Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Movie Review: Miss Austen Regrets

by Miss dePoint, The Pleasant Times Movie Critic

I am having the "Miss Austen Regrets" regrets. They started as soon as the movie was over. I regret that I ever watched the film. The bitter, jealous, drunken, flirtatious, immodest, cynical Jane Austen was more depressing than entertaining.

As a movie goes, there was little I liked about it, the music was again annoying, and I think that Miss Austen would have worn a bonnet more often in town, instead of that headdress. The few things I did enjoy were the locations, the hairstyles of Fanny and Cassandra, and some of the dresses (Jane's dark dresses with white sheer sleeves, and Fanny's outfits).

As a story goes, I didn't like it.

My idea of Jane Austen, to be sure, comes from the few bits I have read about her life, and mostly from her works. I have never read an in-depth history of the details of her life (as I understand it, there aren't many details left to work with), but I tend to think that this film was highly exaggerated in its portrayal of Jane Austen. They did warn us at the introduction that "nobody knows" if Miss Austen had any regrets. Maybe she didn't feel like dirt because she didn't marry. Maybe she didn't prance about the neighboring houses getting drunk and flirting with married men. And maybe her mother wasn't such a horrible monster. And don't you think that with all those neices and nephews, that Jane would have known how to hold a baby?

A friend of mine a long time ago told me that she would not read those kind of fiction books where the author takes a real historical figure and puts words in his mouth, lest the real history and the fiction mix in her mind and she gets the wrong impressions or ideas. I can see her point. People might go away from this film thinking that this is who Jane Austen really was.

I prefer to forget the film entirely, and go back to my first impression of Miss Austen, as a normal lady who acted just like any other girl in the village at the time, who liked to write stories to amuse her family. She would put her writing away when company came, and when they left no doubt she had more ideas as to what to write. She might have had a ready wit but maybe it was only seen to its fullest amongst her family and close friends, and in her writings. It seems to me to be more fun to think of her that way.
Portrait of Jane Austen (1775-1817)
Portrait of Jane Austen (1775-1817)
Giclee Print

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Is it possible to have too much Jane Austen? I think so. The movie makers think that the public cannot get enough, so they are going to keep on with the Jane Austen re-makes and Jane Austen fictional biographies and Jane Austen: The Continuing Stories (movies that will come out based on book sequals written in the last twenty years) until it becomes boring and everyone is sick of it.

Though I do not mind if they keep trying to make a better version of one of the films, I think there is a time to quit for a while and leave it alone for, say, 25-50 years. Let some new people try it in the future, and see if any more accuracy comes of it.

I think that it is rare to find a skill and wit to match Jane Austen's, and that those attempting to write sequals should take their talents to making up their own characters and stories, and leave Miss Austen's alone. If she had wanted there to be a sequal, she would have written it.

I also wish that the modern literature analysts would leave Miss Austen and her works alone. They try to fit all this modern psychology and modern thinking into Miss Austen's life and times and how do they know if she was thinking the way we do when she wrote her books or her letters? I think Miss Austen would have laughed in her sleeve or been very angry to see all the fiction that surrounds her fiction or her real life nowdays!

I do not care to speculate about Miss Austen's regrets, whatever they may be, and much prefer reading one of her books.
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