Opening 4 Oct 2007
Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) becomes a character herself in a film loosely based on scant facts about her life. Jane met Thomas Langlois Lefroy (played by James McAvoy) during the Christmas holidays of 1795 at a ball. Jane was just starting to write what would later become Sense and Sensibility. Lefroy, at just twenty, was on his way back to London to practice law. Jane wrote to her sister Cassandra about her flirtation, and these few words fueled much speculation, some of which fires the plot for this film.
Tom is an intelligent, charming apprentice lawyer without a penny to his name. He enjoys boxing, drinking and womanizing, which cause his guardian uncle to send him to summer in the country as punishment. In his banishment he meets Jane, and the two of them spar with words until they find themselves unluckily in a love match. The uncle has great expectations that Tom will make a suitable marriage – meaning find a wealthy wife. Alas, Jane has no dowry, and she fully understands the limits of their social situations. Did the passion of true love lost inspire Jane to write so masterfully? Difficult to learn from such scant character development unfitting of such a brilliant writer, but Hathaway is so tearfully gorgeous in her heartbreak and McAvoy so damn charmingly handsome in doomed adoration that the real truth matters not one whit. (Mary Nyiri)