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Becoming Jane [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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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.
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.
Behind the Scenes
Regency Dance Featurette
Hair, Make-up & Costume Design Featurette
Filming the Cricket Scene
Filming the Boxing Scenes
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a beautiful video for all fans of this lovely era and austin Fans-was under the radar when released and is a secret find!Published 1 month ago by avid british reader
Sigh - a nice way to waste an hour or two. Nice story and pace to the sequences. Anne Hathaway is great.Published 1 month ago by G. Martin
I was a little underwhelmed but its light hearted and gentle to watchPublished 3 months ago by Shorty
This is a clever enough conceit – take an element from Jane Austen`s early life and make it as a film in emulation of the (highly popular and successful) dramatisations of her... Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. Mcdonald