This new film is quite the improvement on Becoming Jane. In it we see, what I think is, a more realistic portrayal of Jane Austen’s life. In this case we experience, apart from a short and clever flashback at the beginning, Miss Austen in her 40’s reflecting on her life as she tries to guide her naive niece in finding a husband. Olivia Williams does an incredible job as Jane Austen (you may know her as Bruce Willis’ character’s wife in The Sixth Sense).
We see a great deal more about the difficulty and pressure Miss Austen had to face being a female author in the nineteenth century here than in Becoming Jane. If you really want to get into the Austen head then this is, by far, the better choice. An example. There is a scene when Jane is writing in a room of their cottage (probably the dining room) and Cassandra, her sister, comes in to set the table. Jane’s pen lifts off the page and she stops. The noise continues for a minute until Cassie sees she is interrupting Jane. She leaves the room and as the door shuts the pen lights upon the paper once again. I try to write and flatter myself that I may have something to write, and this scene describes how I feel when interrupted so well. It’s just a moment… but so well captured that you know whoever wrote that part of the screenplay is capturing his or her own frustration. Their true feeling of how difficult the task of writing truly is. It makes Austen’s accomplishments so much more admirable and this movie more to be respected.
This made for TV movie is very highly recommended.
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