Engaging and intimate is this early portrayal of Jane Austen, one of the most beloved writers of literary history.
Though Austen's correspondence and Jon Spence's biography provide a few known facts, Becoming Jane is a fictional account of Austen's significant romance presumed to have inspired her six novels. The feature's main characters parallel those present in Austen's works but more closely resembling her Pride and Prejudice.
Following Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada , Anne Hathaway is extraordinary in inhabiting a more mature role as Jane Austen, bringing beauty, exuberance, and wit to the character.
At 20 in 1795, Austen was already displaying a remarkable writing talent, but was also an independent minded woman ahead of her time.
Jane is projected as "a woman who was flesh and blood and not simply someone who had an icy wit and tea running through her veins". Her characterization is that of a modern woman "who truly had a sense of her own worth and seemed to know the value of love, even in those times" states Hathaway.
Having a small role and demanding more screen presence are Jane's caring parents, the terrific Julie Walters as Mrs. Austen, as well as James Cromwell as Rev. Austen, who share their concerns about their daughters not marrying well.
Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox), the nephew of the fictional wealthy aristocrat Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith), was the Austen's favored prospective marriage match for Jane. However, it was the charismatic Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), financially compromised but intellectually her equal, who stirred Jane's heart.
Hathaway and McAvoy sparkle in their screen romance by exhibiting beautiful chemistry. Nonetheless Jane and Tom's relationship encounter obstacles. At the time, women were not generally self supporting, and even more unheard of were women writers. Jane was determined not to have society dictate her life and gender restrictions, while Tom, as the eldest son, was immersed with family obligations.
Mostly shot in Dublin, Ireland, Eigil Bryld's cinematography captures the picturesque Georgian architecture. With clever angular lighting techniques and color schemes he generates a mood and atmosphere that accentuate the clashing social classes.
For Lady Gresham's upscale secluded environment, Bryld used cyan, or green-blue, "to create a sense of slight claustrophobia, almost like being in a fish tank" explains Bryld, while using more gentle colors for the Austen's to project warmth and energy.
The Oscar®-nominated and Emmy winning production designer, Eve Stewart, and period costumes by Emmy nominated designer Eimear Ní Mhaoldhomhnaigh add to the beauty and romance.
Magnificently mounted with a realistic feel, this feature touches on relevant concerns of the time, such as women's societal role, marriage and career, and the pursuit of happiness, issues that are just as contemporary today.
Opens August 3, 2007