DVD review: Becoming Jane

Becoming Jane_posterLove, love this distinctive fantasy about what Jane Austen’s life may have been like. In the fictionalized biopic about a young Jane Austen, Becoming Jane imagines what influenced her charming, insightful, witty feminist writings. Who influenced the characters in her book? How could she imagine heartache, the pressures of making a good marriage and the financial woes that unfortunately guided many decisions in women’s lives in the 19th century, without the experiences herself.

A writer, like me, cherishes this type of film. It shows the tedium of writing, along with the creativity and sparks. For this alone, Becoming Jane, is a wonderful literary film. Writing seems such an independent and fabulous profession but its reality looks bleaker in the light of day. Loneliness, isolation and repetition keep every writer company at some point. Jane seems to write herself into her novels and why not? Every writer dreams of living within the pages of a well-crafted, thoughtful book.

As Jane, Anne Hathaway [The Devil Wears Prada] is equal parts independent, outspoken and hopeless romantic. She has intense, expressive eyes and really pushes herself in this role. As her love interest, Tom Lefroy, James McAvoy [the current go-to art film heartthrob] combines the character’s mischevious side with an earnest one. He loves Jane but she knows that neither of them can go through with it. Jane yearns for a room of her own and to “live by her pen” even more [gasp!] than to have a real love in her life. That’s just the most practical thing for this willful, talented woman. As the world knows, she never married but wrote six successful novels including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. All have been made into films several times over.

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