Media Maven: “Becoming Jane” Movie Review

Media Maven: “Becoming Jane” Movie Review

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Becoming Jane

Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, Joe Anderson


"Becoming Jane" is a film that pays homage to the young Jane Austen prior to her life as an acclaimed author. As a fictional biography its merit lies in its portrayal of Jane’s life in the England of the 1790’s and of her romance with a young Irishman.

Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith and Joe Anderson are among the outstanding actors who anchor this story. Yet it is Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy’s budding relationship as the young Jane Austen and the fetching Irishman, Tom Lefroy that is at the root of this tale.

Anne Hathaway did her homework in preparing for this role. She worked with a dialect coach and learned to play the piano to portray Jane Austen as a spirited, loquacious, earnest young woman. James McAvoy’s Tom Lefroy evinces a cocky character that enters Jane’s life as a contrary, if not pompous, visitor. The friction and challenge each offers the other makes for a budding romance and certainly influenced the matters of the heart of which Jane Austen writes in her novels.

Writers Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams created a script filled with witticisms and authentic old English dialogue. One that describes the patience it takes for Jane’s budding romance is “Sometimes affection is a shy flower that takes time to blossom.” This is coupled beautifully with Julian Jarrod’s direction in creating the story of Jane Austen’s greatest love.

"Becoming Jane" was a worthy attempt in the telling of Jane Austen’s life prior to her fame. However at 120 minutes, "Becoming Jane" was Becoming Long to watch. Thick accents and tedious dialogue made for strained audibility. What this movie strove for in authenticity, it compromised in sustaining the interest of its audience.

Jane Austen enthusiasts will devour this film as a truly picturesque rendition of the young Jane Austen’s life. The rest can wait until it comes out on DVD.

Rating: Three Chic Stars

*Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.