Becoming Jane | EW.com

Movies

Becoming JaneBecoming Jane mines novelist Jane Austen's own life as she was sketching out the skeleton of 1813's Pride and Prejudice. The...Becoming JaneBiography, DramaPT112MPGBecoming Jane mines novelist Jane Austen's own life as she was sketching out the skeleton of 1813's Pride and Prejudice. The...2008-02-01James CromwellMiramax

(Colm Hogan)

B+

Becoming Jane

Genre: Biography, Drama; Starring: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, James Cromwell; Director: Julian Jarrold; Author: Kevin Hood, Sarah Williams; Runtime (in minutes): 112; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: Miramax

Becoming Jane mines novelist Jane Austen’s own life as she was sketching out the skeleton of 1813’s Pride and Prejudice. The loosely biographical script is a charmer; the supporting cast (Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, James Cromwell) is top-drawer; and Anne Hathaway, with her coltish beauty and frank demeanor, is a welcome Jane. As with the best interpreters of Austen heroines on film — from Sense and Sensibility’s Emma Thompson to Pride’s Jennifer Ehle — her toughness is a vital defense of a tender core. Jane wishes to marry for affection (of course!), but her struggling family is in a bind and there’s a dull if decent rich man (Laurence Fox) on bended knee. James McAvoy, slightly less unbidden than in Atonement but possessing a similar dreamy oomph, plays her Irish love interest, a future lawyer who must also marry for money. How these two deserve their triumphant, happy ending! Alas, this a movie about Austen, not an Austen novel. The best end to an evening of onscreen Jane is some good bathtime reading. Skip the DVD’s lame extras (especially the egregious pop-up facts); gorge on the books instead. B+

More Austen? See Karen Valby’s review of The Jane Austen Book Club on DVD

More from Our Partners