Perfectly Pleasant, but This Jane Still Falls Short; Film

Daily Mail (London), March 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Perfectly Pleasant, but This Jane Still Falls Short; Film


Byline: CHRIS TOOKEY

Becoming Jane (PG)

Verdict: Watchable, but lacks sense and sensibility

WHAT made Jane Austen write? And why did she never marry? These are the questions posed and, to some extent, answered by Becoming Jane, a pleasant, picturesque if pedestrian biopic.

Most of the events in this film are invented, but that would hardly matter as long as they squared with the known facts and created a credible Jane.

The first half is amiable enough: a light-hearted romp, trying to show us just how grounded Austen's most famous novels were in reality. James McAvoy (fresh from his triumphs in Starter For Ten and The Last King Of Scotland) turns in yet another dynamic performance as Tom LeFroy, the male love interest.

LeFroy is an appealingly feckless, charismatic young London lawyer whose hobbies include boxing, carousing and womanising.

To punish him, his authoritarian uncle (a splendidly nasty performance by the late Ian Richardson) sentences him to confinement in deepest Hampshire - where he meets the gorgeous but opinionated Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway). They spar verbally and, naturally, fall in love.

As in any Austen romance, the path to marriage is strewn with obstacles.

Her family - especially her mother (Julie Waters) - wishes her to marry a rich but boring aristocrat (Laurence Fox), despite the protestations of his imperious aunt (Maggie Smith, effortlessly waspish).

Tom's snobbish uncle, on whom the young man is financially dependent, wants him to marry somebody rich and titled, not some too-clever-byhalf authoress who's the daughter of an impecunious vicar.

You may already be feeling some dejc vu at all this. The screenplay by Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams less than imaginatively presents us with a Jane who's virtually indistinguishable from Elizabeth Bennet, Austen's heroine in Pride And Prejudice.

To make matters even worse, Julie Walters and James Cromwell, as Jane's mother and father, are dead ringers for Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland - the parents in the recent Keira Knightley film.

The narrative is also broken-backed and the acting uneven. Even McAvoy is more at ease in the first half, when he is allowed to be flamboyant and rackety, than in the second, which darkens into a Regency version of Brief Encounter.

Becoming Jane suffers most of all from having a far-too-becoming Jane.

Anne Hathaway is very pretty, but she does not look as though she has a novel inside her - let alone six of the best ever written.

She makes an attractive but conventional romantic heroine. She manages an English accent with ease, but - like many Americans who haven't much experience of the classical theatre - she lacks a natural facility with long sentences (when she does come out with them, they sound as though she's learned them phonetically off her iPod), and her rebellious body language is often wrong for the period. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Perfectly Pleasant, but This Jane Still Falls Short; Film
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.