Jane Austen Addiction
Recommended by Deb, an adult reference librarian at the Canton Public Library.
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When the young Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) meets a charming Irish rogue and law student, Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), she finds him disagreeable at first until the love between them blossoms and serves as inspiration for her novel, Pride and Prejudice. As the movie opens, Jane is sitting at her desk, passionately writing and liberally cutting out words she edits. Her parents wish she were more interested in meeting a wealthy, well-to-do gentleman to secure her station in life. Instead, she dreams of marrying for love; being both a wife and writer. Tom and Jane express their intentions to marry, but the pressures of society and duty creep into their plans for the future.
Based on Helen Fieldings international bestseller, many parallels are shared between this romantic comedy, Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice, and the BBC adaptation. Most notably, the romantic leading male character Mark Darcy and Mr. Darcy; who both are portrayed by the handsome Colin Firth as the strong, silent type. Academy Award winning actress, Renee Zellweger, stars as Bridget; the thirty-something, single, modern career woman who wallows in self-pity until she resolves to Do Something About It, often in a rather amusing and endearingly public manner. Determined to cut back on vices such as cigarettes, wine, and workaholic-alcoholic-misogynistic men, Bridget begins a diary to chart her progress.
As six friends and new acquaintances meet, they form a Californian all-Jane-Austen-all-the-time book club to discuss all six Jane Austen 19th century novels in six months. The plots of which has an uncanny resemblance to events in their own 21st century lives. Were introduced to middle-aged Sylvia, a librarian going through the ordeal of a painful divorce and her daughter, Allegra, the thrill-seeker who cant find true love. Free-spirit Bernadette is in her mid-sixties and married six times. Jocelyn, whose only companions have been her beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, plays matchmaker for everyone else except herself. Prudie is a high-school French teacher married to a sports fanatic and is desperately lonely. The only male representation in the group is Grigg, who has never read Austen. He brings his own perspective and harbors a secret passion for Jocelyn.
If youre an avid fan of this novel as I am, you will not be disappointed with this film. Starring Keira Knightley in her first leading lady role, it was the first time a 20-year-old actress was cast to portray Elizabeth Bennet, who in the novel is also the same age. Filmed entirely on location in England, this classic love story unfolds as the five Bennet sisters come of age and enter the class-conscious society at the end of 18th century. Brought up with the constant awareness of their duty to secure a comfortable, upstanding lifestyle with a suitable husband, the sisters are invited to a social event at a wealthy bachelors residence. Surrounded by a sophisticated circle of London friends and young militia officers, the spirited Elizabeth meets standoffish Mr. Darcy and the battle of the sexes ensues.
A BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth as the rebellious Elizabeth Bennet and arrogant Mr. Darcy respectively, debuted on American television in 1995 and has become the most critically acclaimed portrayal and beloved classic of true love conquering all. Mr. Darcy's intense, brooding looks filled with fierce desire towards Elizabeth sent many hearts racing, including mine. Interestingly but not surprising, both actors became romantically involved off-screen as well, but the relationship didn't last. This mini-series is pure entertainment from start to finish. It's really a challenge to appreciate other actors and adaptations because in my heart of hearts, this is the definitive version of all time.