Wednesday, June 3, 2009

what would jane do?


Do not ask “What would Jane
In order to stay sane
must be prepared to get
lost in
the present, and forget
Jane Austen.
The past is a mere book
you’ve read;
be forward, girl, and look

Inspired by “The Jane Austen Book Club,” a movie based on Karen Joy Fowler’s book of that name. Stephen Holden writes in the NYT, September 21, 2007:

The movie gets foolishly carried away only once, when it suggests that a clueless macho boor, pressured to read Austen by his neglected wife, is magically transformed into a cuddly enlightened tomcat purring with empathy. I didn’t believe it for a minute. But I like the idea of a great British author from another century casting such a spell. If Shakespeare can do it, why not Austen? The movie glamorizes Ms. Fowler’s characters in ways large and small. Several are a decade younger in the film than in the book, and all are attractive. Grigg (Hugh Dancy), the lone man, has been transformed from a temp in a university linguistics department in his 40s into a cute-as-a-button Silicon Valley techie and possible genius in his early 30s. Having grown up with three older sisters, this puppyish man-child and science-fiction fanatic who compares an Austen novel to “The Empire Strikes Back” is charmingly feminized without being effeminate. The rest of the lineup is as follows: Bernadette (Kathy Baker), the group’s founder, is a six-times-married dynamo in her mid-50s who is both free-spirited and maternal. Her close friend Jocelyn (Maria Bello), a control freak and dog fancier who breeds Rhodesian Ridgebacks, fancies herself above the human mating game. Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), happily married for 25 years, imagines she has it all, then falls apart when her husband, Daniel (Jimmy Smits), breaks the news that he is having an affair with a woman in his law firm and wants to end their marriage. The couple’s lesbian 20-ish daughter, Allegra (Maggie Grace), who has an active love life and a secret addiction to extreme sports like skydiving, moves back home to keep Sylvia company. Prudie (Emily Blunt), drawn into the group after meeting Bernadette in line at an Austen film festival, is a beautiful, prim, married high school French teacher. To her recently acquired husband, Dean (Marc Blucas), an uncommunicative sports nut, the author’s name only conjures the capital of Texas. As their marriage falters, she is pursued by Trey (Kevin Zegers), a handsome senior. One of the movie’s few surreal touches is a traffic sign that flashes “What would Jane do?” as Prudie contemplates meeting him in a motel.

© 2009 Gershon Hepner 6/2/09

No comments:

Post a Comment