Becoming Jane

I have just returned from seeing Becoming Jane, and I’m glad I saw it because I was curious and also, mainly, because I wanted to have an opinion on it — so here it is: the movie is ridiculous. It’s not just that the “Jane” in the movie has nothing to do with the real Jane Austen, although that is certainly the case. It’s also that the world depicted in the movie was very little like the world Jane Austen lived in. Ladies did not run like movie-version Jane runs and they didn’t play cricket, and they certainly didn’t reject a proposal of marriage and then bring it up on their own again at a later date in order to accept it and then change their minds once again. And they absolutely could not get caught running away with a man and then be accepted into society again, at least not without marrying him.

It’s fun to think that a spirited woman could flaunt social expectations and be admired for it, but I just don’t think it could happen like it happens in the movie. Elizabeth Bennet’s liveliness in Pride and Prejudice is part of what makes that book so enjoyable, but even she wouldn’t do the things “Jane” does. Just because Austen did something slightly questionable for her time period — write and publish novels — doesn’t mean she was ready and willing to flaunt every rule she didn’t like. The movie is a 21C fantasy of what female rebellion might look like in Austen’s time, but not anything like the reality.

I also had a hard time figuring out why “Jane” was so attracted to the Lefroy character; the movie didn’t do enough to show us why she should pay him much attention, and it also didn’t do enough to convince me that Lefroy was really going to reform — he starts the movie with a “reputation,” and then suddenly he’s past all that and in love with “Jane.” It just didn’t work.

13 Comments

Filed under Movies

13 responses to “Becoming Jane

  1. ‘Becoming Jane’ sounds dire. Still, I have a strange curiosity to see it for myself.

  2. Ha! I thought it would be like this, and I don’t consider Hathaway to be an impressive actress, so I was satisfied enough to read opinions of it rather than suffer through the film myself.

    Everyone’s getting a new blog look today!

  3. Sounds like the movie is more a Mary Sue “fanfic” than any real historical documentary of her life. Will probably skip it at the cinema.

  4. Thank you. You’ve saved me from having to go see it.

  5. Ok, well I know what movie I won’t be going to see. Thanks you for taking the disappointment for us :) And I see I h aven’t been the only one playing with blog templates! Very nice.

  6. Jess — I feel the same way; I knew I wouldn’t like it, and yet I couldn’t stay away! Imani — yes, I wasn’t surprised either. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. Orpheus — good idea to skip it! I’ve just been obsessed with all things Jane lately, and couldn’t stay away … and thanks about the header! Emily — always glad to help :) Stefanie — I noticed you’ve changed yours — great minds think alike!

  7. I may actually still watch this as a DVD rental just out of curiosity. But thanks for saving me a few bucks…

  8. It sounds a bit far fetched. Did Hollywood make this? It sounds like the sort of fantasy that would come out of there…

  9. What you said. :-) It was truly dire.

  10. Oh dear, I had wanted to see this but I think I’ll save it for a rental (if that!). I assumed it was a lot of fantasy but it doesn’t even sound like fun.

  11. You know, I knew it would be awful, but I couldn’t stay away! I think there’s too much pleasure to be had in critiquing it that I couldn’t resist.

  12. I don’t think that I could bear to watch it. I’m not even a particular fan of Jane Austen (I haven’t yet read much of her work), but I get riled when a film which purports to be based in truth plays fast and loose with the facts to meet the dictates of Hollywood. I will stay away so as to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level!

    Your blog looks lovely. Looking at the header photo makes me want to go for a walk.

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