Monday, November 30, 2009

Miss Austen Regrets

The story of this movie stemms from one episode in JA's life, a marriage proposal she accepted only to refuse a few hours later, and imagines what would have happened had she regretted that action, as the plot of Persuasion seems to suggest. It might be strong temptation to examine Jane Austen's real life the truth is that she left (or Cassandra did) few letters behind and this possible glimpse into her personal story seems a bit like voyeurism.

If we were to take Persuasion as based on true fact - that Jane may have had second thoughts about refusing someone - shouldn't her character be more like Anne Elliott's, more composed, less hoydenish than what we do see in this movie? And everyone keeps talking about a Mr Darcy for Jane but doesn't it seem likely then that she would prefer a Captain Wentworth?

Anyway, in Miss Austen Regrets, Jane Austen tries to help her niece ,Fanny Austen Knight, to choose between several suitors. But as she helps Fanny she meets a gentleman from her past who makes her reflect on what could have been, and how the circumstances of her family could have been very different had she accepted the man who offered for her.

As a biography Miss Austen Regrets did not convince me. Like in the previous Becoming Jane my impressions of the author are not the same as the scriptwriters. As a period drama I enjoyed much more Austen's adaptations. That isn't to say that lovers of the genre won't find this interesting, it's beautifully filmed and the costumes are just lovely as is usual in these kind of productions.
Olivia Williams plays Jane Austen while Imogen Poots plays her young niece and Hugh Bonneville plays Rev Brook Bridges, the one who unlocks her old memories. We found they played their parts well and convincingly, our problem was the concept. Maybe someone should make a movie about how fulfilled Jane Austen was with her choices in life instead of about what she might regret. She seems to have been a happy woman who enjoyed life and despite the fact that she had to struggle with her lack of fortune and with her duty towards her family it would be nice to see her regretting less.

The movie won the Writer's Guild of Great Britain in 2008 for scriptwriter Gwyneth Hughes.

I watched this movie a while back and posted my review on Lights Camera History but totally forgot this could enter the Everything Austen Challenge. Now that I remembered I'm posting it here and it's my fourth entry in that Challenge.


  1. It's going on my Zip movie list. I've been meaning to watch it, but James is never in the mood to watch period dramas that don't involve wars. lol

  2. I'll be looking forward to your opinion then. :-)

  3. Interesting . . . I hadn't heard of this movie. But, I have to say that I completely agree with your conclusion -- I felt the same way when I saw Becoming Jane. It really would be nice to see a portrait of her being satisfied with her life, eventhough she never married.


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