The Jane Austen Book Club
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Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen. As they delve into Austen's literature, the club members find themselves dealing with life experiences that parallel the themes of the books they are reading.

September 09, 2007

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The Jane Austen Book Club

Reviewed by Roger

When an unsuspecting Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) learns that her husband of 20 years (Jimmy Smits) is leaving her for another woman, her best friends, middle-aged, multi-divorced Bernadette (Kathy Baker) and obstinately single dog-breeder Jocelyn (Maria Bello), decide to start a book club to distract her from her loss.

Once the two have decided on “All Jane Austen, all the time”, the other members of the club fall quickly into place: Allegra (Maggie Grace), Sylvia’s thrill-seeking lesbian daughter, the aptly named Prudie (Emily Blunt), an unhappily married French teacher with a roving eye, and software geek and sci-fi nut Grigg (Hugh Dancy), the only guy in the group.

As the six meet over the course of six months to discuss Jane Austen’s six novels, their lives start mirroring those of Austen’s characters as they deal with each other and with their private affairs.

Events in the movie are sometimes too obviously manipulated to suit the central idea, namely to celebrate Jane Austen’s work and explore its relevance to the lives of modern-day women.

Despite this, the sentimental, frivolous nature of this comedy/drama is a lot of fun to watch, and will make a lot of people eager to reach for an Austen novel.

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