The Jane Austen Book Club
Release year: 2007
Director: Robin Swicord
Screenwriter: Robin Swicord, Karen Joy Fowler (novel)
Starring: Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Maggie Grace, Hugh Dancy, Marc Blucas, Jimmy Smits, Kevin Zegers
When Sylvia’s (Amy Brenneman) husband (Jimmy Smits) unexpectedly dumps her, her friends Bernadette (Kathy Baker) and Jocelyn (Maria Bello) starts a book club to get her out of the house. Deciding to read Jane Austen’s book where each person does one book, they need more members. They bring in Sylvia’s daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace); Prudie (Emily Blunt), a teacher with a troubled marriage Bernadette runs into and sci-fi fan Grigg (Hugh Dancy), who Jocelyn invites to help Sylvia move on but who joins because he likes Jocelyn. As the novels are read and discussed the relationships between the members of the book club are affected and they discover that Austen’s stories are as relevant today.
Adapted from the best-selling novel by the same name, The Jane Austen Book Club benefits from it’s great cast and director/writer Robin Swicord’s (Wakefield, 2016) sense for dialogue. Sporting a strong female cast consisting of Baker (Edward Scissorhands, 1990), Bello (Coyote Ugly, 2000), Brenneman (Heat, 1995), Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, 2006) and Grace (Taken, 2008) this movie is almost impossible to not file under chick-flick, especially when the story evolves around the novels of Jane Austen and love. Each and everyone does a great job making their rather cardboard characters (we never get much background story) seem like fully embodied people we care for and whose stories we willingly get involved in. Smits (Rogue One, 2016) seems stiff in his performance, but can be forgiven as it seems fitting for the role while Dancy (Ella Enchanted, 2004) is a nice surprise, warm and real as the poor, confused only male member of the book club. It is easy to follow the various story lines as the characters are so different and the stories are rounded up nicely at the end. All in all a very pleasurable movie that may be forgettable, but that’s okay, that gives an excuse for a re-watch!
The website address www.laughing-allegra.com written on Allegra’s jewelry-kit-box (which she brought to the first meeting of the book club at Starbucks) actually links to the official site of the film.
Picture copyrights: Sony Pictures