Explores Austen's adage that general incivility is at love's essence. Sylvia's husband dumps her for another woman, so Bernadette and Jocelyn organize a book club to distract her. They recruit Sylvia's daughter Allegra; Prudie, a young teacher whose marriage may be on the rocks; and Grigg, a sci-fi fan who joins out of attraction to Jocelyn. The six read and discuss one Austen novel per month. Jocelyn tries to interest Grigg in Sylvia; Allegra falls in love with a woman she meets skydiving; Prudie contemplates an affair with a student; Sylvia's ex keeps popping up. In the discussions, characters reveal themselves in their comments. By the end, are truths universally acknowledged? Written by
An enjoyable film that, for the genre it's in, was not very predictable, and in this way was a very pleasant watch. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I figured with Jane Austen's named tagged onto it it'd be some kind of emotional film with lots of angst. Perhaps it might be a period piece. But this isn't what I got.
I have to admit that I've never cracked a Jane Austen novel, but had seen many a British import on PBS rendering Austen's works for the small screen. And I half expected a costume drama to unfold on the screen, but got something that was a little more cliché in one way, but very unique in another.
The film uses Austen's plots as set piece examples from which the characters learn, apply to their personal lives, and grow. I have to say that I saw some aspects of my own personal life ingrained in this film. One might call it art imitating life, imitating art, only to imitate life once more. As an audience member whose been through some unique experiences as of recent, I found it heart felt. But I digress.
The film is respectably shot. Warm lighting compliments respectable though average cinematography. But then again the film isn't about wowing the audience with stunning visuals. It's about presenting characters and how they relate to one of the great writers of all time and her works.
The humor revolves around the unexpected, as do the more tragic and hurtful points. But even here there's a sort of unpredictable-predictability that, because of its exuberance, can be accepted for what it is. The characters behave as expected, but are surprised with the audience when the unexpected pops up. We can sympathize with them and their situations. It's what might be called the ultimate in character empathy--Austen style.
And isn't that one of Austen's great hallmarks? Her ability to create characters one can believe and sympathize with on all levels? Austen's books are used to create a tapestry of themes to navigate the highs and woes of life. The film's irreverent narrative remains intelligent, adult, somewhat prosaic and marginally didactic, but highly enjoyable for the most part.
A respectable chick-flick. :-) Enjoy!
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