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
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) was directed by Robin Swicord, who also wrote the screenplay. Thanks to movie adaptations--some great, some so-so--Jane Austen has found a wider audience than she could ever have guessed. Now, second-generation books and films are being made about Austen and her novels. "The Jane Austen Book Club" is one of these.
The premise of the film is simple but irresistible. Six Californians decide to get together once a month to discuss each one of Austen's six novels in turn. The group has some cohesiveness--most of the people are friends, and the group includes a mother and her daughter. However, there is a newcomer--a young man--who is not familiar with Austen, but is charming enough, and eager enough, to be accepted because the group lacks a sixth member.
All of the women are in a lesser or greater crisis at some point in the movie, and the film intertwines their problems with the problems faced by Austen's heroines. The parallel is apt enough--the women, like Austen's heroines, are attractive and reasonably comfortable financially. Most of their problems center around love, or lack of love, which, again, follows Austen's plots.
There's a problem with the movie--every one of the main characters is extremely attractive. Surely, there must be some average-appearing women and men in the Sacramento area. One of the actors--Emily Blunt-- is so beautiful that it's hard to believe she's real. It's also hard to believe that she would have married--and would stay with--her insensitive lout of a husband. (I've never seen Blunt in a film before. When I checked her images in Google, she just looked like one more very attractive young actor. In this movie, she's other-worldly.) I would have liked the movie more if some of the characters had the appearance of people you meet in the real world.
The film will work better if you know Jane Austen's novels and characters. However, even if you don't, "The Jane Austen Book Club" is still worth seeing. Incidentally, it's not a chick-flick. I don't see why men would like the movie any less then women. It's a good film for anyone who likes to read and likes to think.
23 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?