Becoming Jane boasts a stellar cast that includes three-time Teen Choice Award nominee Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries franchise), James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe), James Cromwell, (Babe), Maggie Smith, (Harry Potter), and Julie Walters (Billy Elliot). Directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots), Becoming Jane tells a story as dramatic and romantic as any that Austen wrote, about a young woman who dared hope to marry for love.
Becoming Jane enchanted critics with its imaginative and amusing story of star-crossed lovers. Karen Durbin of Elle says the movie is “Witty and thrilling. Anne Hathaway is as bright and elegant as Austen herself.” “A magnificent journey to the world of Jane Austen,” says Jim Ferguson, Dish Network, who calls Becoming Jane “a love story for the ages.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times dubs the film “A movie every Janeite will want to see.”
Becoming Jane is inspired by the untold story that influenced the novels of one of the most well known and celebrated authors. While the movie offers a speculative view at the life of the young Jane Austen, it offers viewers an emotionally engaging love story.
Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) seems to have everything in order, though she is constantly asked if she’s experienced the love that she writes about. Her answer is always a consistent no until she meets the reckless and broke lawyer riding in on his uncle’s coattail. Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) is anything but charming upon first impression, but that doesn’t take too long to change. As if directly invoking a mirrored image of the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, Jane finds herself immersed in a battle of wits. The dynamics between the two slowly evolve, and with this change the tone of the film evolves as well. As love finally emerges from the characters, the tone grows considerably darker. Circumstances unfold causing Tom and Jane to be kept apart which leads to the couple foolishly running away together. Once well on their way, Jane has the chance to fully grasp what it is they are actually doing and the effect that it will have on their families.
History itself suggests that the relationship between Austen and Lefroy was most likely nothing more than a friendship or perhaps a crush, so while it’s unclear how much this film smudged the facts, one can’t deny that the story makes you truly care about the characters. The chemistry and all the elements for a good love story are there, and while the story seems a bit shaky and uncharacteristic for those involved at points, it’s still an entertaining and worth-seeing movie.
The special features on this release range from deleted scenes to a commentary with the director, writer, and producer. There is also a “Discovering the Real Jane Austen” featurette and an option for pop-up facts and footnotes. While it’s nothing overly special, it provides a nice complement to the film and some additional enjoyable viewing.
Review by Emma Loggins
Official site: http://video.movies.go.com/becomingjane/
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