The Jane Austen Book Club (Blu-ray) (Widescreen) product details page

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The Jane Austen Book Club (Blu-ray) (Widescreen)

Emily BluntAmy BrennemanHugh Dancy

Director: Robin Swicord

rated: pg-13

- Sexual Situations, Profanity, Drug Content, Adult Situations

released: February 5, 2008

format: Blu-ray

Rating: Not rated: write a review
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In an era when appealing to the maximum number of demographics is paramount for box-office success, The Jane Austen Book Club wears its chick-flick status with unusual pride. Perhaps with a title like that, it was never going to fool anybody, but writer/director Robin Swicord's film has no problem being exactly what it is: a classically structured, tightly written multi-character romance intended for women. (And don't think the filmmakers less than savvy -- they knew that title would bring in both Austen fans and Oprah Winfrey fans.) If not for its relative obscurity -- it did not, after all, do well at the box office -- The Jane Austen Book Club might join movies like Beaches and Fried Green Tomatoes as pillars of the genre. While there is some amount of backhand in that compliment, the film really does work as a satisfying diversion, in part because it's eager to praise the intelligence of its audience, rather than treating them as indiscriminate genre enthusiasts. By structuring the film on a reading of Jane Austen's six novels over several months, Swicord is not merely providing intellectual window dressing -- she really does engage the themes of the novels, which her characters discuss eloquently. This isn't to say The Jane Austen Book Club is going to be confused for something deep, only that the characters are intelligent people worth caring about, and that life issues have an undeniable timelessness that's captured in our great literature. While no performances truly stand out, Emily Blunt makes an impression as a character much meeker and more likeable than the shrew she played in The Devil Wears Prada. Hugh Dancy is also charming as the book club's lone male member, the quirky and disarming hunk who certainly does help divert the film's target audience. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide

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