Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The End

For the last three months, I have suffered from Jane Austen mania spurred on by the Masterpiece series The Complete Jane Austen. I watched the complete series, reread several of the books, and re-watched many other film versions that conveniently appeared on television over this time period (I came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s Emma three times while flipping through channels and couldn’t resist watching it each time).

I will now put Jane and her books to rest with a vow not to write about her or them for the next six months (I hope I can keep to this promise). Before bidding farewell, though, I will mention three Austen-based films released on DVD over the last few months:

  • Miss Austen Regrets is actually part of the The Complete Jane Austen. This biopic finds Austen nearing her forties. She is an abrasive character and incorrigible flirt. This characterization may be an accurate representation of the middle-aged Austen (or it may not), but I am better off enjoying Jane Austen through her novels and letting her personal flaws rest in peace.
  • Becoming Jane is another film inspired by Austen’s life. In this biopic, the young Jane Austen is full of life and wit—quite similar to her literary heroines. The film concentrates on her alleged romance with Tom Lefroy. Although the romance is enjoyable and James McAvoy a cutie, the film (and book) certainly takes creative license with the historical record. Don’t believe everything you see on Becoming Jane, but do enjoy it as a weepy romance.
  • The Jane Austen Book Club is based on the book of the same title. This film follows a book group that exclusively reads Austen novels. In theory, the characters’ lives reflect what happens in these books. I read the novel several years ago and was anything but a fan. I didn’t care for the characters, and the connection to Jane Austen was tenuous at best. This is not a great film, but it is harmless and a vast improvement on Karen Joy Fowler’s novel.

For a quick Jane Austen fix, check out these movies. For a better time, of course, read (or reread) the books.

1 comment:

Eamon said...

I love Jane Austen.

I have read Pride and Prejudice at least 4 times (and Mansfield Park, at least 5 or 6 - had to study it for university), Emma at least twice ..

I can't get enough of her!