The Jane Austen Book Club (Film) Review

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Since Sunday was a complete and literal wash-out with torrential rain all day and even snow in some places in the country, there was no feasible way to leave the house.

So nice food was purchased, PJs were thrown on and this film was put on the box. And it was perfect in every way. I’m reliably informed that the weather was no better over on Jillian’s side of the pond, which makes me feel even happier. Cosy days ftw.

Annnywaaaay… to week 3 of Free for All Month!

*Spoilers*

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

IMDB Synopsis

Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships — both old and new — begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.

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Any excuse to post pictures of this hair cut

My Review

Six time divorcee Bernadette (Kathy Baker) meets stick-up-her-arse Prudie (Emily Blunt) at a Jane Austen film festival one afternoon and an idea is born – The Jane Austen Book Club. Six books, six club members and a whole lot of chat is what is envisioned – that it will cheer up Prudie, whose husband has just cancelled their planned trip to Paris is a bonus, and the very reason she agrees to Bernadette’s plan at all.

B figures it will also be just the tonic for her recently dumped friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) and recently bereaved (from a dog) friend Jocelyn (Maria Bello). Throw in Sylvia’s wilful daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) and a hot young man picked up by Jocelyn in a bar (Hugh Dancy) and we have our special six.

Sci-fi nerd Grigg, the hottie from the bar, has never read a word of Austen but Jocelyn figures maybe he’ll give depressed Sylvia a much needed confidence boost now her husband of many years has chucked her for another woman, who doesn’t even have the decency to be younger. Grrrrrr.

Each of our club members has their own issues, some of which mirror Austen’s subject matter beautifully. Bernadette just loves the romance of falling in love and being married, and despite six failed marriages is up for a seventh if the opportunity presents itself.

Sylvia is devastated when Daniel (Jimmy Smits) unceremoniously calls time on their long-term marriage because all the sneaking around isn’t fair on his mistress. ON HIS MISTRESS. He wants to quit while they’re ahead and before they hate one another. Shame he’s such a toad then really. Slowly but surely however, Sylvia does what us women do best, she picks herself, dusts herself down and realises that all men are rubbish (sort of). But seriously, she does start to change for the better and it’s glorious. Will the couple work out their differences when Jimmy Smits inevitably realises his huge mistake? Hmm.

Beautiful accident prone lesbian Allegra meanwhile, definitely doesn’t need a man. She loves to fall in love. Quick fiery love that turns bad quickly before she moves on. She dumps a girl who steals one of her childhood secrets for a story (fair) then moves on to the doctor who treats her after she falls off a climbing wall. While Allegra enjoys these temporary romantic highs, Sylvia encourages her to work through her relationship issues instead of running at the first hurdle. But will she?

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“Excuse me miss, do you know where they keep Bitch Planet?”

Then there’s Jocelyn who puts all her time and affection into her dogs and claims never to have been in love with a human man (understandable). When she meets Grigg there’s an undeniable chemistry though she’s trying to palm him off on Sylvia and he’s confused. She won’t read the books he recommends but he’s fallen in love with Austen – and will you just bloody bone already?! Will our potential love birds finally sort. it. out – or will they pass one another by?

And finally, stuck up Prudie with the excellent hair. God what a pain in the arse. Prudie breaks into sporadic bursts of French in conversation and dreams of Paris. She’s a French teacher (naturellement) who’s never been to France and she has bit of thing for one of her students. While her husband is something of a bonehead, Prudie fantasises about a burning desire that will consume her. And when she’s not doing that, she’s judging others and being mean to her obviously mentally ill mother. Prudie is not likeable in the least but when she finally makes a decision about her marriage, I actually cried. Like, you did the right thing, girlfriend.

So there it is, our six romantic fuck-ups, each to host a club evening and each responsible for one of Austen’s books. Will their personal issues eclipse the beauty of Jane’s stories or bring them all together?

Well, what do you think?

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Reading is hot

My Thoughts

This is a lovely bit of fluff pretty much guaranteed to comfort you like a pair of old slippers, especially if you like the classics and Jane Austen herself. It makes me ashamed I’ve only read two of the six novels (Emma and P&P) but definitely makes me want to add them all to my Amazon wish list.

I think Blunt really stands out here as the not particularly pleasant Prudie, though I find it hard to accept she’s so close to giving up everything for that snotty oik Trey (Kevin Zegers). I get we fancy who we fancy but he’s so utterly dull I don’t get the attraction.

