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Becoming Jane

The world is suddenly awash with Jane Austen and filmi versions of her work. First there was that Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice (not a patch on the BBC series).

Then last night I saw a lovely adaptation of Mansfield Park – very lush, dreamy English countryside with the usual suspects : an impoverished heroine (who triumphs in the end), a hero who takes time to realise what he’s missing, cruel aunts, silly uncles, siblings and cousins for entertainment, and wicked admirers/neighbours/other people.

Typically Austen (from what I’ve read of her), her stories begin to make more sense now that I’ve just watched ‘Becoming Jane’.

Based on her life, it tells of how she wants to write, the seriousness (or lack of it) that people attributed to feminine writing in 1795, her doomed love (played by the dashing James McAvoy – he’d have made a wonderful Darcy in the recent version of P&P) and how she ends up – a successful author, admired for her writing, but single.

It was a sad story; that’s what makes a good film, though!

Throughout ‘Becoming Jane’, one could see parallels between her own life and scenes/characters from her book. Dialogue, people and places (from her books) that I would have attributed to her imagination suddenly jumped out from her own life and there were plenty of those ‘a-ha’ moments.

Her own mother could have been Mrs Bennett, McAvoy could have been an early Mr.Darcy – their repartees straight out of P&P.

I loved the movie, like I have done with all adaptations of her work. If you like dark, romantic stories full of longing and lost love, go see this one.

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