Talk about a great movie weekend — a three-fer. I’ve fallen into a British theme of late – that’s what comes from getting most of my movie viewing done courtesy of Netflix, where, when you click on a movie to add it to your list, immediately a new screen wafts into view, one of those “If you liked that movie, you might like some of these…and if you click one one of those because you think you need to see that one too, then another screen wafts into view, and me, I can spend an afternoon wasted in Netflix land. So many movies, so little time.
So I can tell with Friday night’s movie – Becoming Jane – that it was on one of those wafting screens that came up after I added Goodnight, Mister Tom (if you liked thatBritish movie…). I can get really carried away with myself on those wafting screens, and I’m starting to wonder just how far I went down the British route that afternoon I was picking movies. Ah well, I’m going to find out soon enough.
The Jane in question is Jane Austen, played by Anne Hathaway. I had no idea that Jane Austen was such a likable person — from her books, I thought she might have suffered some from an austere upbringing, leaving her somewhat the priggish sort. But not so, according to this movie. I have misjudged her. Here, she falls in love with a law student, Tom Lefroy, who is played by James McAvoy. I remember him from Atonement, which I saw a few months ago, and quite liked.
Jane and Tom’s romance is fraught with peril, having all those 18th-century mores to deal with. But their biggest problem is money, or lack thereof. Her parents desperately want her to accept the marriage proposal from the local landowner’s nephew, but Jane has other ideas, money be damned. The story is set in Hampshire County, so we get lots of great scenery — long walks and coach rides in the country — and the requisite number of dances and balls. I kept waiting for Mr. Darcy to make an entrance.
What’s not to like? A chick flick with a bit of class. And it had Maggie Smith in it, so it scores points on that basis alone. She plays the landowner to a Maggie-Smith T. If you like Pride and Prejudice, then Becoming Jane is like old home week. I’m less a fan of Pride and Prejudice than I am of, say, Wuthering Heights. I guess I like my British romances on the dark side. But a little Austen now and then does the heart good.