I’m also very much here for Bello and although I don’t resent her the romantic side story, I’d also have accepted her not bothering with a partner ever again. And I definitely wish Sylvia had told Jimmy Smits where to shove his sorry arse when he came crawling back but the message I know is that sometimes we work at relationships no matter how hard because we’re committed to them (à la Persuasion).

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Pretty much my dream scenario

I loved it.

My Rating

5/5. What would Jane do?

What does Wifey think about this one? Would she consider it a classic or dump it instead? Find out here.

The Girl on the Train (Film) Review

A mini-film review today, which is my third in a week. I’m not a particularly good reviewer let’s face it but I do enjoy getting my thoughts down, keeping track of what I’ve been watching and ruining plots for the rest of you (kidding).

I also enjoyed this film, which seems to have been getting mixed reviews as far as I can see. I don’t really understand the negativity to be honest but that might be because I entered the theatre with low expectations and a sub-par cinema hotdog, and one of those things was much better than anticipated.

And to top it off, a (cute) guy kicked over my (small) popcorn before the film started and then kindly replaced it with the biggest box you can buy so it was a score all round. 

To my thoughts!

*Will try not to *Spoiler* but just in case*

girl_on_the_trainThe Girl on the Train (2016)

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans

IMDB Synopsis: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.  

My Thoughts:

Fans of the Paula Hawkins‘ novel on which this film is based should come out feeling satisfied that, at least, the story doesn’t veer too far from the original tracks (!).

Apart from a couple of little details and a relocation from grey old London to the surrounding suburbs of New York City, it’s bang on. I didn’t get this feeling from the trailer and was a little wary that they’d messed with the plot. They haven’t.

As mysteries go, The Girl on the Train is okay. Not the best ever but it’s up there. I think it contains themes that could resonate with a lot of people. It centers around a woman called Rachel, who has lost her husband, her job and her home and is now not holding it together terribly well. As the tale unravels we learn exactly what derailed our titular character and it would be difficult not to sympathise.

Rachel’s ex husband is now living with his new partner and their new baby in Rachel’s old home. The couple live a few doors down from Megan and her husband Scott. Rachel doesn’t know Megan or Scott but she is obsessed with them, forming an attachment to the perfect couple she sees from the window of the train as she passes on the way to work every morning and evening.

Megan in particular represents everything Rachel used to be and has the perfect life she should of had. Her focus when she passes by is on Megan and Scott, and determinedly not on her old house.

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TFW you totally get on the fast train by mistake
Of course we all people watch and make up our own minds about people, perfect or not, and we can never know really what’s going on behind closed doors. As it goes, there’s a lot Rachel doesn’t know but is about to find out. Thankfully, we’re along for the ride too.

I won’t delve too deep only to say that enigmatic Megan goes missing and Rachel may or may not hold the key to what happened to her, if only she hadn’t been so drunk on the night of her disappearance and could remember. (Been there). Something she saw a few days earlier might also help the investigation, but who’s going to believe a sad drunk?

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Same
Emily Blunt is incredible in this role, carrying the film from good to great and I lived for her scenes. Technically we have three female protagonists; Anna, Megan and Rachel and they’re all good but Blunt stands head and shoulders above the others.

These characters, despite appearances to the contrary, share significant similarities, another comment on the veneer of the perfect life and how not everything is always as it seems. I feel like this film is deeply female, subtly twisting perception and sympathy towards a group of women who have been let down and manipulated for too long.

I got very angry and shaken as the tale unfolded even as I knew how it ended. It’s violent and angry without being unnecessarily graphic and it made me feel queasy at times. Blunt choked me up a good few times ~ there’s a scene where she’s drunkenly ranting in a public bathroom that got me like 💔 and made me personally reflect on my own past experiences.

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“Not without my baby!” (Wrong film, love)
I really liked it.

I don’t know if I preferred the film to the book. Perhaps. I think Blunt played Rachel well but I can’t say she was how I pictured her. I don’t think I had a template for any of the characters in my head. Rachel is supposed to be a steaming hot mess because of her drinking and Blunt certainly does drunk well but she’s still gorgeous, flushed face, chapped lips and all. But I guess it’s more about how this character sees herself. In which case, she couldn’t have been better. It contrasts so well with Anna’s Stepford blonde and pastel aesthetic.

Leaving it here now but yes, colour me impressed. And a little more over men than usual.

Have you seen it, what did you think? ❤