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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

GREENLIGHT Reviews #164: Becoming Jane (with "Pride & Prejudice" and "Educating Rita")

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Ann and Les enjoyed the quiet thoughtfulness of Becoming Jane (2007) but they thought it could have used a little more spice. They also thoroughly enjoyed the masterful performances of the almost all British cast such as James McAvoy and Maggie Smith playing these thoroughly British characters created by the masterful Jane Austen. That raises the question, then, why the producers felt the need to use the relatively inexperienced American Anne Hathaway in the lead role. She doesn’t ruin the sweet little film but she doesn’t add much to it either.

For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a really good Jane Austen film made quite recently called Pride & Prejudice (2005.) Much to his surprise, this film features Keira Knightley in the lead and she’s a wonderful Elizabeth Bennett to the smooth moves of Matthew Mcfadyen as Mr. Darcy. These two are balanced by Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn as the thoroughly entertaining, if for opposite reasons, Mr. & Mrs. Bennett. Ann recommends a slightly more modern take on a Jane Austen theme (though it’s not based on a Jane Austen novel and it was made over 20 years ago) with Michael Caine playing a stuffy English professor charged with helping the uneducated hairdresser played byJulie Walters raise her intellectual prowess in Lewis Gilbert’s Educating Rita (1983.)

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