Newness for a New Year

Friday, March 7, 2008

Becoming Jane

Although I had heard various opinions about this movie, I decided to watch it for myself. I have to say that I truly enjoyed it. I recognize that it is not entirely accurate according to what we know of Jane Austen, but I feel it stays true to what I imagine Jane Austen to have been. It is a tragic love story, which is gut wrenching but true to form in terms of capturing the emotional heartbreak and turmoil of such experiences.

I don't always enjoy Anne Hathaway as an actress, but I believe she did a fabulous job in this. I am not familiar with any other work by James McAvoy, but I would like to see what else he has done. He offers a solid performance. In the movie, they worked so well together. I enjoyed feeling their love develop and sensing the intensity of it.

The main portion of the movie takes place as Jane is discovering herself as a woman and as a writer. It then skips to the end of her life when she has become the mature Jane who wrote all the stories we love. The skip to the end is essential in terms of closure and to wrap up the love story from the beginning. But, I believe that so much of who Jane was must have really emerged in all the long, lonely years between her first love and her eventual fame. So often in movies we skip the hard, lonely months or years and get to the reconciliation. If only life were so easy. If we could only fast forward certain periods of gloom in our lives to reach the patches of sunlight ahead. We obviously don't watch movies for that sort of thing, but sometimes I think we forget what happens before the "four months later" part of a movie.

If Jane Austen truly had such a romantic relationship with Tom Lefroy then part of what made her novels tragic is that she wrote of the happiness she never fully realized. Perhaps she was always hoping that he would come back to her--somehow, sometime. Part of the movie plot was that she was to run away with Tom and thus forever slander her name and reputation. If it is true, and if she had, then we would not likely have her novels today. But, if it could have worked for her and Tom, then I would give up the novels and all they offer so she could have felt the incandescent happiness of being with her love.


Dan Simpson said...

McAvoy was the fawn Mr. Tumnus in Chronicles of Narnia.

Emily said...

I too enjoyed this movie. I cryed and felt so sad and at the same time at the section in the movie where she begins to write Pride and Prejudice, and I started to cry, I also felt an immense gratitude for Jane Austen. I know that sounds corny. I thought about my friends and how we get together for movie nights to watch Jane Austen movies and how it is a link for us. I love her stories and never seem to tire of them. I love that my sisters love them and we love to watch them together. I love to read them and watch them. They fill me up. It saddened me that she didn't seem to find love, and yet at the end I realized she she knew who she was and she loved who she was. Weather or not we have a man in or lives or not, the concept of being okay in our own skins and with ourselves is so vital. I loved the peace I felt at the end, because she seemed to me to be at peace in her own skin and again I felt immense gratitude for this woman and the contribution she left to the world and continues to influence young girls and older girls everywhere with her stories of love, and the humananity that often times gets in the way of our relationships.