Jane Austen Book Club, The (2007): Robin Swicord’s Directing Debut

Toronto Film Fest 2007–Robin Swicord, best known for her screenplay adaptations of “Little Women,” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” makes a feature directorial debut with the right text, The Jane Austen Book Club, based on Karen Joy Fowler’s 2004 best-selling novel of the same title.

A chick flick from a chick lit Jane Austen must be going through some kind of revival in American cinema, TV, and pop culture. Over the past decade, there have been U.K. and American-made movies of her novels, such as Persuasion and Pride & Prejudice, and this season alone, we saw Becoming Jane, a biopic of the young Austen starring Anne Hathaway, and now Swicords film, which premiered at Toronto Film Fest and Sony Classics will release September 21.

What makes Austens work so adaptable and relevant to modern viewers Jane Austens six published books are about the complexities of marriage, friendship, romantic entanglements, class positions, and social manners and mores at the turn of the 1800s. With the exception of a more rigid social hierarchy and pronounced class distinctions, her themes speak to contemporary audiences.

Though confirmed by the studios marketing departments, I think its offensive to describe the above issues as particularly relevant to women, as if men are not preoccupied with (or are above and beyond) courtship, love, and marriage, but thats a subject for a broader sociological discussion.

But within those parameters, theres considerable audience for such femme-driven fare, as was evident with the Oscar nominated Little Women and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility. As in the past, strong critical support and favorable word-of-mouth are crucial variables for putting over this heartfelt tale in the ever-competitive marketplace

Fowlers book, and Swicords skillfully faithful rendition of it, are based on a literary conceit that some critics may find too gimmicky. An attractive ensemble of actresses, who are cast as present-day friends, establish a book club solely devoted to Austen and examine in a serio-comic way the tangled relationships of their lives through the perspective of Austens literary heroines. They just want to escape the harsh reality of their lives only to realize that literature might be more helpful than credited.

This strategy might lead to believe that familiarity with Austens sources is a necessary condition to understand the film, but it is not. However, knowledge of Austens work might increase the joy of watching a film that takes pride in the literary quality of its dialogue. In this respect, Jane Austen Book Club is both an old-fashioned and fresh film, because it has not been done in a while.

Six is the texts organizing principle and magical number. There are six book club members, six Austen books, six interwoven stories, and they take place over a period of six months in modern Sacramento, California’s capital that combines both urban and suburban attributes, thus perfectly fitting as background for the unfolding messy lives.

While the contemporary yarns parallel the Austen plots, with the characters finding similarities, prophecies, warnings and wisdoms about their own journeys in Austens narratives, they also leave some room for individual interpretation. Rather than slavishly imitate the books strands, the sagas are inspired and suggested by them.

Central figure is Bernadette (Kathy Baker), a wise free spirit, who has been married (as you guessed) six times. Single in her 50s, shes a supportive friend, and amazingly calm amidst the turbulent lives around her. Bernadette is also resourceful: Its her idea to congregate her friends in an All-Austen-All-The-Time book club, because, as she says, who better than Jane Austen to cure what ails the world Occasionally, Bernadettes literary remarks reveal wistful hopes that love is not completely out of reachnot yet.

Contrasted with the multi-timed married Bernadette is Jocelyn (Maria Bello), a single woman who claims shes never been really in loveexcept with her champion Rhodesian Ridgeback, Pridey, a faithful companion of a bunch of dogs she breeds on her country ranch. Jocelyns immediate problem is how to come to terms with the grief and void caused by her dogs death; for the funeral, she brings a priest and a cellist. Like Bernadette, she needs a creative outlet, a distraction. Appearances are deceiving as Jocelyn seems fragile, but she could be confident and energetic. When called for, she can be bossy too, and in due time, she becomes the clubs driving engine.

Jocelyns long-time friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) shares some past events: The two dated the same guy back in high school, Daniel (Jimmy Smits). A lawyer, Daniel has been married to Sylvia for two decades, and they have three (half than six!) children. Sylvias problem is how to deal with adultery: Informed by her hubby about his love for another woman, a co-worker, Sylvia is devastated and shocked, being unaware of any marital discord. For his part, seeking renewal, Daniel needs a fresh relationship to replace the stale one.

In her twenties, Sylvia and Daniels pretty daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) initially joins the club to support her mom. Both romantically and professionally confused, Allegra has moved back into her home to keep mom company. While sporty (she skydives, kayaks, and climbs rocks) and easy-going, Allegra also has penchant for passion and melodrama. Allegra is one character that couldnt have existed in Austens book–or times. Shes openly and comfortably lesbian, but for now, she decides to conceal her orientation from her mother.

Prudie (played by the almost unrecognizable Emily Blunt, who made an impression in The Devil Wears Prada) is a neurotic high school French teacher whos never been to France. Her issue: how to cope with husband Deans (Marc Blucas) sudden cancellation of their long-waited vacation in Paris due to business conflicts. Handsome and loving, Dean may be too much of a jock, an average Joe, seemingly mismatched for his wifes intellectual and emotional aspirations.

