, 2007

Revisiting Jane Austen

Last night I had a girls night out with a friend to see the new movie Becoming Jane Austen. This was exciting for two reasons. Firstly I don't often go to the cinema, we usually wait for the DVD or a TV showing, and secondly I am a fan of Jane Austen's novels.

I have to admit that I discovered Jane Austen quite late in life...I must have been close to thirty. I was aware of Pride and Prejudice from dramatisations but I had never studied Austen at school and had read none of her work until I picked up Emma one day. I was immediately hooked and literally read one book after another from the library, until I had read them all.

I hadn't actually thought much about the movie until my friend suggested going. Partly because I was uncertain about the casting of Anne Hathaway as Jane and partly because I didn't think there would be enough material in Jane's life to dramatise. Lonely spinster, anyone? It's been done before!

Well I have to say I did enjoy it. OK, the movie is a little long and could have had some of the slower parts edited out, especially at the beginning, but the performances are quite good, although I'm still not totally convinced by the casting of Jane. Anne Hathaway is just too perfectly pretty, especially in comparison to other family members, but her accent didn't jar, even if it didn't sound 100% Brit. (I have to be honest here, I hated Renee Zellweger's accent in Bridget Jones.)

The actual story material is built loosely around some known facts and depicts Jane's supposed first love, at the age of twenty, with an Irish lawyer. The sexual chemistry between Hathaway and James McAvoy who played Tom sparked and the screenplay was written just like an Austen novel with obvious character and plot parallels with Pride and Prejudice.

It's the sort of movie to be seen for what it is...not strictly accurate biography, but a fictional entertainment based on and influenced by Jane Austen. If you are an Austen fan, enjoy!

(If you are in the UK don't forget the current TV season of Austen's work either...)


rilly super said...

what a fascinating phenomenon Jane Austen is. How strange to wander around a country backwater such as Alton and encounter camera wielding americans who one honestly believes are expecting local people to wander around in regency garb in some kind of Darcyland theme park. I must go and see this new film, if only because the english accent attempting likes of Zellweger and Paltrow sound like a character from little Britain or a fifties public information film and are worth watching on account of that alone

Cathy said...

I thought you would be more into the Brontes in your part of the world, Rilly...

Livvy U. said...

Hello Cathy
I haven't been able to visit for awhile, obvious reasons... A nice time catching up with you - thanks. Particularly love your advice to parents with children with special needs, it applies to all of us, really, though I cannot begin to imagine how much more such a parent much need that vital sharing and support. Don't know what I would have done without my pregnancy yoga gals.
As for the shopping, oh, life is short. Indulge a little, I say.
Take care

Cathy said...

Lovely to have you back, Livvy. I hope things are going as well as could be hoped. I do check in at your blog regularly!

Yes you are right, that all parents need that sort of friendship and support. Some of my best friends now are people I met when Son 1 was born ( prematurely but no other obvious issues) and we have all been through the kids' schooling and life stages together. My other close friends are involved in the world of autism, as I am with Son 2.

It's amazing how your life and friends change when you have a child!


Anne Brooke said...

Ooh, must see "Becoming Jane" sometime - and I'm enjoying the Sunday night adaptations too - though I'm really not convinced that Billie Piper is Fanny at all!


Cathy said...

Oh I agree about Billie Piper, Anne... I really like Billie Piper as an actress, but that casting just wasn't quite right!