Becoming Jane

We know what became of her bank balance, but what became of the woman, Jane Austen, behind the pin number?

Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, James Cromwell, Ian Richardson

We know what became of her bank balance, but what became of the woman, Jane Austen, behind the pin number?

Here be the answer, the story of a woman who lived, loved, got literary and made it to Forbes most powerful list by their gala 1795 issue.

“Becoming Jane” stars Anne Hathaway as one of history’s most prolific and most popular romance writers. Before she was the best-selling author we all know her as – in fact that’s about all most of us know her as – she was a chirpy little country-sider who hooked up with a penniless Londoner named Tom Lefroy (McAvoy). Naturally – being that in these times it was all about marrying a man with money – the relationship was never one that was going to work; not without making some waves.

Like most guys, I’ll whine till the cows come home about being pulled along to one of these old-age chick flicks – but, and again like most guys, I’ll quite enjoy myself once I get there. For example, last year’s redo of Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” – starring Keira Knightley (never too hard to look at), in the lead role – was a great little film. It had plenty of spark; great dollops of humour; a vibrant little script and a gold group of actors. Of course, I wouldn’t have been caught dead watching this film had it no been for journalistic reason – but, like a day at school, it wasn’t half bad once I got there.

It was the same with “Becoming Jane” – the things we do for our job, hey? – I never would’ve checked it out if didn’t involve a noose and handcuffs. But as for actually enjoying myself once I got there? That’s another matter. The spark, humour, and effectual structure of most of Austen’s films has sadly been left out of a movie that seems intent on floating in the same pool as those films; yet restricts itself from being all that it can be. Granted, it isn’t one of those movies – it only tells the story of the person that wrote such stories – but the film seems so determined to pass it off as say, a loose ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – being that all of Austen’s stories were based on events in her real life – that you’d think they might have actually structured the film the same way. Nope, besides the well-referenced script (explaining where, when and how Austen came up with the characters and situations in her famed novels), there’s little magic at work here at all. Art is more exciting than life, it seems.

The very-easy-on-the-eyes Anne Hathaway is quite tolerable – and does an OK British accent – as Austen, and rising young actor James McAvoy (“the Last King of Scotland”) makes for a charming-enough Darcy… sorry,.. Lefroy… but they haven’t got a lot to work with. If the filmmakers had put as much effort into the movie, as they did the people and places – everything, and everyone, looks rather divine – we blokes might’ve been able to stay awake. In this case, even your wife will be sprung catching some zzzzz’s in a few spots.

In this case, the guys will be spot-on when they say, “Love, you’ll enjoy the new Bruce Willis movie just as much”.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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