Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Becoming Jane | A Review | I ❤️ Austen Week


     In the history of English literature, there have been many admirable female writers from Ann Radcliffe to Charlotte Brontë to Agatha Christie.  But perhaps none have been so well-loved as Jane Austen, the writer of realistic and happily concluded novels.  Every one of her admirers wonders about the author herself.  What inspired her beloved stories and characters?  Was she ever in love herself?  

     Well, today, as part of Hamlette's I Love Austen Week, I am going to be reviewing Becoming Jane, the movie which does its best to answer those questions in a (somewhat embellished) version of Jane Austen's life story.

      Becoming Jane, directed by Julian Jarrold, tells the story of a young Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway), an aspiring authoress who is interested in everything except a loveless marriageBelieving she will be able to live by her pen someday, Jane is not looking for love.  However, "when the dashing Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), a reckless and penniless lawyer-to-be, enters Jane's life, he offends the emerging writer's sense and sensibility.  Soon their clashing egos set off sparks that ignite a passionate romance and fuel Jane's dream of doing the unthinkable: marrying for love."


      This movie, inspired by the true story of Jane Austen's romance, weaves a bittersweet tale of love gained and love lost.  While, as I said, it is quite dramatized, the film still remains true to the author's life and feelings (as derived from her novels).  Jane clearly expresses that novels should reflect real life (as she shows us in Northanger Abbey) and that sometimes good characters have less-than-ideal endings (poor Charlotte Collins) and bad characters get along better than they deserve (ahem, Mr. Wickham).  In the end, however, she decides that her novels will indeed reflect real life, but her heroines will have happy endings.

     One thing I love about this movie is how there are several characters that are direct parallels to characters in Ms. Austen's novels.  Jane writes down several lines spoken by some of them for later use in her writings and it is implied that her novels each are a bit of her true life story.  Perhaps we'll never know how true this is or not, but either way, this is still quite an enjoyable movie.


     The costumes are lovely, as are all the sets from the houses to the woods to the ocean.  The acting is wonderful, especially from the two leads and the one and only Dame Maggie Smith.  And let's not forget the beautiful music which accompanies it.

     There are a few mildly inappropriate scenes and few choice words, but it is not enough to garner a PG-13 rating.  Overall, though, this is a well-made, beautiful period drama that every Jane Austen fan will have a different opinion of.  You'll either love it or you'll hate it.  I, for my part, like it very much and give it 4/5 stars.


     So what do you think of this movie?  What do you like and dislike about it?  Tell me in the comments below.  Also, make sure you check back to the master post for other reviews, posts, and games all about Jane Austen as a part of I Love Austen Week

14 comments:

  1. Oh, I adore this film! Whether or not it is indeed completely true, it is a beautiful story which always leaves me crying... And the soundtrack is stunning too! I would highly recommend Becoming Jane...although I too would caution that there are one or two mildly inappropriate scenes (really just certain discussions...)
    I doubt I could tire of this movie! {{Smiles}}
    Excellent review, Elanor!
    Hugs,
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. I know! I get misty-eyed when she's looking out the back of the carriage at him!;(
      But it is such a sweet film. And she only had the best intentions in the end.

      Thanks for the comment, Kelly-Anne!
      Hugs to you, too! :)

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  2. I still don't know if I want to watch this or not...I kind of think Tom Lefroy was probably the Willoughby/Wickham/Frank Churchill in Jane Austen's life rather than the big love interest - but I love James McAvoy and it does look good! Great review :)

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    1. Mmm...you might be surprised. I think you should give it a try:)

      Thanks for commenting, Catherine!:)

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  3. I still have not seen this, but you're making me really want to! Very good review. Thanks for contributing it to I Love Austen Week :-)

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    1. Oh, it has been such a pleasure so far! You know, any excuse to ramble on about anything and everything Jane Austen:)

      And, yes, you should certainly give this movie a try.

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  4. I have seen this movie one time, it was a long time ago though.
    I don't really remember me how the movie was, but it was lovely.

    Those words and scenes are totally inappropriate. I totally agree with you.

    Lovely post Elanor!!

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    1. Thanks, Rachel! Yes, it is a lovely movie. Perhaps you should rewatch it sometime :)

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  5. I want to see this. And after reading your review I want to see this VERY MUCH!!!! Lovely review Elanor!!!

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    1. Oh, yes! As I've been telling everyone else, you definitely should see it:)

      Thanks, MovieCritic!

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  6. Lovely review, Elanor! It's been years since I saw this movie. I disliked it rather a lot when I saw it, but opinions can change, so I won't say for certain that mine would remain the same if I saw it again. ;)

    Dame Maggie Smith is in it?! I'd forgotten that. Hmmm...maybe another reason to re-watch it. :)

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  7. It has been years since I have watched this. I remember how strange it was to watch a regency movie, and Jane Austen herself was supposed to be in it, not any of her characters, and I kept forgetting that. xD
    I think we, also, ran it through a scene, or something of the sort. But the movie itself was enjoyable. Embellished or not, it is interesting to see someone's perspective on what her life may have been like, and how it worked its way into her novels. I cannot recall the music, but if you say it was gorgeous, that alone may require another rewatch. ;)

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  8. I haven't seen this movie yet, but your review has really got me wanting to watch it! I'll have to check it out soon. :)

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  9. Miss March: Thank you:) Yes! Isn't Maggie Smith simply the best? ;)

    Skyeler: It is a bit strange to think of the writer as the heroine of a similar story to her own. And, yes, the music is lovely, too!

    Molly Rebekah: Yes, you should:)

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