Becoming Jane–A Rant


I asked my friend, author, and Pemberley co-founder Myretta Robens what she thought of the movie Becoming Jane and she sent me the following rant (see how I cleverly avoided having to think of fresh writing myself?). But before she starts, let me say we both recognize the importance of seeing something before judging it. She does admit, however, she went in with more of a closed mind than she would’ve liked.

Myretta Speaks:
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Becoming Jane is just wrong. Okay, I realize that for the regular movie-goer, this is probably a nicely filmed, affecting story. But for someone who is deeply and passionately interested in Jane Austen, it’s just wrong! And here’s why:

Location – Ireland is NOT England and the parts used for this film didn’t look at all like the bits of England they purported to be. And…Godmersham by the Sea? What the heck was that? Although Godmersham (one of the homes of Jane’s brother, Edward Austen Knight) is in Kent, and Kent has some coast, Godmersham is, most emphatically, not near it.

Anachronism – Steel nibbed pens. That’s all I’m saying.

Historical inaccuracies – This is a big one. Almost none of this story ever happened. Yes, Jane Austen met and flirted with Tom Lefroy for a couple of weeks in 1795-6. There is nothing to indicate that she ever did most of the other things depicted in the movie. And that last scene was totally impossible. I could go on and on about these inaccuracies in serious detail, but you probably don’t want to hear it.

The gravest problem of all is the implication on which the film is based: That Jane Austen was a frustrated and mediocre writer until a man entered her life, introduced her to Tom Jones and taught her love. And the idea that some of her most sparkling prose was cribbed from other
people’s ideas. The premises of this film denigrate the genius and originality of Jane Austen. I am outraged on her behalf and on behalf of other women writers who are fully capable of telling their own stories.

End of Rant; Beginning of Q&A Period:

Thanks, Myretta! Have you seen the movie? What did you think? And what do you think in general of historical fictionalized accounts of something that may or may not have happened?

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