Monday, August 13, 2007

On Becoming Jane

We have watched as British period dramas slowly evolved from elaborate affairs involving parquet floors, crystal chandeliers and damsels in distress to include the pigs-a-suckling and chickens-a-squaking real England of the times and we have delighted in them. Keira Knightley as the spunky Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice was much more real than the porcelain goddess from the earlier BBC series.

Becoming Jane, is a development of the same theme, the storyline for which borrows heavily from the plots and characters of Austen novels and presents them as incidents in the talented writer's life. We have seen the country dances before, ditto for the down-to-earth dresses and yes, the pigs, the pigs..I am sure I have seen them too. So what is it that we have not seen before? Well, the utterly delectable James McAvoy (the skinny kid from The Last King of Scotland) for one, is a revelation. Apart from that, ummm...there is nothing much. Anyone familiar with Austen's life knows that she never married, unlike the heroines in her novels who always get to live happily ever after. So you sit patiently through this two hour romp through English woods waiting for the romance to be doomed. And surely it is (atleast the reasoning is logical and that is all I can say for it) and with it Jane Austen's life is reduced to that of a generic heroine from a tragic love story. Oh! well, we had the company of Mr. McAvoy* for two hours!

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