In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.
Tony Leung Ka Fai,
The year is 1795 and young Jane Austen is a feisty 20-year-old and emerging writer who already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing what was then nearly unthinkable - marrying for love. Naturally, her parents are searching for a wealthy, well-appointed husband to assure their daughter's future social standing. They are eyeing Mr. Wisley, nephew to the very formidable, not to mention very rich, local aristocrat Lady Gresham, as a prospective match. But when Jane meets the roguish and decidedly non-aristocratic Tom Lefroy, sparks soon fly along with the sharp repartee. His intellect and arrogance raise her ire - then knock her head over heels. Now, the couple, whose flirtation flies in the face of the sense and sensibility of the age, is faced with a terrible dilemma. If they attempt to marry, they will risk everything that matters - family, friends and fortune. Written by
I saw this film on March 28th, 2007 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture " explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.
The "Jane" is Jane Austen and this is a fictional depiction of her young adult life before her novel writing career. I suppose half of the tale is based on fact such as she rejected a marriage proposal, and half the tale is made up to create engaging story-telling. But that's not important.
The essence of the story is the mores of proper English society around 1800. Woman had their place. And that place was to give oneself to an arranged marriage and become a dutiful wife and mother. It was even more important to be in these roles if you were a daughter of a minister of modest means who had lots of children to care for. Jane was one of those children.
But Jane has spunk and smarts and a stubbornness to live her own life as she sees fit. Anne Hathaway plays young Jane convincingly and Anne's good looks are played down as much as possible. It's Jane's inner self that makes her attractive and not her exterior appearance.
And she is so attractive that she has three suitors; the rich and dull one, the poor and roguish one, and a secret and nefarious one. This circumstance allows us to see England from the various social strata, which is fun and informative.
Jane, 200 years ahead of her time, shows beauty and grace and charm and spirit, and will not buckle to her day's lot in life. We should all have such courage " to follow our bliss" knowing we have but one life to live.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
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