Becoming Jane

2007

Action / Biography / Drama / Romance

33
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 57%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 52307

Synopsis


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March 06, 2016 at 03:16 PM

Director

Cast

James McAvoy as Tom Lefroy
Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen
Maggie Smith as Lady Gresham
Helen McCrory as Mrs. Radcliffe
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
887.94 MB
1280*544
English
PG
23.976 fps
2hr 0 min
P/S 1 / 33
1.84 GB
1920*816
English
PG
23.976 fps
2hr 0 min
P/S 3 / 21

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by F Gwynplaine MacIntyre 8 / 10

I applauded the art direction.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that reviews of Jane Austen movies must begin with the phrase 'It is a truth universally acknowledged...'.

I know very little about Jane Austen's life, although I spotted an error in this movie anyway: her deaf-mute older brother George was NOT raised at home with her (as seen here); he was institutionalised, and the hand-signing which Anne Hathaway briefly uses here is partly anachronistic. I confess that I've very little interest in Miss Austen, nor in her novels. But I'm hugely interested in the Regency period in which she lived. As I watched 'Becoming Jane', I was pleasantly astounded by the incredible period detail throughout the film: the houses (inside and out), the books, the churchyards, the carriages and coaches, the clothing. Even the musical instruments, the music and the dances are authentic! Well done! Of course, all these late 18th-century people have 20th-century orthodontia, and their hair is too clean. And the cricket bats don't look (or sound) as if they were made of willow, as they should have been.

I know that some people will be watching this movie for the costumes, so let me assure you that there are plenty of Empire waists, coal-scuttle bonnets, top boots and Kate Greenaway frocks. Several of the ladies wear delightful gloves.

This movie follows most of the rules for costume-drama chick-flicks. We get the de rigueur scene in which fully-clothed young women surreptitiously watch naked young men. (But not the reverse, of course.) We get the de rigueur scene in which a young woman performs a traditionally male activity and (of course) she beats the men at their own game. At a cricket match, Jane Austen steps into the crease. The bowler gives her an easy one, and (of course) she knocks it for six.

I suspect that most of this movie is fiction, and there is indeed one of those 'based on facts' disclaimers in the end credits. I was annoyed that various characters in this film constantly tell Jane Austen that, as a woman, she cannot hope to be the equal of a man, nor can she expect a happy life without a husband. These may indeed have been the accepted realities of Austen's time, but I had difficulty believing that so many people (especially young men who hope to win her) would make a point of making these comments so explicitly and so often.

Also, everyone in this movie keeps telling Jane that she cannot possibly write about anything which she hasn't experienced. (So she can't write about sexual passion unless ... nudge, nudge.) However, even in Austen's day, this premise was demonstrably untrue. If I want to write a murder mystery, do I need to commit a murder?

The performances in this film are universally excellent. Any movie with Dame Maggie Smith in it, I'm there. Ian Richardson (in his last role) is superb, wringing the full value from some succulent dialogue. James Cromwell has matured into one of the finest character actors I've ever seen, progressing light-years beyond the infantile Norman Lear sitcom roles of his early career.

As Jane Austen, Anne Hathaway has the sense to attempt only a very slight English accent, but she is far too pretty for this role. The real Jane Austen was apparently not pretty, and this was a major reason for why she never married. It beggars belief that the Jane Austen seen here -- the one who looks like Anne Hathaway -- would have so much difficulty attracting suitors. However, I'm a realist: there's simply no way that any production company would spend this much money on a costume romance and then cast an unattractive actress in the lead role.

Evidence indicates that Jane Austen's sister Cassandra was the prettier of the two, and that this discrepancy strongly shaped their relationship. But, again, there's no way that the makers of this film would upstage their own star actress by casting someone more beautiful as her sister. Anna Maxwell Martin, cast here as Cassandra, is a splendid actress and fairly attractive but certainly no beauty in Hathaway's league.

At the end of the film, a title card alludes to Jane Austen's 'short life'. She actually lived to age 41: a longer lifespan than any of the Brontë sisters', and fairly normal for Regency England. In the last scenes of this film, we see Hathaway in some dodgy 'age' make-up which makes her look rather more sixtyish than fortyish. Near the end of her life, the real Jane Austen had an unidentified illness which darkened her skin: again, I have no expectations of a big-budget film doing anything to compromise the beauty of its leading actress.

This film's title 'Becoming Jane' is a subtle pun, since Hathaway's embodiment of Jane Austen is so very 'becoming'. Geddit?

The makers of 'Becoming Jane' have gone to considerable trouble to give their target audience precisely what that audience want, which is only marginally related to the facts. On that score, they have succeeded. And the art direction in this movie is astonishingly thorough, and good. I'll rate 'Becoming Jane' 8 out of 10 as an excellent FICTION film.

Reviewed by gunes bayir 6 / 10

Loved to learn about Jane

This movie could be better, although second half compensates. It's a little puzzling in the beginning, since there were many characters, and relations between them are not reflected enough in detail. Those scenes might have been slightly longer to grab the viewer, I think. Comparably, second half is thrilling, with less and focused characters.

Lefroy (James McAvoy)'s acting is very good. He knows how to show the emotion he likes like he did in Split. For Anne Hathaway, I watched her many times, and this is not the best of her.

In overall, this is a good summary of how Jane Austen came up with Pride and Prejudice.

Reviewed by John Hancock 1 / 10

This movie is a joke

What's the least productive way to waste your time if you like period movies? Watching a Jane Austen movie. What's the worst thing you can do next to going through an excruciating series of chores? Watching Becoming Jane. This movie reflects exactly why Austen became the overrated author she is, the reason why all of her characters seldom have any difficulty leading their prosperous lives. Being in financial difficulty, her family endeavors to convince her to marry a wealthy gentleman called Mr. Wisley, although she falls in love with Tom, a humble, yet honest lawyer with a bad reputation. Jane is stuck between choosing a perfect and rich life, and true love, the movie keeps swinging between the two relationships, but Jane follows her heart and grows fond of the poor lawyer who could be a perfect match for her, but at the end, she abruptly chooses the rich guy she NEVER gave a damn about, save for her financial troubles, in poor words, she ruins the message of the entire movie, and her life, by turning it from "follow your heart" to "who cares about it, just get married with money". Quite an unforgettable life lesson, right? I'm pointing my finger to the abundant English teachers who praise Austen as an author, and a human being. Austen taught girls that life should be weighed solely on money before Disney even taught them that the only for a girl way to change a man's life is by making use of their only available asset, their sexuality. Austen doesn't go against the flow, she pretends to, but at the end of the day embraces the social norms without providing any effort to display any agency whatsoever. She's clearly a mockery compared to female authors who truly contributed to FEMINISM like Charlotte Brontë, and doesn't deserve any respect. Austen is the mother of silly rom-coms, and that's all there's to it. Boring, dull, predictable rom-com plot. I still don't get why she's widely known in the world, despite being one of the worst authors I have ever read, and the worst female author for sure.

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