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Movie News & Reviews from Hennessey Hometown Critics.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Becoming Jane, Inside and Out

Did Jane Austen have an ill-fated love affair with Tom Lefroy, later Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench in Ireland? Her letters suggest that she certainly had a romp with him one summer, but there is no definitive evidence that the two had anything more than a teasing friendship.

Nonetheless, Becoming Jane takes us into a romantic story that could have been penned by Miss Austen, had she lived in 2009 rather than 1809. In 1809, her heroine had to get her man; in 2009, we know such things do not always come to pass.

The chemistry between Anne Hathaway as Jane and James McAvoy as Tom is true to the character of the letters, lively, teasing, and increasingly spirited. Both portray rebellious intelligence sparking fire and feeding from one another until the inevitablility of their relationship becomes obvious, even to them.

The lovers are always the last to know.

In the end, it is their goodness and propriety that keep them apart--two rebellious hearts with moral souls. This is what elevates the movie from lush costume flick to thoughtful film. It's no Casablanca, but it still reminds us that no matter how much you may want a thing, sometimes even when it is offered, you can't always have what you want.