Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Becoming Jane

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG

Starring:
Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen
James McAvoy as Tom Lefroy
Julie Walters as Mrs. Austen
James Cromwell as Rev Austen
Maggie Smith as Lady Gresham
Joe Anderson as Henry Austen
Lucy Cohu as Eliza De Feuillide
Laurence Fox as Mr. Wisley
Ian Richardson as Judge Langlois
Anna Maxwell Martin as Cassandra 'Cassie' Austen
Leo Bill as John Warren
Jessica Ashworth as Lucy Lefroy
Eleanor Methven as Mrs. Lefroy
Michael James Ford as Mr. Lefroy
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Robert Fowle

Special Features:
Discovering The Real Jane Austen
Deleted Scenes
Becoming Jane Pop-Up Facts & Footnotes
Audio Commentary with Director Julian Jarrold, Writer Kevin Hood and Producer Robert Bernstein

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 120 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"Anne Hathaway ('The Devil Wears Prada,' 'The Princess Diaries') gives a radiant performance as a young, love-struck Jane Austen in the witty and engaging romantic comedy Becoming Jane from Miramax Films. It's the untold romance that inspired the novels of one of the world's most celebrated authors. When the dashing Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy, The Last King Of Scotland), a reckless and penniless lawyer-to-be, enters Jane's life, he offends the emerging writer's sense and sensibility. Soon their clashing egos set off sparks that ignite a passionate romance and fuel Jane's dream of doing the unthinkable - marrying for love. Becoming Jane also starring the acclaimed Maggie Smith, James Cromwell and Julie Walters, is an enchanting and imaginative film you'll fall head over heels for."

"Becoming Jane" is rated PG for brief nudity and mild language.

Mini-Review:
I'm not a big fan of Jane Austen movies to begin with, so I wasn't sure about "Becoming Jane." This is more my wife's genre than mine. But as the movie started, I got into it. I thought Anne Hathaway made a charming Jane. I thought James McAvoy, hot off the success of "Atonement," made a great leading man. The guy can play everything from the geek to the stud. The sets were beautiful, the costumes were impressive, and the score was good. Unfortunately, as the film progressed, I became less engrossed by it. It descended into the usual Austen angst where the characters are forbidden to marry because of all the social rules. It dragged on and on and led to an unsatisfying ending. And to make matters worse, this isn't a real biopic. It is about 50% fact and 50% fiction. I've always preferred biopics that are 100% fact, so this went against my tastes. But then again, I'm not the target audience for "Becoming Jane," so what do I know?

I'd really only recommend "Becoming Jane" to fans of Jane Austen, fans of Anne Hathaway, and new fans of James McAvoy. They are the ones who will get the most out of this film, depressing conclusion and all.

You'll find a few bonus features on the DVD. There's a commentary with the crew, pop-up facts and footnotes, and 13 deleted scenes. Rounding things out is the featurette "Discovering The Real Jane Austen". I expected this to cover the real facts about Jane Austen, and it did that to some degree. But 90% of this featurette is about the making of the movie. So if you wanted to learn more about Jane Austen, you'll have to look elsewhere.

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