Becoming Jane

My library does not allow new DVDs to be put on hold. This means you have to be at the library, in the multi-media area, at the right shelf,  when a new DVD is put out for checkout…basically, it’s impossible to get a new-release DVD at my library unless you are unemployed, unoccupied, extremely lucky, and live in the media center of the library.

The Jane Austen Book Club came out on DVD a few weeks ago and I’ve been trying to get it at the library instead of renting it at Blockbusters. I haven’t really had time to watch it till tonight, but I’ve been trying anyway and would gone sleep deprived to watch it. Of course, I haven’t been able to get it. As one librarian told me, "You’ll have better luck getting that if you wait till next year." Excellent! So glad my tax dollars are going to good use. By then it will be on the $5.00 rack and I’ll purchase it.

Strangely, I did manage to get the newly released DVD for Becoming Jane at the library. This was released on DVD after The Jane Austen Book Club and the library has fewer copies of it…so I was either really, really lucky or the movie is a lot less popular. I think the latter is the case.

I didn’t bother seeing Becoming Jane in the theaters because the reviews were so bad. For starters, when released in the U.K. they claimed it was a true story. They got slammed so hard for that…it’s very fictionalized based on scant facts…that they finally switched to promoting it as fictionalized. But beyond the made-up storyline, most reviewers just didn’t think it was a good movie. Lastly, none of my friends mentioned seeing it and nobody encouraged me to spend time with it. So I figured I wasn’t spending money on it…and when I saw the DVD on the shelf, I figured the free library checkout was an acceptable option.

I thought I might be able to enjoy the movie because my expectations were so low, but, alas, I was completely bored! I yawned so loud a few times that Reggie threatened to leave the room. Some of the scenery was great and looked like a scenic place to visit…but the movie was mostly filmed in Ireland, not Austen’s England and that’s disappointing. So much for accuracy. In the midst of all my yawning, I was annoyed that they tried to modernize it with a massive invasion of today’s PC views and behaviors. This doesn’t help the movie, it makes it comical in the wrong ways. In summary, unlike the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie, which I thought was a decent movie but a horrible adaptation, this wasn’t even a decent movie.

There was a section in the bonus material called "Discovering the Real Jane Austen." I don’t know who they think the "Real Jane Austen" is, but I don’t think telling me why Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy are perfect for their parts and why the costumes they used are perfect and how they perfectly segued three dances together and why filming in Ireland was perfectly ingenious has a bloody thing to do with the Real Jane Austen! Hello!

The DVD does have a feature for watching the movie with pop-ups and footnotes that looked interesting, but I simply couldn’t get into watching the movie again. I tried…but couldn’t do it. Maybe somebody can tell me what I’m missing in this movie…but until then, you’ll find me snoozing in the balcony. (Or trying to find The Jane Austen Book Club…should probably just give in and purchase it now even though it isn’t on the $5 rack yet.)

Biggest laugh in Becoming Jane:

Lady Gresham (observing Jane scribbling on a piece of paper instead of talking with others): What is she doing?
Mr. Wisley: Writing.
Lady Gresham: Can anything be done about it?

UPDATE: E.E. Knight, one of my good buddies, has posted his review of the movie here.

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