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Review of “Becoming Jane” (2007) PG 120min

February 13th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 3,335 Views

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Becoming Jane (2007) PG-13Director: Julian Jarold
Writers: Kevin Hood, Sarah Williams
Producers: Jeff Abberley, Robert Bernstein, Julia Blackman, Graham Broadbent, Noëlette Buckley, Nicole Finnan, James Flynn, Tim Haslam, Morgan O’Sullivan, Douglas Rae, James Saynor
Original Music: Adrian Johnston
Cinematography: Eigil Bryld
Winner of American People’s Choice Award (Best Independent Film)

The plot: this is a biographical movie about Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway – The Princess Diaries, Hoodwinked!, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada etc.) covering a period before she became famous. He family is trying to arrange a benifitial marriage to Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox – Gosford Park, BBC’s Foyle’s War series) for her, but she likes a young poor Irish apprentice lawyer Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy – Foyle’s War, Bollywood Queen, Wimbledon, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Last King of Scotland, and most recently Atonement) and dreams of making a living by writing.

Well, it’s a nice romantic movie that will please viewers of all generations. In this fictionalized biography it appears Jane Austen has modelled her books’ heroes and stories on her own life. This movie is so much like Pride and Prejudice, in many respects: similar costumes, similar characters, similar musical score, similar intrigues.

The good: The movie is well cast with a lot of great British actors. Even actors in episodic roles were great, like Maggie Smith (American audience knows her best for Gosford Park and Harry Potter movies) and Ian Richardson. The opening sequence was very promissing. Beautifully shot. Anne Hathaway gave another strong dramatic performance. A nice period piece.

The bad: the movie ends unhappily, but being from Europe this is typical conclusion for the movies I grew up on. On the other hand, this supposed romance between Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy inspired her for the rest of her life to write one of the best novels in English literature. This fictional biography takes great liberties with facts and the script feels like the writers cherry-picked pieces from P&P to make a fake biography that’s no boring and worth watching. Anne Hathaway’s accent comes and goes.

DVD bonus features:

  • Commentary track
  • Pop-up facts and footnotes
  • Deleted scenes

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Tags: Biographical · DVD · Drama · Foreign · Movies · Romance · UK

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