The Jane Austen Book Club–Movie Review

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3 Stars
In recent years there have been several movies that tried to relate Jane Austen to the modern world. Sometimes Austen stories have been retold in a modern setting. Examples include Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Of course there are alternate approaches such as Mansfield Park as Jane Austen would have written it if she had had the advantage of my enlightened modern perspective”.

The Jane Austen Book Club, takes a different approach. It doesn’t attempt to retell a Jane Austen story (thus depriving me of the opportunity to make invidious comparisons between the movie and the original.) Instead it tries to show the effects of Jane Austen on the modern world, or at least on six people who decide to read all of her novels in the space of six months.

The result is reasonable light entertainment, often funny and sometimes charming. The movie’s greatest weakness it that it depends a lot on the audience being familiar with Austen’s work. If you are a Jane Austen fan you will probably like the movie. If you are not, it may not make much sense to you.

(This is in contrast to the movies I mentioned in the first paragraph, all of which can be enjoyed by people who have never heard of Jane Austen, and for one of which that might be an advantage.)