If you're reading this blog, you don't need my two cents to decide whether or not to go see the Jane Austen biopic, Becoming Jane when it opens next month. You'll see it regardless, we can suppose.
But having just attended a screening tonight, I'll give you my two cents anyway, summing up in just two words: James McAvoy.
We see him flirt shamelessly. We see his devilish grins. We see him rockin' his Regency Period duds. And oh yes, we see his nude buttocks....(a slightly un-Austen-like visual, but nevertheless, I will abandon all propriety, just this once, and let such unseemly displays be permitted.)
...Anne who? Oh, Anne Hathaway. Yeah, she's there. (I still contend she was miscast, but she doesn't wholly offend. Perhaps she rolls her big brown doe eyes too much for my liking and postures too much like a high school thespian, but that's the Anne Hathaway way, isn't it?) Nevertheless, it's McAvoy who steals this movie as Jane's hybrid-Wickham/Darcy-esque love interest Tom LeFroy, while the rest of the supporting cast (James Cromwell as Jane's dad, Julie Walters as Mom, Anna Maxwell Martin as her sister Cassandra, and Maggie Smith as the Catherine de-Burgh-inspiring Lady Gresham) each shine in their own right.
The first half of the movie trudges along with too much "sassy" Jane (Look! she plays cricket just like the boys!) and way too much pilfering from the Pride & Prejudice playbook. But the second half takes a much more intriguing turn, starting with a dance sequence that leaves hearts all aflutter.
It's not one of those movies for which you're going to dedicate hours of your future existence watching subsequent viewings. (In my book, only A&E's original Pride & Prejudice takes those honors.) But in this summer of Transformers and Die Hard sequels, it's a pleasing way for the rest of us to pass the time.