Review: Becoming Jane (2007)

Becoming Jane is one of those movies that I was guaranteed to love before it ever reached theaters. Not only Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors but Anne Hathaway, who stars in this Julian Jarrod directed bio-pic, is one of Hollywood’s few young actresses who doesn’t drive me up a wall.

 

Hathaway plays as Jane Austen before she was, well, Jane Austen.

The film follows the author’s early life as she struggles to find her place in English society. This Jane Austen would rather be upstairs writing than meeting possible suitors. That is until Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), arrives and Jane must make a decision. Is she to be happy and married, despite its apparent limitations or is she to be a spinster but more importantly, a writer?

Becoming Jane marks an important moment in Anne Hathaway’s career. There has never been any doubt that Hathaway is a talented actress but her early work in The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted led her to be frequently typecast. Recent roles in Brokeback Mountain and The Devil Wears Prada showed her range and star potential. But Anne Hathaway’s lovely performance in Becoming Jane proves her ability to carry a film.

 

Unfortunately for Hathaway and the film’s many great supporting actors, most notably Julie Walters and Maggie Smith, the screenplay, written by Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams, could probably use a little help from Jane Austen herself. Often weak dialogue leads to moments when Jane does not come across as strong as an individual as she should.
Nevertheless, Becoming Jane stands 0ut from the other summer movies as one of the best. Anne Hathaway especially shines in this entertaining and engaging film.
Updated October 17, 2010

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