Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rewriting Jane

Do you approve of rewriting history for the sake of romance? Apparently, the writers of the new Anne Hathaway film, BECOMING JANE, clearly do. I never heard of the film until recently, when a friend of mine, a fellow Austen lover, mentioned a new film out on the life of the great 19th century writer. I immediately had to find out everything I could about it....and was left extremely disappointed and angry. The film covers the love story between Austen and a distant relation of hers; it goes as far as suggesting that he was the inspiration for Mr. Darcy and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE basically an autobiographical work. Da fa?!?! Who are they trying to kid? What angers me about this film is that many viewers will end up believing the half-truths it spouts out. It is not clear whether Jane Austen had a life altering love affair that led to the creation of one of the greatest literary works of all time. There is no evidence to suggest it, beyond a couple of references to the the gentleman in letters to her sister. However, the writers use their imagination and cleverly create one for her. Why?

I don't approve of rewriting history. It's tantamount to lying and I'm not one too keen on the art of deception.

I cannot help but feel deceived and cheated out of a true account of the life of such an amazing author...and a bit offended, as well. Why must a great love be associated with her? Is it not possible she didn't have one? Would that make her less complete as a woman?

I don't know...perhaps my disgust goes beyond a bit of fudging. Perhaps, I'm merely ticked that there is an underlying assumption that Jane Austen needs a lover in order to be interesting, so the writers decided to give her one. After all, I've yet to see any film about her simply as Jane.

Jane: the woman...alone.

I didn't see the film but I do hope the directors made clear that it was a fictional account of Jane Austen's personal life. I'm beyond sickened by this.

Will not see this film.


Tilly Greene said...

Totally agree, don't want history rewritten to make a story more entertaining...and then I was on an airplane for 7+ hours and there was "Becoming Jane".

The most annoying thing was when they'd cherry pick supposed events from her life to be scenes in her books - grrr!

I fell asleep, nice, and woke up in time to catch the last 15 minutes and ended up balling my head off and an appreciation for James McAvoy. He was fabulous in "The Last King of Scotland" - if memory serves me right, he has a darn fine nude scene in the latter flick as well :-)

Devon said...

Hi!! Glad to see you blogging.

You nailed it. I'm getting on my soapbox, but this isn't the first time I've heard of a fictionalization of a famous author's life that included a made up affair. Because a man must've inspired the work, right?

Heh, do I sound like angry feminist much?

Kate Diamond said...

Actually, I think this is part of a larger misinterpretation of Austen's work.

Movie adaptations nowadays focus SO MUCH on the romance, to the point that they start changing her story and ignoring the time period completely (Keira Knightley wandering about the countryside hair unbound, or in her NIGHTGOWN. And Mr. Darcy eye-sexing her all the way as he proclaims passionately, "You have bewitched me, body and soul." Ugh.)

Yes, these book are very romantic. But they're also very satirical. Jane Austen is MAKING FUN of her society. The secondary characters, the way the protagonists mock them... this isn't just romance. It's social commentary. I can't help but think that the 21st century adaptations are missing an integral part of the point.

Lori said...

O.M.G. THANK YOU Tilly! I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out where on earth I knew and loved James McAvoy from. It was Last King of Scotland! Phew! What a load off my mind LOL.

As for the movie, I actually enjoyed it (I also saw it on a plane actually right after having been in Bath and seeing the Jane Austen museum and her house *g*), but I knew enough to know that it was a fictionalized version.

It's good to see you back, Daniela, and back to your feisty self :)

sybil said...

Ah well I don't honestly care. It is pretty clear the book is a what if, could have been, maybe not, make money off that austin chick.

Don't see it as anything different than publishing fanfiction of P&P.

So dunno.. one would hope that once you are dead you wouldn't care about crap like that...

of course I like historical fiction and that is ALWAYS going to be open to being a LARGE part of what the author 'decides' from the facts, papers and what not from the 'historical person's time.

And really back in the good ol days and hell even today 'FACTS' can be recorded and be completely wrong.

Just take a deep breath and don't see it *g*

Dev said...

I'm planning on seeing it. To me, it's really no different than the countless "Austen-esque" books out there that should just be seen for what they are ~ a work of fiction.

Stacy~ said...

Normally I would agree with you, but I did enjoy this story, and went in with the understanding it was fictional. Pure escapism, I thought, but enjoyable escapism.