Feature

Becoming Jane

Jane Austen rejects one suitor, flirts with another, and finds inspiration for her novels.

Little is known about novelist Jane Austen's romantic life, said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.com. She had a brief flirtation in her 20s with an aspiring lawyer, Tom Lefroy, and she died unmarried at 41. Becoming Jane takes this unfinished sketch and runs with it, refashioning the 19th-century spinster as a character from Sex and the City, 'œCarrie Bradshaw in more sensible shoes, longing for love even as she failed to hang onto it.' Anne Hathaway stars as Austen, who is under familial pressure to accept an unwanted proposal from the wealthy but bland Mr. Wisley. She refuses the loveless match and instead falls for Lefroy, a penniless bad boy played by James McAvoy. They strike up a 'œheartbreaking' courtship that is straight out of Pride and Prejudice. So we're supposed to believe that Austen drew on her own experience for the plots of her novels, said Steven Rea in The Philadelphia Inquirer. 'œNot bloody likely.' The filmmakers' slandering of Austen's creative powers will have Janeites coming after them 'œwith pitchforks and torches, or at the very least a letter-writing campaign,' said Carina Chocano in the Los Angeles Times. While Hathaway pulls off a believable British accent and McAvoy turns in a charming performance reminiscent of Albert Finney in Tom Jones, Becoming Jane just isn't witty or playful enough to live up to the dozens of films based on the works of the master herself.

Rating: PG-13

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