The Jane Austen Book Club

I didn’t think I needed The Jane Austen Book Club in my life. Hollywood has taught me that movies based on book clubs just don’t really feel cinematic. But I saw that it was early (2007) Emily Blunt and I was tired of searching for something better, so I settled.

Lesson #1: trust your instincts.

Jocelyn (Maria Bello) has just lost her best friend and life partner, who happened to be a dog. Some may think the funeral is a little over the top, but Jocelyn’s grief is real, and her friends have gathered round to help her through a difficult time – only Sylvia’s husband MV5BMjMzNDc0MTI4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTAxMzc3._V1_Daniel (Jimmy Smits) can’t seem to keep the snide comments to himself. Turns out, that’s not the only thing he can’t keep to himself as he soon confessed to Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), devoted wife of a quarter century, mother of his children, that he’s seeing another woman and that leaving the other woman is non-negotiable. So. Jocelyn sets aside her own grief to take care of her flailing friend. Sylvia’s daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) moves back in so she’s not alone and pal Bernadette (Kathy Baker) has the genius idea to establish a Jane Austen book club to provide a distraction. Since there are 6 novels to discuss, they’re in need of 2 more members. Bernadette brings aboard Prudie (Emily Blunt), an unfulfilled French teacher yearning for more than this provincial life, and Jocelyn recruits a young man and virtual stranger, Grigg (Hugh Dancy), as perhaps bait to liven up Sylvia’s gloomy divorce.

You can already tell that the book club is mostly an excuse to bitch about men (and women), and then we occasionally follow the women home to watch them make their various mistakes in real time, which is charming. Hint: that was sarcasm. The ensemble work between the women is actually pretty good but it’s an otherwise formulaic, sentimental, maudlin piece of crap pushed by Big Kleenex to turn women into weepies. Plus, it can’t help but be compared unfavourably to the Austen works discussed in the film. And that they should have seen coming.

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11 thoughts on “The Jane Austen Book Club

  1. kmabarrett

    LoL. My review was “kinder” than yours. I believe this was my first “book club” theme review. Come to think of it, I don’t know of any other book club movies. I enjoyed the bits where they actually reviewed the books. The rest of the movie was pretty standard fare for a non-com rom-com. All in all, I felt it was moderately entertaining.

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  2. ninvoid99

    I liked this film as it introduced me to Ursula K. LeGuin and play into the many themes of Austen and what she means to readers. It also gave me a great performance from Emily Blunt who was the one character that I really cared about.

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  3. selizabryangmailcom

    Sounds boringly standard.
    Abrupt but related segue: I’m reading a book called Longbourne which focuses on the servants of “Pride and Prejudice” in the Bennet house. A beautifully written story. Oddly engaging considering it’s just about “the help.” But a million times more interesting than this movie, I think, going on Jay’s summary.

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