Thursday, May 8, 2008

Becoming Jane Austen

A month ago, I watched the new PBS film "Miss Austen Regrets", and at last I have a chance to give my opinion!

I thought it was wonderful. The settings and costumes were impeccable to my eye. The period was fully realized and it appears now to be an enchanted world, though the struggles of people have not changed at all.

Jane Austen will now always be Olivia Williams to me. I thought she captured the edge that Miss Austen must have had, the slender brittle quality of tension, the qualified kindness and the keen intensity. The script gave Jane an authentic wit and a conversation full of enigmas and ambiguities.

The old romance with Brook Bridges was well done, if unexpected. Why not, after all? We really know very little about Jane's private life. We know her as sister and daughter, dutiful and conscientious. We think we know her very well, but we don't know her loves at all. This film offers a plausible view of those and of her state of mind toward the end of her life.

Her increasing frailty at the end of the film brought tears to my eyes, and I wept over her regrets. I'm looking forward to watching this film again and again, as I do the movies made from her books. I highly recommend this film to anyone with an interest in the author, the period or just a good story.

Hmmm, I think I need to add a Jane Austen page to my redesigned website. I'll add that to my to-do list. Do visit me at my new web address,, and let me know what you think of the redesign!

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