Monthly Archives: August 2012

On The Jane Austen Book Club

Finally I manage to watch The Jane Austen Book Club. It was the most difficult movie to watch. Along with my separation anxiety from my little girl I had to deal with another separation anxiety from my parents going back home. Somehow I was able to barely survive.

But now lets talk about the movie. First of all I need to make clear that I have not read the book that inspired this movie. So I have no way to compare both version. Second, that it was nice to change from all the period films to a more contemporary setting.

The Jane Austen Book Club (film)

The Jane Austen Book Club (film)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jane Austen Book Club is not a great movie, but it’s cute. There are six characters, one each represent an Austen heroine, that includes Grigg, the only guy, who’s a modern-day Catherine Morland. I liked the fact that each one of the club members is unique in her or his own way similar to the Austen model without being a blatant copycat.

What I really didn’t like was the Daniel/Sylvia situation. He divorces her in a climacteric whim, leaving her for another and when he’s back and contrite, Sylvia just accepts him back. She didn’t even try to redo her life in the meantime. Why oh why perpetuate that kind of subservient conduct for women? Well, maybe the lesbian kid and the older woman/young man topics were more than the screenwriters and director could handle.

Besides that, I think this is an entertaining movie, especially if you’re looking for something you can pretty much guess from the beginning. As a writer, I’m sure I want people to enjoy my writing, but I’m not sure I want them to guess the outcome from the start.

By the way, the annoying Prudie turned out to be my favorite character. I think she’s the one that changes the most throughout the movie.

Somebody reading a book with a Jane Austen portrait in it using a magnifier.

A jeanite reading for a book club

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On Becoming Jane

Becoming Jane seems like the logical movie to watch after the previous six based on her major novels. I really like this fictional biography.

It’s a Postmodern creation out of the very Romantic idea that an author biography is reflected in his creation or, in this case, her creation. That’s why most of it isn’t true. And I pretty much I imagined it when I watched it the first time.

Anne Hathaway does a fine job as does James McAvoy and pretty much everybody else.

Cover of "Becoming Jane"

Cover of Becoming Jane

One of the things I liked the most about the movie was the constant references to Austen’s work. It actually became kind of a game recognizing the literary references.

As a writer I think I can do that, refer to other literary works not to copycat them but to exercise readers’ minds. And why not. Real originality is unattainable and great authors are influenced by previous great authors. They don’t copy them, they work over what they have done before as Austen did.

And what the heck, I might as well say it: I want to be a great author.

Large billboard on the a building's wall with Jane Austen in it.

The casting call Becoming Jane was a little… subtle.

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On Persuasion

When I wrote about Pride and Prejudice I said that it WAS my favorite Jane Austen and I meant it literally because later on, I read Persuasion and it became and still is my favorite Austen.

Persuasion is simply a masterpiece. It tells the story of the unassuming Anne Elliot, a middle sister that everybody takes for granted but nobody pays much attention. Sounds like a teenager, right? But Anne is no teenager, she’s a 27 years old spinster (nobody seems to remember that her older sister, Elizabeth, is in a worst situation).

Anne was persuaded to ditch Frederick Wentworth when he was a nobody, and now he’s back in her life as a captain. But he doesn’t want to have anything to do with her, now that she’s all matured and not so easily persuaded. This is the story of a second chance in love, nothing short of a romance, but…

Persuasion is so well written that there’s no need to include steamy sex scenes to keep you reading and to move the hardest heart.

Cover of "Persuasion"

Cover of Persuasion

I simply love the 1995 film adaptation. Actually I love them all. But this one is special due to Ciarán Hinds. This isn’t exactly the most pleasant to watch since is a collection of really ugly people, but Amanda Root as Anne Elliot and Ciarán Hinds as Captain Frederick Wentworth do a superb job. Besides Hinds is not ugly at all.

They play this two characters that suppress their true feelings for each other but their eyes and body languages tell us they’re about to explode. It’s a wonder nobody around them realizes that they’re madly in love.

What can I learn from Persuasion? That there’s no need to be a flashy writer. A simple well written plot is more than enough. Having characters doing fantastic deeds can’t compare with having readers relate to the characters feelings and that’s exactly why I think Persuasion is a masterpiece: it delivers a story everyone can relate to. Besides, if  literary guru Harold Bloom says that  Persuasion is Austen at her best, whom am I to argue?

Table surface with several items and a Jane Austen portrait in the back.

I kind of imagine Anne’s vanity just like this.

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