By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
Jane Austen wrote some of the greatest love stories of all time. One must wonder, though, about her own personal romantic life, which could have influenced her writing. Such a thought is the basis of this delightful film that explores the love story that inspired Jane Austen. It is a very charming film, albeit with some flaws, and it takes an interesting look at the power of creativity, and how the lives of artists and writers impact their work.
Becoming Jane could be interpreted as “Becoming an Artist” because it shows how Jane Austen’s writing is the result of circumstances within her personal life. Austen provided social commentary of the Regency period in English history that she was a part of, and that element of her life is on display within this film. The theme of creativity is also like the Oscar-nominated song “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land, because Jane Austen was bold enough to be an artistic writer who wanted to express independent thought even with the social restrictions placed upon her. Austen wrote passionately, and the love between Austen and Tom LeFroy is also evident in this film, especially when the actor, James McAvoy, exclaims, “I am your heart and soul!” Therefore, the film is about different types of passion, including the passion between two people within a romantic relationship, the passion to create art, and a celebration of the beauty of life itself.
It is a bit ironic that a film about artistic creativity would not be as glamorous as some of the adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. Films like Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Pride and Prejudice (2005) received multiple Academy Award nominations, but Becoming Jane could not obtain such notoriety. The film could have done better with its screenplay and artistic merit because the plot is very simple, and so is the overall design of the film. Some could interpret the plot as a remake of Pride and Prejudice because Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Jane Austen is much like Elizabeth Bennet, and Tom LeFroy is much like Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The set design and costumes did make an attempt to capture the essence of Jane Austen’s time period, but they could have been better. Becoming Jane might explore the theme of creativity, but the creative team behind this film could have made it more opulent.
It might not be the best romantic film of all time, but Becoming Jane is still a pleasure to watch. It reveals how Anne Hathaway has been expanding her filmography ever since her debut in The Princess Diaries. A fun fact about Becoming Jane was that Miramax advertised the film with the tagline, “From the studio that brought you Ella Enchanted and Shakespeare in Love…”
Interestingly, it appears as if this film really is a combination between those two previous Miramax productions because the filmmakers took the star of Ella Enchanted, and created a plot about Jane Austen that is somewhat similar to the one in Shakespeare in Love. Nevertheless, this film is still a pleasure for anyone who enjoys romantic films, and it could prompt audiences to explore the work of one of the greatest authors of all time.
Becoming Jane (2007) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Jane Austen writes with her signature quill pen
Take a Drink: whenever Jane Austen interacts with books (such as holding them and/or reading directly from them).
Drink a Shot: whenever Jane Austen uses sophisticated vocabulary, such as the terms “propriety” or “impertinent.”