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Becoming Jane

Posted on

Colm Hogan

Becoming Jane

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG
runtime:
112 minutes
Limited Release Date:
08/03/07
performer:
Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, James Cromwell
director:
Julian Jarrold
distributor:
Miramax
author:
69926, 77497
genre:
Biography, Drama

We gave it a B+

Becoming Jane mines novelist Jane Austen’s own life as she was sketching out the skeleton of 1813’s Pride and Prejudice. The loosely biographical script is a charmer; the supporting cast (Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, James Cromwell) is top-drawer; and Anne Hathaway, with her coltish beauty and frank demeanor, is a welcome Jane. As with the best interpreters of Austen heroines on film — from Sense and Sensibility‘s Emma Thompson to Pride‘s Jennifer Ehle — her toughness is a vital defense of a tender core. Jane wishes to marry for affection (of course!), but her struggling family is in a bind and there’s a dull if decent rich man (Laurence Fox) on bended knee. James McAvoy, slightly less unbidden than in Atonement but possessing a similar dreamy oomph, plays her Irish love interest, a future lawyer who must also marry for money. How these two deserve their triumphant, happy ending! Alas, this a movie about Austen, not an Austen novel. The best end to an evening of onscreen Jane is some good bathtime reading. Skip the DVD’s lame extras (especially the egregious pop-up facts); gorge on the books instead. B+

More Austen? See Karen Valby’s review of The Jane Austen Book Club on DVD

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