September 21, 2007

Jane Austen Book Club Review

Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club is a movie I wanted to like really badly. The problem with wanting something so badly is that you are inevitably disappointed. This is my own fault because the film is perfectly good -- just not great.

The premise of the film based on the best-selling novel by Karen Joy Fowler, is that the six members of the book club gets together to read all of Austen's novels, which in turn helps all of them deal with the craziness of contemporary life. The film was adapted for the screen and directed by first time director Robin Swicord who has a host of other screenwriting credits including Memoirs of a Geisha and Little Women.

Members of the book club include: Kathy Baker as Bernadette the oft-married mother hen who comes up with the idea of the club; Sylvia played by Amy Brenneman who is going through the breakup of her marriage after 25 years to Daniel played by Jimmy Smits; Allegra (Maggie Grace) the lesbian daughter of Daniel and Sylvia who is more up front about her sexuality than her love for extreme sports; Prudie (Emily Blunt) an uptight high school French teacher stuck in a bad marriage; Jocelyn (Maria Bello) a dog breeder who prefers animals to people; and Grigg (Hugh Dancy) the lone man who initially is supposed to be a distraction for Sylvia.

The cast chemistry is fantastic. The book club scenes are the most interesting of the film, the characters come across as if they are really friends, which is a testament to the directing. I liked the movie, it just felt something was missing. It might be the book because I tried to read it when it came out and couldn't get into it, but there are millions of people who loved it and made it a best-seller. Check it out for yourself.