Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Movie Watch! - Becoming Jane

Becoming Jane (2007) - Yowza. I saw Keira Knightley's Pride & Prejudice, which was the latest adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, sometime two years ago. I liked it moderately well, as much as a desperate-to-charm romance starring a desperately starving actress and balding actor could possibly be liked. This, with an upgrade in cast, is a rather more splendid affair. Anne Hathaway plays the real-life Jane Austen, the woman behind all the words that have won over generations of women (and men). Hathaway is fit for the part, able to bring a certain winsome vulnerability to a woman who is so brashly independent and forthright in her thinking. Her pale, doe-eyed beauty is a sight to behold, even though it's obvious that she's been dumbed down to a certain dowdy extent. The real charmer here is James McAvoy as Tom Lefroy, Austen's greatest love and the inspiration behind many a love interest in many of her novels. McAvoy possesses a surprising and impressive versatility, from the titular lady's man with muscular dystrophy in Rory O'Shea Was Here to Idi Amin's suave personal physician in The Last King of Scotland. The binding tie in all his roles is a certain charm, one that is never solely arrogant, but rather one that masks a level of vulnerability, leaving one to wonder whether they should detest his very nature or fall madly in love. You don't want to root for him. You don't want to like. You know there's always something just a little off about his character. But nonetheless, it's inevitable that you'll be hopelessly attracted to whatever you can't quite categorize about his character. Hathaway and McAvoy hold together a story that is somewhat thin at times, somewhere between dryly comic and apologetically drab anytime the two are not on screen. It's their pleasing chemistry that keeps us watching, even as we know exactly how the story will end. If you have any ounce of admiration for either Hathaway or McAvoy, it's really quite worth a watch. 7.5/10

1 comment:

David said...