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Becoming Jane [Blu-ray] [Region Free]

4.0 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Sept. 2007
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000T2MYZ8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,874 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This film depicts the young Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) as she discovers her literary skills and her own affairs of the heart. It is loosely based on a speculative romance between her and a young Irish lawyer, Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy). The original screenplay was inspired by real events, which were chronicled in the book Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence. Also stars Maggie Smith.

Synopsis
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.

Special Features
5.1 Dolby
Behind the Scenes
Regency Dance Featurette
Hair, Make-up & Costume Design Featurette
Filming the Cricket Scene
Filming the Boxing Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Commentary
Photogallery

From Amazon.co.uk

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. Fennessy --This text refers to the DVD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lilacstar on 31 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love all things Austen but find it difficult to watch this as often as i do other Austen-type movies. The acting is great from Hathaway and MacAvoy, I like the scenery, but there is something lacking. I would have liked it to be more true to Austen's real life and not so 'disney-ish' as one critic pointed out e.g they could have portrayed how her fathers death impacted on her writing. There are some funny moments from MacAvoy. This tries to be another 'Shakespeare in Love' which could have worked better by drawing more on her actual life than it did.
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I have read some of the reviews below which slate the film for its mild stretching of the truth which probably are quite true. Not enough is known about Jane's life to really create a film that is completely true to life. However this in no way reflects on the enjoyability and passion of the movie. The comments that the film 'had no heart' are completely unfounded. I was incredibly moved by the romantic storyline and greatly appreciated the humour and subtle novel references. True, I am a die-hard Austen fan, but I have friends and family who are not who also enjoyed the film immensely.

I would recommend the film to anyone who enjoys a romance of any kind whether period drama or not. In my opinion an absolute triumph.
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Given that Anne Hathaway is most famous for her role in The Devil Wears Prada and that director Julian Jarrold is best known for Kinky Boots, I didn't have particularly high expectations of this homage to Jane Austen as I trepidly stepped into the cinema. In the last decade or so, there has been a huge boom in productions of Austen's novels geared towards the mass market (e.g. 2007's Mansfield Park starring Billie Piper and 2005's Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley). Adaptations of Austen's novels have become increasingly lightweight and simplified since their heyday in 1995, when the hugely popular BBC productions of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice both first aired. The winsome and fluffy Becoming Jane further builds on this trend, purporting to show us what inspired Austen to write her classic novels.

Our protagonists - the dowryless Jane and the dashing Tom Lefroy - meet in the sitting room at a family gathering when Jane is reading a sample of her writing. Already at this early stage, when the director has the opportunity of showing what a truly original and amazing writer Austen was, the first problem emerges as he throws the scene entirely to Lefroy's evident boredom and provocative somnolence. Jane is seen fretting upstairs, throwing her story into the fire in distress, clearly unsettled by Tom not being impressed by her. It cannot have been the intention of the filmmakers to trivialise Austen's art in this clumsy scene and it doesn't make for a good start.

Austen's flirtation with Lefroy when she was 20 (she wrote to her sister Cassandra amusingly, "Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together") is amplified here to a towering, star-crossed love.
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1 Comment 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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For reasons that are now not especially clear, my expectations of this film were so low that I resisted ordering it on Amazon when it was first released. Recently, however, as I was ambling through a department store, I discovered "Becoming Jane" on sale at a price so ridiculously low that I thought I had little to lose by trying it (especially after I discovered that James McAvoy, Lawrence Fox, and Maggie Smith were in the cast).

I am happy to say that I enjoyed it thoroughly; every character was well acted, and the DVD was exquisite to watch in respect to costumes and settings--arguably as good as any of the top BBC productions. Anne Hathaway, whom I saw previously only in "Prada" and consequently considered--unfairly--limited in scope, sparkles with humor in the title role. James McAvoy exudes a delightful plausibility as the handsome Mr LeFroy; Maggie Smith (far more restrained than in her usual delicious comic roles) portrays a believably dignified Lady of the Manor; and Lawrence Fox, allowed to stray from the solemnity of Inspector Lewis' intellectual sergeant, does an amusing turn as Jane's country-bumpkin suitor-with-prospects.

I especially appreciate the covert allusions throughout the film to plot-points in Austen's novels. As for some of the "How-dare-they-deviate-from-Jane-Austen's-actual-life?" criticisms, I can only comment that my fondness for Mozart did not cause me to enjoy "Amadeus" any the less because it did not adhere slavishly to "the facts" of the composer's life; or because it was shot in Prague instead of Vienna. Neither do I complain that "Becoming Jane" was shot in Ireland instead of Hampshire. Whether fanciful or true, "Becoming Jane" provides a most pleasant evening of entertainment. And if the film tempts one to reread Jane Austen's novels or, better, to pick them up and discover them for the first time, it is well worth it.
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While I am prepared to put aside the way this film "stretches" the truth about Austen's life (and looks), I cannot forgive the script. At times, it was quite dreadful - summed up by the moment when Laurence Fox casually slips "it is a truth universally acknowledged" into a conversation and Anne Hathaway's face lights up in a very hammy fashion. Absolutely risible.

The direction is equally unsubtle. Possibly the worst moment is the hugely unconvincing ball scene where Hathaway and McAvoy overact the sexual chemistry wildly and, therefore, unconvincingly.

Hathaway is OK, McAvoy does have some good moments and the generally fine cast raise this to a two-star film (the script deserves one or less). Most of them are wasted, though, with the honourable exception of Anna Maxwell Martin. I thought she was excellent as Cassandra, and the scenes in which she learns of her fiance's death are the best in the film.
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