The Jane Austen Book Club

I am not, generally, a fluffy movie kind of gal. However, I agreed to go see this movie with two of my very good friends (I realised the other day that I’ve known them for 10 and 11 years! Amazing!) at the Moonlight Cinema. Sadly, Al had to pull out at the last minute, so it was just K and me: right up the front, with blanket and very tasty food, and a bottle of moscato.

Overall, I must admit to enjoying the movie: five women get together to read the six Austens, through various means and for various purposes. A bloke joins them as well, for the obvious reason – getting into the pants of one of them, although it was more refined than that.

A couple of things occurred to me, which I thought I’d share here – mild spoilage:

1. The bloke is a sci-fi buff, and has never read any ‘classics’: in fact, the bloke first meets up with the woman for whom he joins he bookclub, he’s at a scifi con (SwanCon! woohoo!). One of the funnier moments of the movie comes when he first turns up with all six books in one: in case they’re sequels. This is such a classic scifi idea; it makes perfect sense to me. It’s also very interesting to see that this scifi buff is perfectly capable of reading, understanding, and communicating ideas about ‘great literature.’ There’s also an interesting sideline in him convincing the woman to read scifi, at first Ursula le Guin. She refuses for a long time, before he shames her into reading them and she, of course, loves it.

2. Singleness is a huge issue. One of the women is middle-aged-ish, and another is going through a divorce; one is in a troubled marriage, one is a lesbian with fairly tempestuous relationships, and the other has been married six times (currently divorced). So how to deal with being single, and what this means for a woman, is explored a bit (although not great depth). This is not my issue, and as far as I was concerned this was simply part of the movie. The interesting part, I realised, was that there was no mention of Grigg’s singleness. He was in his mid-thirties, at least, and single, but this was never an issue. Not once. Because it’s ok for men to be bachelors, but women are spinsters – bachelorettes just don’t cut it.

3. The last thing to mention is the conclusion. I quite liked the end – I am totally fine with happy endings, even sappy endings, sometimes. The thing that bugged me here was the scripting! It was appalling! There were so many other possible ways of communicating the same idea – even I could have written something better! Anyway… grrr. Nearly spoiled a good movie.

7 responses

  1. I am a major Jane Austen fan – have just reread them all, then listened to them slowly and with great enjoyment on the ipod going to and from work – and then just rewatched all the movies.

    I really enjoyed this movie. It was fun watching their different takes, and seeing him turn up with his “six in one” was a hoot!

  2. The reaction to the six-in-one was priceless…

    I’m not a huge Austen fan, although I enjoyed most of the ones I’ve read. Could *not* get through Emma, though!

  3. So agree about Emma, has to be the “chore” of all Austen’s novels! Glad to see you featured today Alex, as I must admit you’re among my favourite bloggers… 😉

  4. Heh – thanks Joce!

  5. I love Austens. Had trouble with Emma in high school. Reading it again being older I see too much of myself (or my faults) in her which might be why I didn’t like it. Knightly is also my favourite of the Austen heroes, I think. That ended up being good, although at the time I wanted him to look like Jeremy Northam: I wasn’t expecting to marry a man who was 15 years older!

    This movie seems to prove that a Jane Austen fan CAN like Star Trek. I’m vindicated!!!

  6. I dont think I have ever read a JA book, but a fun quizz I did suggested I was similar to Fanny Price, so I dont know if that is good or not!!!

  7. I have no idea who Price is, so I can’t help there!

    And Jen – of *course* Austen and Star Trek aren’t mutually exclusive! It’s perfectly possible to have seemingly contradictory tastes. I’m living proof =D

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