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Becoming Jane (PG)





Release Date: August 3rd, 2007 by Miramax Films.
The Cast: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, Joe Anderson, Anna Maxwell Martin, Lucy Cohu, Laurence Fox, Ian Richardson.
Directed by Julian Jarrold.

BASIC PREMISE: Jane Austen (Hathaway) falls in love with a Tom (McAvoy), a young poor Irishman, despite Lady Greshamís (Smith) insistence on marrying her nephew, Mr.Wisley (Fox).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The premise of a poor girl falling in love with a poor boy instead of a rich one should be familiar to all Jane Austen fans. Anne Hathaway gives an unremarkable performance in the titular role. Likewise, James McAvoy as her love interest comes across as bland. Her supporting cast helps to add some gravitas, for a change: the underrated Julie Walters and James Cromwell as her parents and the scene-stealing Maggie Smith as the uptight Lady Gresham. Unfortunately, the screenplay by co-writers Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams include too many scenes that seem either dull, sappy or merely contrived. They should have focused much more on Jane Austenís character so that you actually get to know her and care about her rather than just watch her going through the mechanisms of the by-the-numbers plot. On a positive note, Director Julian Jarrold does an admirable job of adding authenticity to the period through costume and setting design. Instead of showing a fascinating and refreshing side of Jane Austenís life, Becoming Jane feels simply like Pride and Prejudice all over again, but without any charm. At a running time of two hours, this period piece overstays it welcome.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Often bland, sappy and contrived.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8

IN A NUTSHELL: A strong supporting cast with impressive production values doesnít compensate for a sappy and contrived plot and bland characters.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH:TV


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