We saw this at Salisbury today. As Clare is a life-long Jane fan, and I’m a convert, we were eagerly anticipating the evening. The verdict? Clever in parts but bland.
The facts of Jane’s life around this time are known but sketchy. Tom Lefroy was the love of her life, but due to his financial circumstances, and opposition from his uncle, marriage was out of the question. They meet in Hampshire, hit it off, and are then separated for ever. Sad but not especially unusual.
But where was the sparkle? What would have made this movie would have been smart, flirtatious dialogue between Jane and Tom as the relationship deepened - then we might have cared. But Jane is played as a ‘slightly serious girl with attitude ... and with literary aspirations’. Nothing particularly suggested either wit or intelligence. And am I the only one who thinks that Anne Hathaway isn’t particularly beautiful (not that Jane was either)?
Other stuff happened in Austen’s life which was interesting, not least that she broke through barriers of class position and gender to become a publishing success with a degree of fame extending to the Prince Regent himself (who she detested). We await the full biopic.
One thing the film did do quite well. It made the parallels between relationship developments involving Cassandra and Jane, and the plot topics of P&P and S&S pretty evident. We sort of knew it, but here it stood out