Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Becoming Jane |
Actors: Guy Carleton, Philip Culhane, Joe Anderson (VI), Michael James Ford, Jessica Ashworth
Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries) gives a radiant performance as a young, love-struck Jane Austen in the witty and engaging romantic comedy Becoming Jane from Miramax Films. It s the untold romanc... more »
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Diana F. Von Behren | Kenner, LA USA | 08/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only portrait I ever saw of Jane Austen appears on countless spines of the Modern Library edition of "Pride and Prejudice." Drawn by her sister Cassandra, Jane looks, well, like one would expect the witty Miss Austen to look: poised, civilized, reflective and intelligent. With some imagination and forgiveness with regard to the talent of the artist, she could even be conceived as pretty with her large dark eyes and ringlet fringe peeking out from the typical gentlewoman's cap of that time period. How ingenious for Hollywood to cast the sumptuous Anne Hathaway with her silky brown hair, curvaceous figure, deer-in-the-headlights eyes and perfect lips as the young burgeoning author? Let's face it---no one wants to be a plain Jane - and plain she is not--she's pretty much got it all: not only is she innocently stunning, she's independent, wants to work, exhibits impeccable manners, loves her family, acts upon noble ideals all of which along with her cricket skills results in attracting and snaring the deliciously boyish James McAvoy ( Last King of Scotland) as supposed ill-fated lover, Tom Lefroy.
As a film, all of this romanticism works wonderfully. The verdant countryside shimmers in the sunshine. The period clothing---all empire waists, beribboned hair, top hats and velvet frockcoats----sway and rustle delightfully as the couples dance and speak in clever well-mannered innuendo as expectant matchmaking parents play chaperone and contemplate lucrative alliances that will set their children up for life. The dialogue sufficiently reflects that Austenian repartee which the educated audience delights in as it makes them feel they are on an even keel with one of the greatest satirists in the English language. The notion of Austin's relationship with Lefroy as presented first in Jon Spence's biography from which the film gets its name, suggests that many of Austin's dream partnerships as presented in her novels were based on actual, personal and emotional incidents that although painful, gave her characters so much flesh and blood poignancy, we still discuss them today.
Whether or not any of this is actually true matters naught. The film seduces with the same charming intensity of McAvoy's blue-eyed stare as he quite openly undresses Hathaway in his mind. Is Lefroy the basis for Mr. Darcy? This is difficult to say, but I wouldn't mind bumping into this film's Tom Lefroy while I was taking my daily constitutional. Of course, I'd have to go back in time to become a few years younger---or perhaps not as flirty cousin Eliza de Feuillide certainly does have her way with Jane's rakish brother, Henry Austen (Joe Anderson)---oh, what money can buy!
With that in mind, leave the historical authenticity to the Austen scholars and enjoy the film for its performances and its visual delights. Secondary players congregate to form a veritable Austen menagerie of characters that for the most part plays a bit too conveniently to reflect reality. But take it all in fun ---the film leads one to believe that Austen needed little imagination to conceptualize her personalities; rather they were all there under her nose, just waiting to be captured on paper. Nevertheless, Maggie Smith as the formidable Lady Gresham never fails to elicit a chuckle as does her fictional counterpart Lady Catherine de Bourgh from "Pride and Prejudice." Julie Walters and James Cromwell as Jane's parents seem the perfect Mr. and Mrs Bennett clones while Laurence Fox, as Mr. Wisley (Mr. Collins again from "Pride and Prejudice") interjects just the right 21st century computer geek persona to the mix to act the perfect foil for the more glamorous but definitely shallower Tom Lefroy character.
Bottom line: After countless Masterpiece Theatre adaptations of all six of Jane Austen's novels as well as a herd of popular films set to popular music (Bride and Prejudice was one Bollywood version) it is not surprising that the author herself has come into scrutiny in this charming albeit fictionalized biopic. If you are not tired of yet another Darcy/Bennett rendition, you will most likely find "Becoming Jane" two hours worth of Jane Austen's world lovingly preserved. Recommended.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
Remains True To Jane Austen's Spirit
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 10/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Becoming Jane" is an unexpected cinematic treasure, and one which deserves attention not only from Jane Austen fans, but from a wider audience as well. Much to my amazement, this film is remarkably true to Jane Austen's spirit, portraying her as a thoughtful, willful, almost modern, woman. I wasn't expecting a tour de force performance from Anne Hathaway, but she's absolutely perfect as Jane Austen, having successfully immersed herself in this role; perhaps her finest bit of film acting to date. James McAvoy has garnered some well-earned critical acclaim for his fine performances in "The Last King of Scotland" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe". His portrayal of the young Irish barrister Tom Lefroy, who befriends Jane, is also right on the mark, that's a very compelling portrayal of someone who could have been Jane's intellectual and romantic soul mate for a brief time in the late 1790s. While Hathaway's and McAvoy's performances are the best reasons to see "Becoming Jane", there's also excellent acting from the rest of the cast, most notably James Cromwell's Reverend Austen, Jane's father. If you're at all curious wondering why Jane Austen's fiction has endured, then "Becoming Jane" might offer some tantalizing cinematic answers."
Sarah Shah | Binghamton, NY / Bloomington, Indiana, USA | 11/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My new all-time favorite movie. Some people may not like it because "it's not 100% true to Jane Austen's life"... Can you say that with 100% certainty though? No. Even if you can, just enjoy the movie for what it is, a beautiful love story! James McAvoy is so convincing as Mr. LeFroy, you can't help but fall in love with him! I already have the Region 2 UK DVD (because I simply couldn't wait forever for the movie to come out on DVD in the US), but it only plays on my laptop, so I intend on buying this DVD when it's released. :) It's worth it!"
I enjoyed the movie
Classic Debut | USA | 12/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD for this movie will be coming out Feb 12, 2008 and will feature deleted scenes, commentary with director Julian Jarrold, writer Kevin Hood and producer Robert Bernstein, becoming Jane Pop-Up Facts & Footnotes(ok, this is enough to make me want to buy it)and a Discovering the Real Jane Austen featurette
The actors were wonderful in this movie and it was well staged. The movie is supposed to be based on a few months of Jane's life when she was 20. H Some scenes were added to make her life more dramatic. There isn't very many facts known about Jane so any biographical movie about her will contain fiction, but I think what most people criticized about this film is it borrows too much from Pride & Prejudice.
The facts about Jane are she was a witty and lively person. We know this from her letters and her writings. She was sort of a tomboy when she was young and played baseball and cricket. She had a handsome and adventurous brother named Henry who helped publish two of her novels after her death. He did marry their cousin. Tom Lefroy was a person she knew and she did flirt with him when she was 20. Many years later he said he did love Jane but it was a "boyish love". His first daughter was named Jane. When she was 27 she was proposed to by a weathly but awkward man named Harry Bigg-Whithers, who she at first accepted but changed her mind the next day.
For people with children, there is some brief nudity (male backsides), some women that appear to be prostitutes, fist fighting and some suggestive language.
Other people have criticized this movie because they see it as another way to cash in on Jane Austen's popularity. I feel that the film does try to shed a little light on her real personality."