Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Jane Austen Book Club |
Actors: Kathy Baker, Hugh Dancy, Amy Brenneman, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt
Director: Robin Swicord
An all star cast joins acclaimed director/writer Robin Swicord (writer - Little Women, Memoirs of a Geisha) in this critically acclaimed film Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find ... more »
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The Jane Austen Book Club
Michael Zuffa | Racine, WI United States | 10/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Five women and one man decide to start a book club, reading the works of Jane Austen. Bernadette (Baker), the organizer of the club, is a woman looking to add one more to her many marriages. Jocelyn (Bello) is single and happy with her dogs. Sylvia (Brenneman) is in a failing marriage to Daniel (Smits). Allegra (Grace) is their lesbian daughter. Prudie (Blunt) is unhappily married, and attracted to one of her students. Lastly, there is Grigg (Dancy), a science fiction fan who is in the club because he is interested in Jocelyn. Their lives all contain elements that echo Jane Austen's stories, so their choice of reading is appropriate.
"The Jane Austen Book Club" is a female bonding movie that will also appeal to fans of Jane Austen. The acting is capable, but nothing outstanding. There is a little of everything relationship-wise here, and all the stories are handled pretty well. Jocelyn and Grigg's story is probably the most appealing though. To the story's credit, knowledge of Jane Austen isn't necessary, but it helps. In all fairness, the title of the film is going to draw in the appropriate audience, and they will probably enjoy it.
"No Rules, No Fear ~ Reading Jane Austen Is A Freaking Minef
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 02/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Warning: This is a major "Chick Flick", no testosterone required.
Chick flick or not, the '07 release `The Jane Austen Book Club' is a delightful film exploring the possible application of the six books comprising the "Jane Austen Bible" into the everyday lives and loves of five contemporary women. What was supposed to serve as a carefree diversion from the constant angst of male female relationships becomes the epicenter of their emotional venting and the Gospel of Jane the rule by which all relationships are judged.
The cast displays an infectious chemistry, the storyline solid and consistent from beginning to end and the dialogue is believable, containing a number of quotable lines that will stay with you. `The Jane Austen Book Club' is a terrific film for the females audience. As far as the guys are concerned, come on and give it a try, you know you have to give in once in a while. This one is not as painful as most within this genre."
What would jane think?
Daniel B. Clendenin | www.journeywithjesus.net | 09/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When a single guy and five women of very different ages and stages form a book club to discuss Jane Austen's six novels, their messy lives begin to imitate the art they're reading. The movie has six segments, each one named after one of the novels. With each turn of the kaleidoscope this film takes on the character of a soap opera--everyone has problems with love and marriage, too many sagas are treated too superficially, and little more than snappy verbal jousting moves the picture forward. And like a soap opera, neither real life nor Austen's novels enjoy the syrupy resolution of this film. My hunch is that a woman who has married six times is not a candidate for bliss on the seventh try, that a young teacher who hits on her high school student will not rebound so quickly, or that a twenty year marriage that ends in acrimony will probably not u-turn into one of affection after the husband (!) reads an Austen novel. If that's too critical, then enjoy this fluffy film as a fun romantic comedy that includes a reminder about the real problems that we all have with the game of love."
40-something man's review
RMurray847 | Albuquerque, NM United States | 10/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My wife and I went to see this movie on kind of a whim. We had taken our daughter and some friends to see a movie, and needed to kill some time. We'd seen pretty much everything else of interest, so we agreed the cast of the movie looked like fun, so we went. VERY GLAD WE DID!!
I have seen a few Jane Austen movies and have enjoyed them. I REALLY liked SENSE AND SENSIBILITY in particular. But I have never read an Austen book...nor have I been particularly drawn to it. I love to read...but haven't read Austen. Simple as that. So I had a rudimentary knowledge...and that was plenty. The movie is simply a delight, and the discussions and references to Austen would certainly heighten the enjoyment, but even without understanding the specific references...it's pretty easy to get the idea.
I only hesitate to give the movie five stars because of it's overly-structured plot. I totally realise that the movie is supposed to play out like an Austen novel...people working hard NOT to get with the person they're supposed to be with...then finally making it. But I felt just a little too taken by the hand and let to one predictable (but usually fun) plot twist or device after another. The surprises came in the performances...not in the plot.
The basic premise is that these 5 women, and one very befuddled but completely charming man, meet once a month to discuss another of Austen's 6 books. They all do their reading, they are all well-spoken and have inciteful opinions. That isn't totally believable...but it is easy to just accept and move on. These people are going through turmoils (mostly breakups and loneliness) that Austen sometimes relieves and sometimes echoes too perfectly. At least the women know it...you can tell they kinda sense they're living out a modern-day Austen story. This requires some suspension of disbelief...but it's easy to come by because all the characters are so likeable.
Kathy Baker leads the group as a 60-something free-spirit, who organizes everyone into this club, mostly to help one younger friend (Maria Bello) overcome the death of her beloved Ridgeback dog. Also in the group comes Amy Brennerman, recently split from her long-time husband Jimmy Smits. Brennerman is joined by her daughter, played by Maggie Grace (of LOST). Baker also happens to meet an exceedingly uptight high-school French teacher (DEVIL WEARS PRADA'S Emily Blunt) and invites her to attend. Bello, on a whim of her own, invites a younger man named Grigg to attend...hoping he will have an interest in Amy Brennerman. Suffice it to say, this is not where his interests end up.
There's lots of juicy talk between the group. Grigg is a delightful character...totally unbelievable but so likeable that he really becomes the central focus...we root for him so completely. Brennerman is always very good, and Baker is a force to be reckoned with no matter what she does. She's like a softer Patricia Clarkson. Bello is always good (despite her ignorant and reprehensible personal politics, she always draws me in with her talent), and Maggie Grace is a nice surprise after playing Shannon on LOST with such one-dimensionality. Emily Blunt has the toughest role...because she goes through the biggest change...and starts our dreadfully unlikeable. After we meet her mother (the wonderful Lynn Redgrave), we can begin to understand her troubles. She evolves the most as a character...where the other ladies don't really change much, they just have things happen to them. Seeing her in this movie and PRADA...I predict good, Oscar-winning things from her in the years to come. She's very good.
The movie is well-written and utterly engaging. It is preposterous...but so full of fun that you really don't care much at all. Only a few plot points caused any real groans of "oh, you must be kidding." In fact, as I write this and think back on how much unexpected fun I had...I give the film 4.5 stars!
Another nice thing...it is deservingly a PG13...but it is not dirty or foul-mouthed. What a nice change. A young teen girl might enjoy it a great deal."