Thursday, June 5, 2008
The Jane Austen Book Club
2007 Drama/Comedy by Robin Swicord, who hasn't directed much but has written tons of classic chick flicks like Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Women and Shag. The Jane Austen Book Club picks up in the lives of several strangers as they intersect. Bernadette (played wonderfully by Kathy Baker) meets Prudy, a young French teacher whose full of ego and contempt for her husband. Well Bernadette decides that since they're all at a sort of crossroads, that maybe they should indulge a common love, Jane Austen, and form a Jane Austen book club. The plot is very typical and the tone plays out like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. The dialogue is pretty thin and relies waaaaaay too much on those facicious statements where characters act like they're talking about a book (as here, but could be other things in other movies) but it's obvious to everyone in the room (and watching the flick) that they're really not talking about that book, but about each other. Also, for someone like me who hasn't read much Austen at all, there were way too many times where I had no idea That might work once or twice but they do it at almost every meeting. In other words, the movie's not great and at times seems pretty typical, but the salvation of this movie lies in the performances. Everyone is good, even people I've never seen before. They're all great and the chemistry is really thick. Their relationships feel natural and it's fun to watch. If it weren't for this, this would be a clunker. It's still not great, but it would be worth a watch if you're looking for a rental.