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Becoming Jane (2007)

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From IMDB:

A biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.

First off I’m not really good at watching ‘chick flicks’. I usually fight them watching them pretty hard but when they are done as period pieces more times then not they turn out pretty good I have to admit.

For years now Jane Austen has been proclaimed for writing 6 of the best novels in English literature, drawing from her own imagination and experiences to capture her audiences. I have read none of them and I won’t feel any less of a person if I ever do but that’s just my personal take.

The movie takes place in the late 1700’s with Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) living in the country with her pastoral father (James Cromwell) and their poor, small family. Jane had always been raised to be independent even in a society that shunned such things for women. Women were seen as second class citizens during this time and their place wasn’t to show that they had any intelligence openly and this was seen as more of a burden on life than any kind of asset.

During this time Jane is being courted for marriage to a young man, Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox) by both Jane’s mother, Mrs. Austen(Julie Walters) and his aunt Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith). Though the monetary value of such an arrangement is seen as a very good life by both parties for Jane, it is not one that she wishes to live if she can’t have the affection of the one that she is supposed to live her life with.

Thus enters a young Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), a young aspiring lawyer that lives under his uncles money to make his way about the world. His life has been unrestrained and his uncle, the judge, decides to put his foot down and send him off to live with some relations of his in the country to teach him a lesson about the simpler things in life.

After a short period of time with him being in the country Tom becomes taken back by Jane and he idealism, though he doesn’t always agree with her ideas. This is just the young woman that is beautiful enough and challenging enough to his own ideas, that makes him want to pursue her further. After a period of adjustment and challenge of her own ideas Jane becomes smitten with Tom and they both fall in love with each other. How far can love take them when the prospects of having no money is shunned upon so highly in the society which they live, and will they be able to overcome these obstacles to make there affections for each other more than just a passing notion?

The movie portrayed very well by a seasoned cast, and though the director (Julian Jarrold) and the writing staff (Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams) don’t have the most stellar of backgrounds all the elements come together to bring a warmth to the screen that is very well felt. The source material, being so strong, is evident of the lengths that a movie can go, when given just the right cast, to put it all together. This movie has enough dips and crescendos in the plot that it’s hard not to be interested in how the story is going to develop. The period sets and costumes are very believable and only help to lend an air of authentication that brings the audience into the film.

This is really a decent look into the life of an author that I really have had no care about before now. This is more along the lines of what my wife has been really wanting to see and it was a good movie to take in with her it gave us a chance to both have something that we could both enjoy even if I was secretly telling myself “Yuck this is a chick flick”. I have to admit it is a good movie though.

It’s a shame that Jane Austen’s life wasn’t as interesting as Marie Antoinette’s or this could have been a much more powerful film, but when you are taking on a biographical you take what you can get.

This movie gets 3.75/5 stars (which is a first for me and I know that I should probably use a different rating scale because of this :oD)

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