To paraphrase Eddie Murphy in an old Saturday Night Live skit "t.v. been berry, berry good to me." Already twice in the past couple of weeks, I have been channel surfing late and night and caught the beginning of a movie that fits the Everything Austen Challenge. Last night it happened again. This time I was lucky enough to catch 2007's "Becoming Jane" starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy. The movie purports to tell the story of how Jane Austen became an author and why she never married. Austen experts will tell you that the movie is a work of fiction and I'm okay with that.
Raised in genteel poverty, Jane has, on the surface, few hopes for a good marriage because she has no money to bring to a union. Furthermore, she wants to be a writer. Nevertheless, she does receive a proposal of marriage from a wealthy, but stolid young man. Jane knows that it would be a great advantage to her family if she were to accept that proposal but she cannot bear the idea of marrying someone she is not in love with. Then she mets Thomas LeFroy, a rougish Irishman whom she cannot stand upon first being introduced (read Elizabeth Bennet's first introduction to Mr. Darcy here). LeFroy does not feel the same and pursues Jane until the two enter into a passionate romance. But LeFroy would be penniless without the support of his uncle and that support is necessary for LeFroy to support his parents and siblings.
Throughout the movie, Austen fans will spot the places where "real life" become the stuff of books. It really is irrelevant to me whether or not it's fact; it's fun. The movie is beautifully filmed, the emotions palpable, Hathaway and McAvoy's performances wonderful. A movie I will watch again and again, with or without a challenge.