Monday, June 7, 2010

Miss Austen Regrets

Rating: 10/10

To put it simply, this is the best cinematic tribute to Jane Austen that I've seen. Tracing the later years of Jane Austen's life, as she puts up with the norms of society at that time while helping her niece Fanny find her Mr. Darcy, this fictionalized account of Austen's life is so emotional, moving and unforgettable. I was in tears by the end of this great film and I would recommend BBC's Miss Austen Regrets to just about every single Janeite. 

The most fascinating thing about this film is the fact that it showcases the personality and character of Jane Austen very close to how I imagined her to be, judging from her books. Olivia Williams' Austen is feisty, sarcastic, witty, mischievous, with a great flair for life and independence. Williams is unforgettable in the lead role as our favourite author. I doubt I can read the books without an image of Olivia Williams as Austen gleaming in my mind. The film is worth watching just for her alone.

But indeed, that's not the case! The dialogues are very quotable (though I didn't really like Austen saying "The only way to get a man like Mr. Darcy is to make him up" ;) ), the references to Austen's great novels are naturally and seamlessly done and the cast is as close to perfection as I can hope for. Greta Scacchi as Cassandra Austen is a delight, even more so because of her resemblance to Williams which makes them both indeed look like sisters! Imogen Poots definitely deserves a word of praise for being refreshing in her role as Austen's niece Fanny.

The cinematography is a visual delight; taking in the gorgeous greenery of the English countryside, subtly played around with sunsets and sunrises, is an absolute pleasure. The music is apt, pleasing, while the costumes are beautiful and elegant. 

But what makes this film so amazing is the inherent sincerity with which it has been made; sincerity towards weaving a story line and characterising Austen in such a way that it seems so realistic. The movie takes you on a journey to observe and admire our favourite author. Indeed you will spare more than a thought to the great Miss Austen, as you will realize the stark reality of the not-too-happy and depressing situations she faced. After watching this movie, you will be sure to think more about the author than just the wonderful characters she created.

I cannot recommend this film enough. If you're an Austen fan and you haven't watched Miss Austen Regrets yet, rush and see it. I'm pretty sure you won't regret watching it!


Tanu said...

Another movie added to the list. Thanks.

I have yet to watch Pride and Prejudice (both versions). Great review of the movie btw.

Anonymous said...

Yes and yes. I love this movie.
BBC rocks my boat for sure. :)

Vaishnavi said...

I am going to watch this one this weekend...I am getting high on my Austen fix :)

JaneGS said...

I absolutely agree with you--Miss Austen Regrets is a wonderful tribute to Austen. I liked how it portrayed her as a real person, flawed and all, and not as St. Jane.

Wonderful review of a wonderful film.

BookQuoter said...

I have to watch this. Thanks for the post.

Priya Parmar said...

this sounds wonderful! thank you! your review was gorgeously written.

Kals said...

Tanu - Thanks. Do watch the P&P versions when you can. Miss Austen Regrets is gorgeous too! :)

Mrs. B - I know!! One of these days I'm going to send a letter to BBC thanking them for providing so many hours of joy helping us escape into our favourite world of Austen :)

Vaishnavi - I'm sure you'll have a great weekend, then :) For Austen fans it can't get any better than this!

JaneGS - Absolutely agree! LOL about 'St. Jane' =)

I was super glad that they showed how full of life she was, playing around with her niece, being very Emma-ish. Thank you so much for the compliment :)

Book Quoter - You're welcome and I hope you enjoy it too :)

Priya - Thank you so much! :) I'm pretty certain you'll love this film.

couchpapaya said...

Ohh, sounds lovely, thanks for recommending! This is going on the top of my to-watch list :)

Much as I love the cast BBC uses and I do like Olivia Williams tremendously it gets a bit crazy for me when they repeat actors ... it upsets my mental image of them. I thought Williams made an amazing Jane Fairfax in my fav version of Emma, now I'll have to re-order my thinking.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I can't believe I've missed this one. It's now at the top of my netflix queue. Thanks!

Tales of Whimsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tales of Whimsy said...

Oh wait! I did see this one. However, this Jane didn't sit well with me. She seemed so full-of-herself. Did you see Becoming Jane?

Unknown said...

I enjoyed Miss Austen Regrets. It was a more accurate portrayal of Jane than the movie Becoming Jane.

Kals said...

I agree with you, Shelley. I disliked Becoming Jane because it seemed more like a Pride and Prejudice rehash and not Austen's life itself.

Juju, I loved Miss Austen Regrets because the Jane here was snarky, mischievous and arrogant too, yes, but close to how I imagined Austen to be :)

Jen at Introverted Reader said...

Wonderful review, Kals! It was gorgeously shot and made Jane Austen seem more like a real person to me, not just some distant author who wrote these great books. She was pretty snarky, but she had to have been that way, considering how she so slyly made fun of the society around her.

Kals said...

Thank you and this is pretty much exactly what I felt too! Austen seemed so real and true to the author as we know her from the sarcasm, satire of her books :)

Unknown said...

Thank you for this review. I just finished watching Miss Austen Regrets and was searching online for more information about the film when I discovered your blog. Jane Austen fascinates me. I have read several novels on her life (as well as all her own, excepting Sandition), but this film is one of the best accounts I have come across. It reveals her character and the hardships she endured so that she could write. I am forever grateful to her for that.


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