Movie Review: Becoming Jane (spoiler-free)


In the past 12 months I've seen one movie in the theater. So when I was asked to do a blog tour for the movie Becoming Jane I hopped on it. I actually love seeing movies by myself, so I caught a late show last night.

I definitely enjoyed the movie. It was lushly shot, and had the same atmosphere as most movies made from actual Austen novels in the last 20 years. The casting was excellent (mostly people I'd never seen/heard of before) and I thought Anne Hathaway was remarkably understated. I don't like Anne Hathaway, so I was pleasantly surprised at how often I forgot it was her and just got lost in the story. Not enough James Cromwell, but there hardly ever is. Maggie Smith playing Maggie Smith As The Mean Aristocrat was, of course, excellent.

There was one thing that bugged me throughout the movie, though.

What was real, and what was made up? I don't know enough about Jane Austen's real life to know how much of it was fact and how much was completely fabricated. I really wished that I'd done some basic reading on the facts of Austen's life. I've read all of her books (except Mansfield Park for some reason), but don't know much about her. And that made it, for me, tough not to keep wondering how much was real and how much was imagined. I kept getting sucked out of the story to wonder, instead of just going along happily being able to tell where they were having fun with her life.

So I came back home and read the Wikipedia article on Jane Austen (I know, but Wikipedia is nice and brief at midnight). I recommend that if you go to see the movie this weekend you read that article or something else on Austen first so you won't have the same problem I did.

If you are interested in seeing something romantic and vaguely like an Austen novel, with pretty country clothes and scenery, you should take your mother or sister or friend to see it with you this weekend. I do not at all recommend taking anyone male. There may be one or two men who'd enjoy this movie, but it was really just so sappily romantic that I think it couldn't even qualify as a Date Movie. To say more about the movie would be to give away plot points.

(Also, if you are the woman at the 9:30 show in Chelsea who answered two cell phone calls DURING THE MOVIE, were you raised by monkeys? I guess I might have expected it at a shoot-em-up movie, but at Becoming Jane? Perhaps you should join Netflix and save the rest of us from your boorish behavior.)