dirac

"Becoming Jane"

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aurora writes:

Accept a very good and believable actress as someone of an age, which she evidently is not, or not.

That was my take. The age difference didn’t bother me that much, although I agree it was noticeable, and I don’t recall it bothering others I spoke to at the time who saw S&S – it doesn’t necessarily register on a modern audience that a woman of Thompson’s age would already have been securely on the shelf back in the day. In addition, Thompson did the very good adaptation of the book herself and was the animating spirit behind the enterprise, so I cut her a little slack on that count, too.

(Similar considerations did affect Thompson in another film, however, ‘Carrington,’ where the casting really wasn’t age-appropriate and it did hurt the picture.)

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:blink:

(Similar considerations did affect Thompson in another film, however, ‘Carrington,’ where the casting really wasn’t age-appropriate and it did hurt the picture.)

dirac, can you explain what you meant here? I enjoyed this movie a lot - but I'm not familiar with how old each character is supposed to be.

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Becoming Jane” is no masterpiece but it’s not at all bad if you’re really at loose ends. It invents freely, but if it didn’t the movie would last about thirty minutes, so I thought that was fair -- although I rather doubt that Austen would have needed Mr. Lefroy or anyone else to introduce her to “Tom Jones.” Anne Hathaway is very appealing if you like her, which I do. (Her attractions are sufficient to cast doubt on her father’s grim warning, in re a proposal from a rich but torpid suitor, that “This is likely to be your best offer.” Sure.)

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I think the source of "Austenmania" can be kind of linked to the modern view of romance, especially for women. Back in the day, I think people were of the opinion that you met someone nice in high school (or Mom's best friend's son) and boom, you have the house, the kids, the pool. Nowadays, younger people struggle a lot longer before they are truly "settled." The fact that most of Jane's heroines are middle class without much family money makes them more identifiable to today's young professional woman. Plus, in all Austen novels, the romances take WORK, and are usually based on intellect AS WELL as wealth. Although it's assumed that the Austen heroines aren't "plain Janes" they are rarely stunning beauties either. Elizabeth is pretty but not as pretty as her sister Jane. So it's the ultimate romantic fantasy for young women of today -- if you're smart, sensible, charming, you can find your dream man who is smart, sensible, charming, and rich.

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Very interesting points, canbelto, and thanks for raising them.

Hmmm....it seems to me that Austen’s heroes tend to be lacking in the charm department: charm of manner is not a striking quality in Darcy, Knightley, Edmund Bertram, or Wentworth, although they are attractive in other ways. Notable charm in Austen tends to be a sign of villainy or carelessness in men (though not necessarily in women; Elizabeth Bennet is arguably the most charming heroine in literature).

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Hmmm....it seems to me that Austen’s heroes tend to be lacking in the charm department: charm of manner is not a striking quality in Darcy, Knightley, Edmund Bertram, or Wentworth, although they are attractive in other ways. Notable charm in Austen tends to be a sign of villainy or carelessness in men (though not necessarily in women; Elizabeth Bennet is arguably the most charming heroine in literature).
Good point, dirac. In addition, Austen's heroines (and their prospective mates) seem to possess integrity,sincerity, and the ability to see through false pretensions. This inevitably makes them somewhat uncomfortable with and skeptical about conventional social charm, ironic about it, and -- sooner or later -- subversive of it. What conventional society call "charming" all too often turns out to be false, deceptive, superficial, smug, and/or manipulative.

Oscar Wilde was speaking for conventional society when he wrote (more or less): One of the great charms of marriage is that it makes a life of deception necessary for both parties." Austen's value system is quite different. Maybe that's one of the qualities that makes her seem "modern" today.

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Oscar Wilde was speaking for conventional society when he wrote (more or less): One of the great charms of marriage is that it makes a life of deception necessary for both parties." Austen's value system is quite different. Maybe that's one of the qualities that makes her seem "modern" today.

Interesting comment, bart. I agree that Austen seems more contemporary than Wilde does, but I don't think it is the value system, but rather the stylistic qualities of Austen's work.

Actually if you strip Wilde's epigram (and I wasn't familiar with it before you wrote it here) of the 'nonsense', Wilde like Austen is saying that a successful marriage requires work. Of course, in those days, it was of great importance that a marriage work. There was no easy way out.

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Actually if you strip Wilde's epigram (and I wasn't familiar with it before you wrote it here) of the 'nonsense', Wilde like Austen is saying that a successful marriage requires work. Of course, in those days, it was of great importance that a marriage work. There was no easy way out.
Thanks for that insight, GWTW. I'm going to take another look at some Wilde with this in mind.

Ghastly thought: What if we reverse this? What would Austen's novels be like if she had some of Wilde's compulsve need to translate all human behavior into epigrams? :clapping:

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Actually if you strip Wilde's epigram (and I wasn't familiar with it before you wrote it here) of the 'nonsense', Wilde like Austen is saying that a successful marriage requires work. Of course, in those days, it was of great importance that a marriage work. There was no easy way out.
Thanks for that insight, GWTW. I'm going to take another look at some Wilde with this in mind.

Ghastly thought: What if we reverse this? What would Austen's novels be like if she had some of Wilde's compulsve need to translate all human behavior into epigrams? :)

Well, to be fair to Wilde, he was perfectly capable of writing non-epigrammatic prose. Dorian Gray, for one! And I think Wilde might see this "translating" differently--i.e., remember his quip "life imitates art."

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Well, to be fair to Wilde, he was perfectly capable of writing non-epigrammatic prose. Dorian Gray, for one! And I think Wilde might see this "translating" differently--i.e., remember his quip "life imitates art."
Excellent points, Ray.

Wilde's prose, even in Dorian Gray, is the sort that once earned the label "lapidary." The reader has a sense that the author has worked hard at it, even though the lines flow out as though lubricated. It's prose that calls attention to itself and almost begs to be read aloud, possibly to a drawing-room audience.

In his plays, the humor that he derives from turning conventional expressions or values against themselves -- "Life imitates art," for instance, or "I can resist everything except temptation" -- says "look at me," although of course in manner that is worth looking at.

Austen also took great pains over her prose. But she also takes great pains to hide the effort. This creates, for me at least, a sense of naturalness, almost conversationality, all achieved in passages that are actually often quite formal and are very carefully constructed.

On the other hand, there are occasional bits in Austen that remind me just a little of Wilde. For example, Darcy's "I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle."

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