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Becoming Jane
3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Julian Jarrold

Written By:
Kevin Hood, Sarah Williams

Cast:
Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, Joe Anderson, Lucy Cohu, Laurence Fox, Ian Richardson, Leo Bill, Eleanor Methven, Russell Smith, Helen McCrory, Sophie Vavasseur, Chris McHallem, Tara Lynne O'Neill, Elaine Murphy, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jessica Ashworth, Michael James Ford, Guy Carleton, Philip Culhane, Louise Marie Kerr


 
Becoming Jane (2007)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
August 7th, 2007

'Becoming Jane' is the story of Jane Austen, the esteemed English author of such literary classics as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, neither of which I have read, but I have seen multiple film adaptations of each, if that counts. The movie is based on a biography by Jon Spence, which apparently focuses on Jane's (Hathaway) romance with a dashing young lawyer named Tom Lefroy (McAvoy), who lives off an allowance from his rich uncle, who does not want his nephew marrying a country girl, which is what Jane is, the daughter of a pastor (Cromwell).

Her mother (Walters) wants her to find a wealthy husband, but her father just wants her to be happy with a spouse of her own choosing. So, Jane is torn, greatly attracted to Tom, whose uncle provides a powerful incentive not to become involved with her. The lovely Hathaway does Austen justice, playing her with intelligence and charm, but the movie is not quite so successful tracking her evolution as a writer. Writing seems to be an effortless process for her, and she works on early, unfinished drafts of what later become her masterpieces, and we see only slightly who and what inspire the characters and events in her novels. This could have been explored a little more fully.

The photography is beautiful, with lush scenery and a very authentic feel, with excellent costume design and a wonderful recreation of 18th century England, or at least what we see of it. Austen died at age 41, and never married, despite the apparent insistence of her mother, and the fascination she has with Lefroy. Here, we watch her only as a young woman, but then we already know what she will accomplish, so perhaps it is not necessary to divulge the details of her later life. I must mention the terrific performance of the always fantastic Maggie Smith, as Lady Gresham, a crotchety old gossip.

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