Becoming Jane

Release Date: August 3, 2007
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, June 12, 2007
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I'm telling you that you do not sound British!

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121/214 Max Braden Great cinematography, McAvoy is good as always.

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Jane Austen is one of the finest writers to ever lay pen to paper. Her intelligent, precisely written tales of class structure, romance and growing up and wise, funny and compulsively readable. There is a reason that so many of her stories continue to translate well as adaptations - they are timeless, with emotional impact that continues to resonate.

Becoming Jane actually explores Austen's real life. Even as she was creating remarkable novels, her own life was lit by passion. Austen was 20-years-old in 1795, and in her society, marrying for love was unheard of. Her parents were little different from other members of their class, and have high aspirations for their youngest daughter. In their eyes, the idea of a good catch would be someone like Mr. Wilsey, nephew to the local aristocrat Lady Gresham. But Jane does not want to marry someone she does not love. She turns a deaf ear to her parents' pleas.

When Jane's brother arrives with his friend Tom Lefroy in tow, the sparks begin to fly. Although he is incredibly handsome and smart, he is also quite poor, and has contempt for the lack of sophistication displayed by the people who live in the country - regardless of their wealth. Jane and Tom spar verbally, but soon come to realize that they have a fair amount in common. They dance at various balls, play cricket together, and she loans him a novel called Tom Jones.

Despite their great feelings for each other, Jane and Tom are discouraged on all sides. Mr.. Wilsey refuses to give up on Jane, and her family, who are not wealthy, strongly encourage her in that direction. To marry a character like Lefroy might leave Jane destitute. Likewise, Tom's family is relying upon him to provide for them financially, which makes it somewhat difficult to provide for a wife. Becoming Jane explores the paths taken by the lovers.

Featuring a fine cast, Becoming Jane is surely being positioned as an awards contender by Miramax. Anne Hathaway stars as Jane, while James McAvoy, who caught our attention with his fine peformance in The Last King of Scotland, plays Tom. Other cast members include James Cromwell, Julie Walters and Maggie Smith. Julian Jarrold, who previously helmed the sweet comedy Kinky Boots, is in the director's chair. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Becoming Jane
Main Cast Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters
Supporting Cast James Cromwell, Maggie Smith
Director Julian Jarrold
Screenwriter Sarah Williams, Kevin Hood
Distributor Miramax
Rating PG
Screen Count 601
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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