Becoming Jane - This Movie Is Already Stirring Passions

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Jane Austen wrote some of the most beloved novels of all time, so it is only natural that the buzz surrounding the upcoming movie, Becoming Jane, is already stirring passionate debate about authenticity and presumption on the part of the film makers.

Melissa Silverstein sent me the following synopsis, which has me intrigued:

Becoming Jane is an imaginative romantic comedy in the spirit of Jane Austen that places a young Jane at the center of a witty, enchanting romance not unlike those that would later captivate millions in her celebrated works of literature. The film spins the few known facts surrounding Austen’s real-life flirtation with Irish lawyer, Tom Lefroy, into a tale of personal passion and social complications that could have inspired Jane to become the ingenious and timeless observer of human relationships and romances that she soon did. Indeed, the story playfully references the characters and themes that wend their way through her six novels.

I headed to the official site, where I found myself staring at a very similar image to the promo image for Miss Potter. Apparently, there are very few ways to illustrate fictionalized stories about sassy lady authors. Ahem.

The cast is an all-star, amazing ensemble - but how about the story? Will Jane Austen's passionate fans - Janeites - be pleased with this heavily embellished storyline? Monica Hesse's story for the Washington Post gets to the heart of the matter:

"The idea that Tom Lefroy sparked Jane's brilliance is totally foolish," says Deirdre Le Faye, author of "Jane Austen: A Family Record." "She came from a very smart family. By the time she met Tom she was already an accomplished writer."

And yet, there Movie Tom is, roguishly criticizing a young Jane's sophomoric writing and introducing her to grown-up novels like the racy "Tom Jones" -- which historians say Austen had actually read long before meeting Lefroy.

We won't suggest it's anti-feminist. We'll just suggest Elinor Dashwood would be appalled.

Over at AustenBlog, Mags takes issue with another review that trumpets Anne Hathaway's apparent expertise on all things Jane Austen in the very funny Becoming Jane News Roundup - Oh No They Did NOT Go There Edition:

See? It’s on the Internets, it must be true.

Really, just go and read the whole category worth of posts. You can thank me later.

Will I be seeing Becoming Jane? You betcha - I love a good historical fiction film, and the sets and costumes look gorgeous. Tell me, will you be seeing it? Becoming Jane opens on August 3rd. But there are still a few dates for advance screenings - check out the listings and if you get a reservation, make sure you get to the theater early!


Jenny Lauck is a sucker for romantic comedies.

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