Tonight I went to see a movie by myself, notebook and pen in hand. I sat in the very front, I didn't negotiate popcorn priveleges or share soda. It was a beautiful moment as a single person.
Becoming Jane is not a biopic, and the expectation of such will ruin the enjoyment of this charming movie. For Austenites, the parallels between the characters in the film and the 19th centruy English folk brought to life by Jane's pen, especially those populating Pride and Prejudice, will be clear. It is Jane Austen reimagined as Eliza Bennett, with a dash of Lydia's passion. Tom LeFroy is Wickham all over, except for his Darcy-esque goodness. There are several Mr. Collinses, all inhabiting a different angle on what Mr. Collins could truly have been. It's novelization in reverse. We writers create characters that are amalgams of the people we know in real life; this flight of fancy took whole characters and reduced them to their contributing parts.
There is a funny little moment when Jane hears Lady Gresham utter the phrase "pretty little wildnerness". She gets that familiar writer's urgent need to record, and rushes off to jot down the phrase, which would be spoken by Lady Catherine in the pages of Pride and Prejudice.
Lady gresham: "what is she doing?"
Mrs. Austen: "she's...writing"
Lady Gresham: with horror, "Can anything by done about it?"
No, your Ladyship. Not a damn thing.
It's all speculation, of course. When the suspension of my disbelief relaxed allowing my logical mind space to maneuver, I remembered that Jane Austen was far from beautiful and was certainly not as radiant as Anne Hathaway. And the author who penned Lydia so unsympathetically could hardly have behaved as the Jane protrayed in this movie. But none of this really matters, in my own fantasy of the life and loves of Jane Austen, this is how I would have wanted it to go. No, she never married, but she loved as deeply as any intelligent, rebellious, culturally constrained woman could love.
But the number one reason to see this movie? Tom LeFroy is sexy as hell.
Enjoy it, ladies. It goes into wide release this weekend.