Since Sunday was a complete and literal wash-out with torrential rain all day and even snow in some places in the country, there was no feasible way to leave the house.
So nice food was purchased, PJs were thrown on and this film was put on the box. And it was perfect in every way. I’m reliably informed that the weather was no better over on Jillian’s side of the pond, which makes me feel even happier. Cosy days ftw.
Annnywaaaay… to week 3 of Free for All Month!
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships — both old and new — begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.
Six time divorcee Bernadette (Kathy Baker) meets stick-up-her-arse Prudie (Emily Blunt) at a Jane Austen film festival one afternoon and an idea is born – The Jane Austen Book Club. Six books, six club members and a whole lot of chat is what is envisioned – that it will cheer up Prudie, whose husband has just cancelled their planned trip to Paris is a bonus, and the very reason she agrees to Bernadette’s plan at all.
B figures it will also be just the tonic for her recently dumped friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) and recently bereaved (from a dog) friend Jocelyn (Maria Bello). Throw in Sylvia’s wilful daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) and a hot young man picked up by Jocelyn in a bar (Hugh Dancy) and we have our special six.
Sci-fi nerd Grigg, the hottie from the bar, has never read a word of Austen but Jocelyn figures maybe he’ll give depressed Sylvia a much needed confidence boost now her husband of many years has chucked her for another woman, who doesn’t even have the decency to be younger. Grrrrrr.
Each of our club members has their own issues, some of which mirror Austen’s subject matter beautifully. Bernadette just loves the romance of falling in love and being married, and despite six failed marriages is up for a seventh if the opportunity presents itself.
Sylvia is devastated when Daniel (Jimmy Smits) unceremoniously calls time on their long-term marriage because all the sneaking around isn’t fair on his mistress. ON HIS MISTRESS. He wants to quit while they’re ahead and before they hate one another. Shame he’s such a toad then really. Slowly but surely however, Sylvia does what us women do best, she picks herself, dusts herself down and realises that all men as rubbish (sort of). But seriously, she does start to change for the better and it’s glorious. Will the couple work out their differences when Jimmy Smits inevitably realises his huge mistake? Hmm.
Beautiful accident prone lesbian Allegra meanwhile, definitely doesn’t need a man. She loves to fall in love. Quick fiery love that turns bad quickly before she moves on. She dumps a girl who steals one of her childhood secrets for a story (fair) then moves on to the doctor who treats her after she falls off a climbing wall. While Allegra enjoys these temporary romantic highs, Sylvia encourages her to work through her relationship issues instead of running at the first hurdle. But will she?
Then there’s Jocelyn who puts all her time and affection into her dogs and claims never to have been in love with a human man (understandable). When she meets Grigg there’s an undeniable chemistry though she’s trying to palm him off on Sylvia and he’s confused. She won’t read the books he recommends but he’s fallen in love with Austen – and will you just bloody bone already?! Will our potential love birds finally sort. it. out – or will they pass one another by?
And finally, stuck up Prudie with the excellent hair. God what a pain in the arse. Prudie breaks into sporadic bursts of French in conversation and dreams of Paris. She’s a French teacher (naturellement) who’s never been to France and she has bit of thing for one of her students. While her husband is something of a bonehead, Prudie fantasises about a burning desire that will consume her. And when she’s not doing that, she’s judging others and being mean to her obviously mentally ill mother. Prudie is not likeable in the least but when she finally makes a decision about her marriage, I actually cried. Like, you did the right thing, girlfriend.
So there it is, our six romantic fuck-ups, each to host a club evening and each responsible for one of Austen’s books. Will their personal issues eclipse the beauty of Jane’s stories or bring them all together?
Well, what do you think?
This is a lovely bit of fluff pretty much guaranteed to comfort you like a pair of old slippers, especially if you like the classics and Jane Austen herself. It makes me ashamed I’ve only read two of the six novels (Emma and P&P) but definitely makes me want to add them all to my Amazon wish list.
I think Blunt really stands out here as the not particularly pleasant Prudie, though I find it hard to accept she’s so close to giving up everything for that snotty oik Trey (Kevin Zegers). I get we fancy who we fancy but he’s so utterly dull I don’t get the attraction.
I’m also very much here for Bello and although I don’t resent her the romantic side story, I’d also have accepted her not bothering with a partner ever again. And I definitely wish Sylvia had told Jimmy Smits where to shove his sorry arse when he came crawling back but the message I know is that sometimes we work at relationships no matter how hard because we’re committed to them (à la Persuasion).
I loved it.
5/5. What would Jane do?