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Customer Review

49 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed emotions, 29 April 2008
This review is from: Miss Austen Regrets (BBC) [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and when I saw 'Becoming Jane' last year, I was very disappointed in the movie. When I discovered that this was being created, I thought it would be much better. I considered Olivia Williams much more suited to the role; I think she's got more classical English features, shall we say.

As for 'Miss Austen Regrets', I just cannot make up my mind. On the one hand, the acting, particularly from Williams, was excellent and I felt more connected to this dramatisation than 'Becoming Jane'. However, on the other hand, there were times when I just couldn't make up my mind about the characters. Certainly in the beginning, Jane Austen came across as immature and often cruel, belittling people and laughing at their expense. I know that she was very good at reading people and perhaps because I am a fan of Austen, it was hard to see that potential side of them. For me, though, there were times when I just didn't like Austen at all.

I think the uncertainty regarding whether I liked the characters has influenced my overall opinions. It was finely acted, but I just cannot say I overly enjoyed watching the production - though I hasten to add that I still prefer it over 'Becoming Jane'. At this stage, I do not know whether I would consider buying it. My advice - rent it first to find out your opinion. Don't buy it unless you know you like it.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Apr 2008 10:56:45 BDT
I recommend that you read Claire Tomalin's biography. I don't like her literary criticism and personally would avoid the 'Three Books' chapter, but you will learn of a more rounded and realistic Jane Austen, who as a maiden aunt would have been prey to a bit of cynicism, without destroying your good opinion of her.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2008 11:38:12 BDT
Thank you - Tomalin's biography is one on my list, but if it provides more perspective, I'll put it towards the top of the pile.

Posted on 9 May 2008 00:24:44 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 9 May 2008 00:43:44 BDT]

Posted on 9 May 2008 00:44:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 May 2008 21:55:59 BDT
I have to say that I found your comments interesting - "Jane Austen came across as immature and often cruel, belittling people and laughing at their expense." It seems as though you have more of a problem with the chararacterisation than with the quality of the drama.

Well, if you read the letters you're going to come across this sort of thing. A lot. Austen didn't suffer fools gladly and along with the wit there was also a deal of acerbic comments and most of the lines such as "I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me" are quoted almost verbatim from Austen's letters. She did have a running joke about Mr Papillon that she would marry him whether he liked it or not, and she certainly extracted the michael out of the Revd James Stanier Clarke rather mercilessly.

Personally, I don't mind it, in fact I like her a lot, I find her unsentimental tough-mindedness refreshing. Maybe I have something of the same degree of cynicism and disappointment in the world to empathise.

But you certainly wouldn't be the first person to be offended by it.

Posted on 25 Oct 2009 00:13:05 BDT
Lizzi S says:
If you have read all of Jane Austen's books, I cannot understand why you would be surprised by her character in Miss Austen Regrets. Furthermore, I don't believe you should have to personally like all the characters in what is effectively a true story of someone's real life, to appreciate, understand and learn a bit more about the life of this amazing authoress.
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