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The Jane Austen Book Club [2007]

The Jane Austen Bookclub [2007] is an adaption of the novel by Karen Joy Fowler and centers on a group of women brought together to escape their own romances by delving into Austen’s works. However what unfolds is a myriad of love stories each mirroring an Austen novel.

Happily ever after? First and foremost a film featuring a group of women is a rare find therefore it is hard to label it as a cliche, however, the story still conforms to certain obvious plot choices. Firstly, each character who joins the book club is in a rather undesirable romantic state. There is the classic woman scorned, the older woman tempted by youth. The woman who is waiting for ‘true love’ and then the one minority character who is a lesbian. Worst of all is that the film follows the format of the ultimate cliche ‘the happy ending’, in which each character's romantic turmoil solved in the closing scenes rather conveniently. 

It is a cliche that most cliches are true: However there is still cleverness in this, the woman scorned falls back in love with her husband a storyline not often pursued, the almost cheating wife comes to her senses after asking herself, ‘What would Jane do?’ And the woman waiting for true love? Well her prince charming turns up but he is actually not perfect at all. Though is it predominately a story about women and love, two subjects not often considered of high importance in cultural value, they are women who each very pointedly make their own decisions and fall in love (or back in love) on their own terms, each choosing very deserving partners.

Too much to say, too little time? As a multi-protagonist story, the film deals with various story arcs, this complicates the audiences habit of latching on to a protagonist. Each woman gets minimal background and often only one or two very distinctive quirks are assigned, these are supposed to be an indication of personality and back story. One woman is a dog breeder who has never been in love. Therefore she is set up to be a ‘control-freak’ and thus must learn to relinquish control by falling in love with the only male in the book club.

 

Jane Austen’s Bookclub is a film with minimal character development and a script that is no match for Austen’s wit, however good the intentions were it fell short.

Watch The Jane Austen Book Club on iTunes

The Jane Austen Book Club [2007]
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