Monday, 29 October 2007

The Jane Austen Book Club

I never read this book, this along with The Nanny Diaries must be one of the popular chick lit that I did not manage to get through. The idea of being part of a book club has always fascinated me; how do you decide who joins, what topics do you discuss, do you just talk about the book only and nothing else and do you socialise with the members outside of the book club or is that a complete no no. The Jane Austen Book Club is the tale of six members who meet up to discuss and debate books by the iconic author. Each member chooses a title that they will prepare a presentation on and coincidentally the book that the member selects happens to bear huge similarity to their own life. Founding member, Bernadette (Kathy Baker) is a hopeless romantic who despite six failed marriages has not given up on the idea of love. Her close friend, Jocelyn (Maria Bello formerly of ER) is a free spirit and independent woman who lives life to the full and takes pleasure out of match making even though her own personal life is void. Sylvia (Amy Brenneman from Judging Amy) is Jocelyn's best friend and is bought into the club after her husband of 25 years leaves her for another woman. Then there is her daughter, Allegra (Maggie Grace formerly of Lost) who only joins the club to support her mother but finds herself engrossed by the themes in Austen's books. Prudie (Emily Blunt from Devil Wears Prada) is a French teacher who has never been to France in a very unhappy marriage and uses the book club to fuel her loneliness and frustration. Grigg (Hugh Dancy) is a cute geek who takes a fancy to Jocelyn and joins the club to get to know her better but she is hellbent on setting him up with Sylvia.

This film is really enjoyable and exemplifies chick film at it's best. These characters are all very well developed and easy to relate to. While Bernadette is the key that holds the group together, it is Maria Bello's Jocelyn who is the main character in the film and the former ER star, simply sizzles in each scene. Amy Brenneman is great as the abandoned wife but she is way too young to play Maggie Grace's mother. Talking of Maggie Grace, the depiction of her character as a fun, gorgeous girl about town who happens to be a lesbian as opposed to the normal Hollywood mantra of a lesbian who has these qualities is welcomed with open arms. It is so great to see a gay character is a major film who just is what she or he is without a big hoo hah being made out of it. Robin Swicord takes the credit here for the wonderful work but then judging by her previous films it is no surprise that she came up with the goods. She is better known as a screenwriter where she penned Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Women, Matilda, The Perez Family and Practical Magic. The Jane Austen Book Clubs is a great and fun film that everyone should go out and see whether you are into Jane Austen or not.

The Jane Austen Book Club is released on Friday 16th November.

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