DVD Review: The Jane Austen Book Club


I was shocked at how much I loved this movie!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Jane Austen stories (Pride and Prejudice in particular). So any movie with her name in the title means I’m obliged to rent it. Even if they’re using her name to entice people like me, which is what I suspected when I succumbed and added it to my Blockbuster queue.

But the movie slowly and carefully told a lovely story about a group of women (and one poor guy) who get together to read Jane Austen’s six books. Each of the group’s members chose which book discussion they would lead, and the group read one book per month. So over the course of six months we get to see how these people’s lives progress. That alone was gratifying: So many movies nowadays seem to take place over the course of a day or so, and in that narrow space of time people are “falling in love” or having sex or what have you. As if life moves that quickly! (And if it does, it shouldn’t!)


Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), who’s been married to Daniel (Jimmy Smits) for years, is devastated when he leaves her for another woman. It’s right around this time that Sylvia and her daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) join the book club.

Bernadette (Kathy Baker), a single older woman who’s been married and divorced several times, meets Prudie (Emily Blunt), a young high school French teacher in a disappointing marriage, while they wait in a movie line.

Jocelyn (Maria Bello), a dog lover who’s never been married, meets Grigg (Hugh Dancy) in a hotel where he’s attending a science fiction convention. Jocelyn is determined to match him with Sylvia. But Grigg likes Jocelyn …

I absolutely love how Sylvia’s, Prudie’s and Jocelyn’s stories resolve. They work out just the way I hoped they all would, even though sometimes as I watched, I was afraid things wouldn’t work out. I guess I thought my hopes for these women were too “conservative.” Most movies are about the quick fix, about doing what feels good, or about rushing into things and putting your “heart” above all else. Bah. Garbage! That’s not real love. I’ve known real love, and it doesn’t look like the drivel they put in movies today.

Anyhow (again).

This movie ended just how I would’ve liked. I was pleasantly, happily surprised! I shall have to read the book now.

I’m a little surprised to be doing this, but I’m doing it. I’m giving this movie 5/5 stars!

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