The solid cast and honest Austen scholarship make Becoming Jane fitfully entertaining. But it's hard for the film to escape the shadow of Austen's superior talent when it filches so much from her books.
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A bearable period chick flick with a self-congratulatory “realistic” conceit.
An ersatz "Pride and Prejudice" in all but name, Becoming Jane is a finely tooled Brit-lit costumer that, like Anne Hathaway's flawless accent as the young Austen, lacks only that final convincing 5%.
There are enough similarities between the movie and "Pride and Prejudice" that one could be forgiven thinking this screenplay is Austen lite.
Becoming Jane has a burnished feminine sadness, and the director, Julian Jarrold, gives it a creamy-dark visual flow.
It's movie-making as match-making.
The film tries to squeeze Austen into one of her novels, and the peg doesn't fit.
So I expect the Janeites who love the author will feel themselves ill-served by the film, which appears to have even less basis in fact than "Shakespeare in Love." As for the rest of us, the question is simpler: Is it worth the eight bucks?
It's an enjoyable period romance. Yet, ultimately, the unique magic of Austen so beautifully caught in 1996's "Emma" is missing.