Just watched the movie “Becoming Jane”. I rented it after deciding to take home all of Jane Austen’s books from my library over the summer to read. Not sure why I haven’t read them before, but, if you’re looking for inspiration to read these classics, watching the movie might just do the trick. I’ve had several students check out Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility after watching the movies. The DVD releases of “Becoming Jane” and “The Jane Austen Book Club” have prompted interest in Austen’s other works as well.
“Becoming Jane” takes a semi-biographical look at Jane Austen’s beginnings as a writer during a time when it was unheard of for a woman to “live by her pen” and women were expected to marry for money rather than love. The bonus features on the DVD reveal that the story depicted in the movie is an embellishment of Jane’s real life. However, Jane did actually meet and fall in love with a man with the same name as the male lead. Anne Hathaway plays Jane and as a self-proclaimed Austen fan apparently does an excellent job of capturing the real author’s character. The supporting cast and beautiful sets and costumes also make the film well worth watching. The story gives insight into how Austen gathered the themes for her novels and, well, to say much more would be to say too much.
“The Jane Austen Book Club” is a modern-day film about a book club made up of a recently separated mother, her close female friends, her daughter and a younger man recently introduced to their circle who previously only read sci-fi/fantasy books. Having just started reading Jane Austen and being a sci-fi/fantasy reader myself, I enjoyed watching the male character’s growing appreciation of Jane Austen’s works over the course of the movie. The underlying relationship plots interwoven with details about the relationship woes of Austen’s characters made it a fun popcorn movie while inspiring viewers to consider reading all six of Austen’s novels and other works. At least it inspired me. So, back to reading… oh, Mr. Darcy, how could you?