This weekend, Hayley and I saw “Becoming Jane,” a fictional story about a suspected romance between Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy – a romance which, it has been suggested, inspired the famous Mr. Darcy. Here’s my review. (I’m using the “Ramsey Movie Criteria.”)
The story was fairly basic – an intelligent Austen meets an equally intelligent and arrogant LeFroy and, after some sparring, a romance blossoms. It is never quite clear exactly why Austen likes LeFroy, as the progression between tension and affection was immediate. If one is aware of Austen’s life story, the movie will play out unsurprisingly – for those that are unaware, there may be an interesting twist.
The movie was fiction, but it was interesting the way they provided glimpses into Austen’s inspiration for her novels. You saw glimpses of her characters’ mothers in her own; the inappropriate behavior of 15-year-old Lucy paralleled perfectly with Kitty from Pride and Prejudice; and, most obviously, the burgeoning relationship between herself and LeFroy as the foundation for Pride and Prejudice’s major romance.
The movie is rated PG. There was (very) brief (male butt) nudity, minor foul language and a little violence (a couple scenes of boxing).
Anne Hathaway (Austen) didn’t get on my nerves even once – which is saying something. She did a fine job with the accent. James McAvoy (LeFroy) – the main character from Last King of Scotland – shows his acting ability once again – although, he plays a similarly slimy/charming character.
I don’t really remember being offended or wowed by the visual presentation of the film. The soundtrack was nice – a fairly basic classical affair. No song jumped out at me as a “must download.”
Hayley and I arrived at different outcomes from this movie (big shock!). She enjoyed the film, but isn’t anxious to buy it on DVD and watch it again. I, however, didn’t enjoy the movie quite as much as she. There were some small bits of humor that made me chuckle, but I lost interest fairly quickly. I’m not a romance-movie-hater — in fact, I even enjoy Pride and Prejudice — so I believe this was a pretty weak movie. I will say that it made Hayley happy that we went, so I’m not upset that we saw it.
I give this movie 2 out of 5 historical fiction novels.