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Becoming Jane
DVD disk
Feb 21, 2008 By: Quigles
Becoming Jane order
Director:
Julian Jarrold

Actors:
Anne Hathaway
James McAvoy
Julie Walters

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The early years of Jane Austen, one of the world's most celebrated writers.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Enough already with the Jane Austen films! As if the half dozen PRIDE & PREJUDICE adaptations being released over the last five years weren't bad enough, they've even got other Austen-related films coming out like THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB and now BECOMING JANE, the true story of Jane Austen's life before she became a renowned author. Thing is, her life is what inspired a lot of PRIDE & PREJUDICE, so it's basically like watching a less sophisticated, less interesting version of the same story.

Those eager to learn more about Austen's life should be aware that there's not a whole lot known about her, with most of BECOMING JANE being adapted from the author's personal letters featured in the book "Becoming Jane Austen". Because of this, the film never feels like it's offering anything more than a basic overview of Austen's early years. It's essentially your run-of-the-mill costume drama romance, and nothing more.

If you don't mind that, and just can't get enough period pieces, then BECOMING JANE makes for a serviceable entry in the genre. Anne Hathaway doesn't have the commanding presence she probably should for this type of role, but her performance is still pleasant and engaging. James McAvoy is more impressive as the romantic male lead, staying likable even while being obnoxious. The film's not overly convincing about them falling head-over-heels in love, but the actors share strong enough chemistry to make it work.
THE EXTRAS
Just the basics.

Audio Commentary (with director Julian Jarrold, writer Kevin Hood, and producer Robert Bernstein)

Discovering the Real Jane Austen (17:00): The cast and a historian reflect on the film and Jane Austen.

Deleted Scenes (19:00): Some additional comedic moments, probably cut for pacing reasons.

There's also a Pop-Up Facts feature that plays during the film while random tidbits appear.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
In order to justify a biopic of an author, their life should at least be as interesting as the books they wrote. This is not the case with Jane Austen, and although there are some interesting elements to be found here (specifically those relating to the accepted ideals of the time period, and the problems that came with it), there's nothing offered that hasn't already been extensively examined in countless better period pieces.
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