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devil duck

mini-movie review: Jane Austen

So shalmestere and I went to see "The Jane Austen Book Club" last night. Lots of fun, but I kept thinking "I need to see this again, probably several more times; the allusions and parallels are coming too quickly for me to catch them all."

As you probably know, it's about a book club that decides to go through the complete works of Jane Austen, one novel per month. Every character in the movie resembles one or more major Austen characters, and they use episodes from Austen to illuminate and resolve the turmoil in their own lives. Some are completely blind to the resemblance (notably the Emma character, who would be blind to her own personal characteristics and needs while carefully analyzing and planning the lives of everyone around her). It's not much of a spoiler to point out that the Emma character breeds pedigreed dogs, allowing her to decide who should mate with whom.

The movie pokes fun at human foibles and self-delusion in much the same wry way Austen does: one early, obvious example is a female character's uninterruptible tirade about how men pontificate and don't allow anyone else to get a word in edgewise.

Personally, I fall into the category, disparaged early in the movie, of having seen Austen movies but never actually read any of the books. I've seen both BBC and movie versions of Pride and Prejudice several times, the BBC version of Northanger Abbey, and the recent movie versions of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Emma, and Mansfield Park. Oh, and the very-recent movie "Becoming Jane". Now I guess I need to read the books....