Jane Austen is every romantic girl’s favorite author. This woman knows love and romance, what a girl wants in her guy, and how guys can woo different kinds of girls. BUT I’m not going to go into that because that’s for a different entry. For now, all of you will have to content yourselves with this wonderful movie.
The Jane Austen Book Club is a movie about, well, a book club dedicated to Jane Austen’s 6 novels. Three friends plus a daughter initially form the club, and they recruit two more, a French language teacher and a random guy plucked off the street, er, hotel. The six of them divide the novels, each leading the discussion on an Austen novel. Their interactions during each meeting and outside it–not the discussions themselves–comprise the meat and heart of the movie.
Do the events in the movie mirror the ones in the books they tackle? To a certain degree, yes, there are some similarities, but none too obvious as to leave a sour taste in the mouth. The allusions are subtle enough to make the Austen purist recognize it, but unobtrusive enough not to confuse the casual moviegoer. These make the movie appealing to both types of audiences.
As for the story itself, even though there are six different characters in the novel, the audience does not feel overwhelmed by the number of individual stories crammed into 90 something minutes. Some characters’ personal stories had to be sacrificed to make room for some of the steamier or more dramatic stories, but they were all so seamlessly woven together that there’s no time to even go take a bathroom break. There is a story for every kind of Austen fan: the strong-willed heroine who easily opens up her heart to love, the one who is about to do something forbidden, the quiet, loyal wife, the young and modern woman, the independent career woman who hasn’t opened her heart to anyone just yet, and the young man whose love is honest and pure and strong.
The beautiful characters, witty and sharp dialogue and realistic situations will endear this movie even to the non-Austen fan romantic.