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Desire & Disenchantment or More Than You Probably Want To Know About Austen

I have high hopes, and maybe that is why I am frequently disappointed and therefore often thought to be quite disparaging to others. Once again my hopes have been tingled by an upcoming film due to release wide this Friday. Becoming Jane is supposedly the real story of Jane Austen’s younger years. The cast appears promising with Anne Hathaway, who I have the greatest faith in, playing Austen.

However, from the trailer it appears that writers Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams have taken the liberty of embellishing on Austen’s love life. I understand that without these romantic exchanges the movie might be a little dull, but I guess my biggest worry is over whether they have Jane marry at the end. If they do, I will kill someone.

While a marriage always occurs at the end of an Austen novel, the author NEVER married herself. In fact she was only engaged once, to a man she had no care for, and the day after she accepted she left the country to run from her mistake. The only possible relationship I can imagine them using for the film would be a mysterious relationship that blossomed one summer in Bath. There she met a young man who she only talked about to her only sister, Cassandra, and apparently Jane fell head over heels. Unfortunately none of this info was divulged during Austen’s lifetime; Cassandra only came forth with the story years after her sister’s death.

It follows that Austen and the mystery man shared a very passionate affection for one another and he promised that following the summer vacation he would come for her. However, shortly after they returned home the sisters heard word of his death. While no one is sure how this affected Austen many speculate that this exchange led to Persuasion.

And yet it looks like they are going with Tom Lefroy as Austen’s main interest. This is disturbing considering the fact that Austen only mentions him like once in her lifetime in a letter to Cassandra. She says that when they part she will be sad because she can no longer flirt with him [paraphrase obviously]. Now what the hell?! That means the entire movie is going to be embellishment on a relationship that really only lasted for about one year and then was never talked of again. Great.

I know that may be too much info, but it stems from a general concern that the film will rewrite history for the sake of story, and from here on out female high school English students will have a false impression of a woman they only know from the screen. Austen was hilarious, dry, lonely, and suffered a life full of tragedy. If that isn’t good film I dunno what is.

Cross your fingers, and I will let you know how it goes.

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5 Responses

  1. I’ve been curious as to what your thoughts/fears were about this movie. I guess I don’t have to ask now…

    If it’s anything like Nora, the “biography” of James Joyce’s wife that takes great liberties with the book it’s based on which already took great liberties with reality in a few places, you will most certainly NOT be seeing a movie about Jane Austen’s life… But if you watch Nora, there is a naked Ewan McGregor, so I guess that’s something.

  2. I just figured this would be another Shakespeare in Love. That one wasn’t based too much on real life was it (that’s an honest question cause I never saw it)? And I don’t think anyone thought it was after they saw it.

    This isn’t the first or even one hundredth movie to change around the real life of someone for the sake of a movie, I think a lot of moviegoers are used to that by now.

    Plus, if it’s shit then it will most likely be forgotten, and then you won’t have to worry about people having some lasting impression of who Jane Austen was (I’m sure her books will remain classics no matter how the movie does).

  3. I’m in no way saying that this would be the first time someone has re-written history to make the film appeal to a more general audience. All I am saying is that it is a bummer when it happens.

  4. agreed to the highest extent.

  5. Katie, Katie, Katie…

    Why can’t you just be happy that Jane Austen finally found love, even if that love comes almost 200 years after her death and is mostly fabricated.

    One day, I too plan to die and have movies made about my life, and I can only hope that those movies express my life in a way that involves car chases, gratuitous nudity, and Scarlett Johansen. Oh my that sounds fun. I can’t wait!

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