Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: Much Ado About Jane

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate Women’s History Month, this week’s Spotlight Movie is “Becoming Jane” (2007):

Jane Austen’s books become more and more popular every year. Her popularity seems to be overtaking Charles Dickens as the Great English Novelist. Yet her books are not about war or power or any of the other themes we expect in a great novelist. Instead her novels focus on small town English society and the pursuit of a husband by the heroines. Seems like a trivial subject, doesn’t it?

In the hands of Jane Austen, it isn’t. It is the perfection of her writing, the creation of wonderful characters, and a story world that is so specific to a time and a place that make her that most universal of writers. Like another great female writer, Emily Dickinson, Austen made the details of an obscure life into great art.

We don’t know if the story in “Becoming Jane” is true. It portrays a young Jane (Anne Hathaway) swept off her feet by a lawyer acquaintance, Thomas Lefroy (James McAvoy). The director Julian Jarrold, and the screenwriters have made educated guesses which may not be true but they could be.

Hathaway and McAvoy are supported with the wonderful performances of Julie Waters and James Cromwell as Jane’s parents, and Maggie Smith as Lady Gresham. Though the film did not get high marks from the critics, I find it endearing and I liked the film score very much. One could do a lot worse than watching this film for an evening’s entertainment.

And who knows? It might encourage you to jump in and read one of her wonderful novels. I know it has me.

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