Becoming Jane [DVD] 
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The year is 1795 and young Jane Austen is a feisty 20-year-old and emerging writer who already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing what was then nearly unthinkable marrying for love.
Naturally her parents are searching for a wealthy, well-appointed husband to assure their daughter's future social standing. They are eyeing Mr Wisley, nephew to the very formidable, not to mention very rich, local aristocrat Lady Gresham, as a prospective match.
But when Jane meets the roguish and decidedly non-aristocratic Tom Lefroy, sparks soon fly, along with the sharp repartee. His intellect and arrogance raise her ire then knock her head over heels. Now the couple, whose flirtation flies in the face of the sense and sensibility of the age, is faced with a terrible dilemma. If they attempt to marry, they will risk everything that matters family, friends and fortune.
Like Molière, which was released in cinemas soon after, Becoming Jane isn't a conventional biopic. Instead, Julian Jarrold (White Teeth) expands on events from Jane Austen's life that may have shaped her fiction. To his credit, he doesn't stray too far from the facts. In 1795, 20-year-old Jane (Anne Hathaway with believable British accent) is an aspiring author. Her parents (Julie Walters and James Cromwell) married for love, and money is tight. They hope to see their youngest daughter make a more lucrative match, and there's a besotted local, Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox, son of actor James Fox), who would be happy to oblige. Unfortunately, Jane isn't interested. Then, she meets brash law student Tom (The Last King of Scotland's James McAvoy), while he's staying with relatives in rural Hampshire.
As in many Austen novels, it isn't love at first sight--but rather irritation. Just as affection begins to bloom, Tom has to return to London, and Wisley, whose financial prospects are superior, proposes. To complicate matters, Tom's uncle (Ian Richardson in his final performance) disapproves of the outspoken young lady just as much as Wisley's aunt (Maggie Smith, lending the proceedings some subtle humor). Had Austen penned the script, Tom and Wisley would be combined into one person, but life doesn't work that way--and nor does Becoming Jane. Though Jarrold's effort may not be as swoon-worthy as Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice, it remains true to the spirit of the author's work. --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Product description
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on 27 May 2017
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
With only the smallest element based on reality, this film fails to convince or really engage one's emotions, in its portrayal of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy's brief "relationship". It's shown exclusively through 21st century eyes with more than a dash of feminist revisionism thrown in for good measure in a misguided attempt to gain audience numbers which it failed to do - scarcely recouping its £16million budget. Beautifully designed and photographed though it is, the script clunks, and the uneven direction doesn't help either. Worse of all is the lack of emotional substance between the two protagonists that distances the viewer from their predicament. The writers have added so much false information to the plot, and reimagined the character of Tom Lefroy so substantially, as to make the story laughable to anyone who knows anything about the true incidents that inspired the film - little more than three short extracts from Austen's letters exists. Add to this a totally fictional coda, and a visit to Ann Radcliffe, the troubled author of such gothic novels as "The Mysteries of Udolpho", and you have a right old pseudo-literary dog's dinner. Still the cameos by Maggie Smith et al are enjoyable enough, even if the ultimate experience resembles "false news" with period petticoats, naked bathing, and trip to the local brothel thrown in to tittilate! Disappointing but watchable.
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Most recent customer reviews
Broken Box. Soundtrack is damaged. DVD is clearly marked. Disappointed despite the low price which is irrelevant as the product, no matter what the price, should function as...Read more
I loved this film as it was sweet,gentle and polite. Could have done without the bare bums though! Jane had an interest in Thos Lefroy but there was never any evidence of a love...Read more
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