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!