Groans, just so many groans on this movie. When I first saw Becoming Jane I didn’t have any strong opinions of it in fact I hardly remember it aside from it being about Jane Austen and her unrequited love. Apparently this movie exists to showcase where Jane Austen got her inspiration from but she isn’t Frida Kahlo, her movie narrative is much like her books sans the interest.
This movie is shot in typical lovely manner. It’s pretty in the strict conventional way a period drama is shot especially for this time period. It’s pretty and boring. It does tries it’s hand at interesting shots and edits which just look overindulgent. It looks as though a young director is trying to be artsy but in fact the director, Julien Jarrold, is quite experienced as a director.
Then there is the love story. Again it follows the pretty people who are pretty and passionate. Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy start off in typically Disney-esque snarky relationship turned forbidden love. Again the idea is in love is forbidden than an audience HAS to care the lovers. Alas no. There is no real pivot from animosity to love. The just keep bumping into other Tom makes criticisms about Jane’s writings, telling her she needs experience.
Speaking on the scene where they first meet, Jane is reading something she wrote at her sister’s engagement and Lefroy is there. After she is done, Jane overhears him criticizing it and she runs upstair and tears it up and in the very next time they meet she is defending its worth and how ladies should write because they have feelings. It just seems odd that she is at one time vulnerable to a vague criticism of a guy she doesn’t know and then is all girl power. It’s confusing on her character since she mostly about female empowerment as she won’t marry for position. Go her? Did she even try to get to know the rich guy? I guess she needed to feel passion that started with a guy saying she sucked at writing? Even though that is not what he said. Or was it all his sexual talks with her through vague English politeness?
What is really unfortunate is the casting. Anne Hathaway isn’t convincing. Aside from the English accent, which did sound like an affectation, she didn’t give Jane anything that was interesting as a character. What was Jane Austen’s personality? Smart? Nice? Independent? Those traits are presence in the film and darn if they aren’t in the dialogue of the movie to convey it, so no acting required.
If you want to ogle James McAvoy for a long two hours then this is a movie for you. If you want a pretty movie with a less than compelling romantic narrative, again a movie for you. However if you want a good romantic movie set in the regency period than watch any other movie that is based on a Jane Austen book.Follow thehunchblog