COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 45min
STARRING: Emily Blunt, Maria Bello, Hugh Dancy
The plot thickens: Bello and Dancy
Author Jane Austen was no slouch with the shades of the heart. And since human nature is consistently inconsistent, her themes still fascinate. In The Jane Austen Book Club, five Californian women and one ring-in guy team up to talk Austen, but like the 2004 Karen Joy Fowler novel that inspired it, director Robin Swicord’s adaptation is no crusty lit-crit. If you’ve read Miss A, you will savour the parallels between Jocelyn (Bello), Prudie (Blunt), Bernadette (Kathy Baker), Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), Allegra (Maggie Grace) and Grigg (Dancy) and the characters in the six Regency novels they meet to discuss. And if you’re Austen-rusty, kick back and appreciate the snap and crackle of fleshed-out femmes with interwoven issues. Will sanity and romance prevail? After all, it is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone loves a happy ending.
Any film that lets believable women shine is a fine thing, especially one as beautifully observed as this. You don’t know these women but in the end, you’ll know them: their fears, their desires and their timeless capacity to care.