Plot: Becoming Jane tells the story of the true love affair that inspired the young Jane Austen to become a writer. When the 20 year-old Austen (Anne Hathaway) meets the brilliant, roguish and attractive young Irishman Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), she falls madly in love. This little-known but true story was the turning point in Jane becoming the greatest romantic writer in English literature. The film presents a fresh and surprising view of Jane’s early years. Her romantic adventure with Tom inspired many of the male characters in her celebrated novels.
I have read 4 out of the 6 novels penned by Miss Jane Austen and have also seen them adapted to film and television – Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion, and I loved them all. Little is known about Jane Austen’s personal life, particularly her lovelife and people who loved her books remain speculative about where she got the inspiration to write those stories if she was never in a relationship herself. My recent visit to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath was more like a shrine to her published work and around her life in Bath so it came as a huge surprise when I first heard that a biopic about Jane will be made and the plot centres on her dalliance with Tom Lefroy that eventually became her inspiration to write those well-loved novels. I also wasnt very keen on the idea that an American will play Austen but Jame McAvoy himself defended this by saying “when you find a British person playing some great American icon no one bats an eyelid”, and I think he was spot on or I just find myself agreeing with him because I also kinda fancy McAvoy. *swoons*
Anyway, if you are looking to see some rom-com type of film in Becoming Jane then you will be disappointed, because although there are light moments and scenes in the film that will remind you of a few of her characters, this is really more dramatic than anything else. Hathaway did quite a good job becoming Jane, but it was McAvoy who shines in all the scenes he was in. I suppose the only complaint I can say at this point was that there was not enough time alloted for us to see this blossoming romance between the two unless the filmmakers wanted to leave that to our imagination. I wish we had seen more of their banter and how they fell in love. Towards the end of the film, after she was asked as to whether her stories will have happy endings, Jane said, “they will experience trouble at first, but the characters in my books will have everything they desire.”
If you love Jane Austen’s work then you have to see this film.
Becoming Jane: 3/5