...I'd consider it neglectful of me if I failed to mention that I finally saw the DVD of The Jane Austen Book Club this weekend. Quite enjoyable!
Yes, I should've seen the film in the theaters back in the fall. In fact, I'd fully intended to. But life happens and, by the time I could swing a free weekend afternoon, I'd missed my chance.
I'd read the Karen Joy Fowler novel it was based up some years back and found it, well...an interesting, if not wholly enjoyable, experience. I immediately loved the premise: 5 women and 1 man get together once a month to discuss each of Jane's 6 published books, but the real drama enfolds when the characters aren't at their book club, and certain Austen-centric issues appear in these characters' lives and relationships. However, Fowler presented to readers a few characters whose attitudes and personal journeys somehow depressed me, despite a terrific setup and the cleverness of the narrative. The film succeeded in softening these aspects of the story (in 2 out of 3 cases, anyway) and, as a result, the ironic/comedic elements were able to bloom onscreen for me a bit better than in the novel.
I'm a fan enough of drama when the author's intent is to craft a serious work. But, if someone's going to bill a production as a comedy, hadn't it best come across as funny and have the requisite happy ending? Well, that's my bias. So, to her credit, I thought the film's screenwriter and director (Robin Swicord) managed this task rather well and--for me--she improved upon the book. Watching the adorable Hugh Dancy onscreen didn't hurt one bit, either.