Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Jane Austen biopic may not be too Becoming to Jane

Anne Hathaway is currently working on a film called "Becoming Jane" which is supposed to be based on the early life of Jane Austen. However,if you click the title link above,you'll see a plot description of the movie that will cause you
to swoon,especially for those of us who are sticklers for accuracy. Seems that this story has Jane being put on the marriage market after her big sister gets hitched and she's torn between Lord Wisely(I am not making that one up,folks!)and Tom Lefroy,a"charming rogue" who's been shipped off to the countryside until his bad boy rep dies down abit.

So,what's the probelm,you may ask? Well,for one thing,Jane's older sister Cassandra never married(she was engaged but her fiance died)and while Jane did hook up with a fellow named Tom Lefroy,there wasn't a Lord Wisely in the picture. Also,Lefroy's family was the one to separate the potentially happy couple-their big objection was that the Austens weren't posh enough and that Tom could do better and marry a gal with better connections and a bigger dowry.

I'm sure that most reactions will be"So,they sexed up the story,big deal! Jane Austen wrote romances anyway-she probaly wouldn't mind it one way or another!" Well,I mind it. If you're making a biographical film,it would be nice to get some of thefacts straight,even if it doesn't make your story all Hollywood glamourous. That may be an odd opinion to have in this day and age with the James Frey/lonelygirl15 psuedo life story trend of late but in some ways,I'm very old school and proud of it.

If they wanted to do a fictionalized account of Jane's life,there are plenty of those around to choose from. One of the most popular is Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mystery series,which has Jane getting all Jessica Fletcher and having plenty of romantic encounters while doing so. I've never gotten into it really but there are
many JA fans who have and there would be a good crossover audience for an adaptation
of Barron's books. My guess is that since Jane and her works are in public domain, most producers don't see the point of buying the rights to something they can get for free.

We'll just have to wait and see if Becoming Jane does justice to Austen's legacy or not,I suppose. Too bad that just being a writer of some of the best novels in English Literature isn't interesting enough for a movie. Then again,it could be alot worse-they could've cast Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for a Mr & Mrs. Smith version of the story or rewrote one of Austen's novels to turn it into a Red Shoe Diaries entry like Demi Moore did for the Scarlet Letter. We Austen fans should just sigh and sip our tea for such blessings.


PJS said...

Oh, this makes me so angry!

Why do people making movies about historical figures feel compelled to invent plots? The plots are already written! Just flesh out the cockadoody characters!!!


And after Devil Wears Prada, I would otherwise have been inclined to see this.

lady t said...

What kills me is the name"Lord Wisely"-how phony Masterpiece Theater is that?

Anonymous said...

Grrrr. SO annoying. I just geeked out this summer on a full-on Jane Austen tour in the English countryside, and trust me, there's enough truth out there to make for an interesting story without inventing.

It's like the latest Pride and Prejudice movie tacking on that stupid IDIOTIC scene at the end. So wrong! I liked the movie a lot otherwise, but why did they have to sex it up at the end? There's no way Elizabeth would have touched Darcy's bare calf in the book--I don't care if they were married by the time that happened in the movie.

Anyway, the whole thing is just a shame. I'm with PJS--I would have liked to see Anne Hathaway in the role, but I'm also with you, Lady T--Lord WISELY?

Although I guess it's not that far from Knightley . . .

lady t said...

What annoys me is the presumption that Jane was all about the hook-up and not her writing(plus,marrying Cassandra off? WTH?).

There were some romantic interludes that would play nicely onscreen,such as her accepting the marriage proposal of Harris Bigg-Wither in the evening and then rejecting it in the morning(which was slipped into Patricia Roxema's Mansfield Park-that irrated me so much that I refuse to own that movie on DVD). But,oh no,that's not good enough!

*sigh* I like Anne Hathaway,too-especially after DWP-but I don't think I could stand to sit thru this sucker:(