The source of Prudies neediness is her eccentric mother Sky (Lynn Redgrave), an aging, irresponsible hippie pothead that almost drives her vulnerable daughter to a risky affair with a flirtatious high-school senior Trey (Kevin Zegers). (Not to worry, this story line doesnt escalate into the hysterical melodramatics of Notes on a Scandal). When Bernadette accidentally meets Prudie, she immediately recognizes her fragility and neediness, and takes her under her wings, as new member of the book club.

The sixth and final member has the distinction of being a male, Grigg (played by Hugh Dancy, who was the center of the romantic triangle in Evening), a geek techie in his 30s whom Jocelyn meets in the elevator, when her dogs convention uses the same hotel as his sci-fi conference. Listening to her head (but not heart), Jocelyn sees Grigg as potential companion for Sylvia, disregarding the fact that Grigg, despite being shy and self-effacing, is attracted to her.

The tale unfolds as a series of monthly meetings. Each month, the group discusses one of Austens novels at Jocelyns old farmhouse, or Sylvias comfy home. At times, they convene at Griggs new suburban tract house, which is yet another way in which the urbs and burbs blend, rather than conflict, in this movie. Members also congregate at Starbucks caf, in a hospital room, and even outdoors, in a beach outing that honors one of Austens locales.

Episodic and fractured by nature, narrative achieves greater uniformity through its dominant motif. As writer and director, Swicord never lets us forget that Austens work is the meaningful thread running through the femmes intersecting lives. Against this thread, the women play out their sorrows and joys, frustrations but also pleasures, such as the dissolution of Sylvias marriage but also the emergence of her new persona. Other subplots involve Allegras lack of caution in daredevil sports and love; she falls for Corinne (Parisa Fitz-Henley), an aspiring writer.

There are enough dilemmas for various movie viewers to get involved. Prudie must figure out how to be a more mature married person or go for an illicit fling. And new hobbies and literary tastes also emerge during those meetings. The snobbish Jocelyn is initially reluctant to accommodate Grigg and read his literature of choice, Ursula LeGuins sci-fi.

Some of the parallels between the protagonists’ lives and those of Austen’s heroines are forced and obvious, but thats a minor complaint. And as admirably detailed as the characters are, and as sharp as the dialogue is, there is the problem of neat conclusions, of tidying up all narrative strands and messy problems in a sweet yet contrived mode. You cant blame Swicord as she follows Austen to the letter. All of Austens books conclude on happy, harmonious notes, with marriage, friendship, finding ones identity and place in society, and so on.

Swicord has said that she sees her movie as a new millennium, a twenty-first century version of an Austen novel, with club members going through romantic hopes and disappointments, consolations and misunderstandings–the infinite complications of modern life.

Hence, in the midst of divorce, Sylvia has the misfortune of leading the discussion of Austens Mansfield Park, a novel replete with broken alliances, romantic disillusionment, marital discords, and adultery. Sylvia criticizes Patricia Rosemas 1999 movie of Masnfield Park as distorting the original. When Sylvia breaks down in tears during the club discussion, a friend says, Reading Jane Austen is a freaking minefield.

Technically speaking, the production has the proper soft if conventional look, but the movie is not about images, sounds, and effects, but about conversations that are consistently laced with sharp insight and perceptive humor. At one point, a traffic light signals: What would Jane do

Its so rare to see a film with so many crisp delineations of female figures, that whether chick flick or not, Swicord deserves credit for writing parts and casting them with wonderfully modest actresses, such as Brenneman, Blunt, Baker, and Bello.


Bernadette – Kathy Baker
Jocelyn – Maria Bello
Prudie – Emily Blunt
Sylvia – Amy Brenneman
Grigg – Hugh Dancy
Allegra – Maggie Grace
Sky – Lynn Redgrave
Daniel – Jimmy Smits
Dean – Marc Blucas
Trey – Kevin Zegers
Corinne – Parisa Fitz-Henley
Samantha – Gwedoline Yeo
Cat – Nancy Travis


Sony Pictures Classics release of a John Calley/Robin Swicord production in association with Mockingbird Pictures.
Produced by John Calley, Julie Lynn, Diana Napper.
Executive producer: Marshall Rose.
Co-producer: Kelly Thomas.
Directed, written by Robin Swicord, based on the novel by Karen Joy Fowler.
Camera: John Toon.
Editor: Maryann Brandon.
Music: Aaron Zigman; music supervisor, Barklie Griggs.
Production designer: Rusty Smith.
Art director: Sebastian Schroder.
Set decorator: Meg Everist.
Costume designer: Johnetta Boone.
Sound: Peter Devlin.

MPAA rating: PG-13.
Running time: 105 Minutes.

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88