Film: Becoming Jane

Opened: March 9, 2007

Directed by: Julian Jarrold

Starring: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, Lucy Cohu, Laurence Fox, Joe Anderson, Ian Richardson, Sophia Vavassuer, Anna Maxwell Martin, Leo Bill, Jessica Ashworth, Eleanor Methven, Helen McCrory & Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

Becoming Jane is a fine period piece, but it suffers with the presentation of Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway). Instead of framing her with her accomplishments, she’s made into a heroine of her own writing.

In the years before writing Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen falls in love with Irishman Thomas Lefroy (James McAvoy). Though she gets a marriage offer from the wealthier Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox), she can’t deny the feelings she has much to the disappointment of her mother (Julie Walters).

Hathaway is a strong Austen, though her accent isn’t always regionally correct. She plays her dynamically and has fantastic chemistry with McAvoy.

Unfortunately, this film is in the shadow of 2005’s superior Pride & Prejudice. It feels like it’s trying to recreate Austen’s novel rather than being about Austen’s story.

Final say: Pretty, if nothing else. ★★★☆☆

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