Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pained Jane

Hathaway in Becoming Jane

I can't believe how utterly dull I found Becoming Jane, the new film starring Anne Hathaway that purports to tell of Ms. Austen's romance with a young Irishman. It's fiction based on what little facts are known about her life, but the filmmakers don't seem to understand why Austen's novels are still so popular nearly two centuries after they were written.

They're charming, witty and utterly passionate, and this film isn't any of those things. And I'm not usually that hard to please when it comes to period dramas. Put some appealing actors in frilly costumes and I'll probably be happy. But they try too hard to make Jane seem independent and spirited, and she comes across as a sullen sourpuss instead. It's filled with bad romance-novel cliches, something her books never were.

Incidentally, the film was playing in the big theater at Village East, and the Tuesday night 7:30 showing drew no more than 20 people — and there wasn't a single man in the audience. I like to think that women are usually smarter than men, but in this case the guys who stayed home to watch the Yankees–Red Sox game made the right choice.

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