October 2, 2006

Anne Hathaway as Jane

There is a lot of talk these days among Austen fans about an upcoming movie, Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway. It's set to release in the UK in mid-March '07. The US release date hasn't been announced yet.

Most Austen devotees are pretty upset about the movie. Some are saying that Anne (of Princess Diaries and Brokeback Mountain fame) is too pretty to play Jane, who was regarded as pretty but not altogether beautiful. The real problem, to echo Mags at AustenBlog, is that the movie is essentially a Made-Up Story. Only, most moviegoers won't realize that because they don't know much about Austen's life to begin with!

The movie focuses on Jane's "relationship" (which might better be called a flirtation) with Tom Lefroy when she was twenty. It examines how this love and consequent heartbreak influenced her writing. Apparently the filmmakers have taken incredible liberties.

It seems that they've made Cassandra, Jane's sister, into a married woman. (In real life, her fiancee died of yellow fever in the West Indies, and she never seriously considered anyone else.) They've taken out Jane's dear friend Anne Lefroy completely, who is one of the most interesting characters in Jane's life, I think, and who was Tom's aunt and so would have been involved in the goings-on.

I'm an Anne-fan, but all of this makes me sick. The real story of Jane's life is compelling enough as is, without all the Hollywood-style rewriting. As Mags pointed out recently, couldn't they have given it a Shakespeare in Love, wink-wink, this is all a farce quality? At least then people would know they are watching fiction.

Anyway, in honor of Anne, and the "is she too pretty?" debate, I'm offering a little riff on beauty, one of my favorite things from the book. Look for that starting early next week.


Blogger Margaret Feinberg said...

hope writing is going well

10/11/2006 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Shelly said...

I have very low expectations for this movie (I learned my lesson after last year's Pride and Prejudice). I have higher hopes, though, for the Jane Austen adaptations coming out next year. There's Mansfield Park and Persuasion, and then Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey which are written by Andrew Davies. I've been on a big Northanger Abbey kick lately, and I've read most of the novels that are mentioned in it - all Fanny Burney's novels, Belinda by Maria Edgeworth and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. Northanger Abbey is even funnier and wittier after reading the novels that most likely inspired Jane Austen to write it. I've never understood why Northanger Abbey is considered Jane Austen's lesser novel. I think it is her funniest, and I love that she is so opinionated and sarcastic. Every time I read Northanger Abbey I create a screenplay for it in my mind (including my Academy Award acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay - "First I'd like to thank Emma Thompson for introducing me to the wonderful world of Jane Austen . . ."). I was a little disappointed when I discovered that Andrew Davies beat me to it, but he did such a wonderful job with Pride and Prejudice (1995), Emma (1996) and Bleak House that I am hopeful he will do justice to Northanger Abbey.

10/20/2006 07:50:00 AM  

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