Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy
Directed by Julian Jarrold
An independent, strong, young heroine falls for a gentleman. Or at least that’s how it usually goes in Jane Austen’s novels and even in her own life.
Becoming Jane unravels the romance between Jane (Hathaway) and the love of her life that she can never have. It is also during this period of time that she is inspired to write Pride and Prejudice. When Tom Lefroy (McAvoy) is sent to visit his relations in the country as a punishment for acting unruly in the city, he had no idea the country had just as interesting people. Tom doesn’t make the best first impression on Jane when he falls asleep at one of her readings. Likewise, Tom makes a negative comment about female writers which upsets Jane when she overhears him.
What Jane lacks in romantic experience, Tom is only willing to educate her. He recommends to her a racy novel which she reads rapidly. As the two end up in each others company more often during his stay, their friendly banter lays the basis of their true romantic feelings for one another. The tragedy, however, is that Tom is poor and relies on an uncle to make him his heir. Another man interested in Jane is jealous and interferes in her hopes for an engagement with Tom.
While Jane Austen has led a successful life through her novels, her own personal story never had the happy ending she envisions for her characters. Whether events in real life actually transpired between Jane and Tom as it did in the film, the sad fact is Jane never married. She had offers but chose the life of a spinster rather than marry for necessity. It’s heartbreaking to watch Jane’s unfortunate romantic ending.
Becoming Jane is not your feel-good movie of the night to watch. Instead you’d be better off watching a movie from one of her books. Despite the depressing ending we all know is coming, it is still a nice movie to watch. There’s people who inspire characters for her novels sprinkled throughout and when Jane sits to write the first few lines of Pride and Prejudice it’s an exciting moment. You know what becomes of the novel and how it’s the first of many successful novels she writes. So there’s one happy note of the movie.
The movie boasts of a popular cast with names of Maggie Smith to Julie Walters, James McAvoy and Anne Hathaway. These actors bring their characters to life and they make you forget they’re only actors. Hathaway, who isn’t an English actress, still fits the role perfectly and has practiced the accent enough to be able to use it throughout the film. Her performance as the English authoress is beautiful.
If watching Becoming Jane gets you down, don’t google Jane Austen looking for a happier ending. You won’t find one.
Picture credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms/film/becoming_jane