“The Jane Austen Book Club”

janeaustenbookclub.jpgKathy Baker
Maria Bello
Marc Blucas
Emily Blunt
Amy Brennenan
Hugh Dancy
Maggie Grace
Jimmy Smits
Kevin Zegers
Lynn Redgrave

PG13           106min           2007

Six Months. Six novels. Six members. The Jane Austen Book Club takes reading the classics to new heights of passion in this romantic comedy featuring an all-star cast.

When five women and one man get together to discuss the English writer’s beloved novels, they realize the heartaches of Emma, Mr. Dancy and the Bennet sisters are not so different from their own. Finding comfort, wit and wisdom from the pages and each other, they discover that, in matters of love, all they need to ask is: What would Jane do?

“The Jane Austen Book Club” is a contempary look at her characters as they read six of Austen’s book and is based on the book of the same name by Katlen Joy Fowler. Some who say this is a “chick flick”, I found it more akin to a soap opera. The characters lives where suppose to resemble reality yet the drama is heighten for dramatic purposes, and you never really see anyone work.

Every character is a full realized person even if we do not understand their motivations, yet they also fit the characterization of one of Austen’s characters. The actor’s in the character do a great job of keeping me interested in their lives and the story. Even if most of the relationships end in a predictable fashion, it’s the journey not the destination with this film. This is a great date movie. Beware women may to want to read Austen with their boyfriends and husbands.

Having just discovered Emily Blunt, she stands out in this film of great performances. She is an unhappy high school French teacher, whio has nnever been to France, in a crumbling marriage on the verge of an affair with one of her students. That is a mouth full that tells her character but doesn’t do justice to her performance. Only recognizing her from her other work “The Devil Wears Prada”, she finds an amazing comedic timing in this film. I do not think the moments are supposed to be funny they are to me because they are moments that we all had in real life and her reaction are so real. From the wig to the clothes they all make this character memorable for me.

There are the standard featurette. There is a cast and crew commentary. It has a behind the scene featurette and deleted scenes. There are also three featurettes: 1. Life of Jane Austen, 2. The Book Club: Deconstructed, 3. The Los Angeles Premiere. The movie previews are “Persepolis”, “Across the Universe”, “My Kid Could Paint This”, “Jimmy Carter Man From Plains”, “Blonde Ambitions”, “Comanche Moon”, “Little Women”, “My Mom’s New Boyfriend”, and “Saawariya”.

I give it 4/5.


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