Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Becoming Jane

Becoming Jane (2007)
     I have never read any books by Jane Austen. Well…"Pride and Prejudice", but I had a difficult time. So not reading any of her books might also say that I don’t know much about the author herself; therefore, I’m not sure about the accuracy of the biographical history portrayed in the film.

     That disclaimer set aside…I love this movie! Yes, it’s heartbreaking and depressing at the end, but it’s also richly beautiful in the costumes, settings and music, and an utter romantic ride, whether you’re an Austin fan or not. In many ways, even if you have never heard of Jane Austen, I think the movie would still be enjoyable as a regular romance movie.

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Jane Austen & Tom Lefroy

     In the early 19th century in the small village of Hampshire, England, bright and beautiful Jane Austen isn’t what one way may call a ‘proper young lady.’ Independent and free thinking with a love of writing and dreams of being published one day, Jane is a trial for her mother who wants to see her youngest daughter married off into a well-established family. For Jane, this is a contradiction, especially when she states that she will marry for love and while her mother may scoff at the idea (seeing as her own decision to marry for love to a reverend has left her in a life of almost abject poverty), Jane will turn down any man who pursues her, if she doesn’t think that they are an equal for her heart.

     Enter Tom Lefroy, a handsome, but penniless lawyer-to-be, who would rather spend his time in the red light district with scoundrels and prostitutes than learning about the court system, barges into the Austen’s parlor room one sunny summer day…and sparks between him and Miss Jane Austen are lit. After Tom insults Jane’s writing, she flies into an utter rage, casting him off as rude, arrogant, selfish and most impudent of men.

     Over the course of the summer, Tom begins to take an interest in Jane and in her writing. In an effort to make amends for his insults as well as help her develop her writing talent, he opens her eyes to the world outside the one that society has made her live in and she in return allows him into her private world of words and dreams. Slowly, Tom and Jane fall in love; neither expected it, but it happened all the same.

     Jane’s first impression opinions of Tom Lefroy dissipate into distant memories, when he reveals himself to be incredibly intelligent, driven and generous to others around him. Tom becomes fascinated by Jane and her freethinking, opinionated nature; something he probably had never seen in a woman of her social class.

     Both coming from poor families, marriage is an utter impossibility, but they are determined to see it through. When they are in the attempt of running away together, Jane comes across a letter from Tom’s mother that discloses his family’s dependence on him and his fledgling career. Now, Jane realizes the sacrifice that Tom’s family will have to make without him as their sole provider and the guilt that would eventually drive the two of them apart if they continue on with their elopement.

     Jane makes the heartbreaking decision and leaves Tom to return to her family and for him to return to his. Her parents welcome her back with open arms, but no more words of marriage are spoken; only words of encouragement for her to live by her pen. Some 30 years later, Jane now a thriving author, and Tom a married man and an equally successful lawyer in Ireland, cross paths with one another. For a brief moment they see the former lovers they once were and how their painful separation brought them to the happy lives they live now.

     As hard as it was to watch their love story fall apart, you begin to realize that the love they had for their families and the people around them were more important and by separating and returning to their families, their lives were made infinitely better. Jane has became one of the most popular well loved authors in history and Tom was made Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, which is a far cry from what he was prior to meeting Jane. Although, in spite of all they accomplished, neither really forgot one another; Tom even named his daughter Jane (maybe in honor of Miss Austen, maybe not. We’ll never know). A beautiful, heartbreaking story of love and loss and of hope and heartbreak that definitely has you admiring the sacrifice they both bravely endured to make their future lives successful and the future generations continuously inspired.


  1. Tagged you on my blog to list ten of your favorite screen characters! :D

    And wonderful review!



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