Monday, February 4, 2008

I would write only the BEST novels

Did you watch MPT's Jane Austen biopic last night? You know, instead of the new House episode? I have to say, it was a close call, and basically I only went for Austen because I knew you, the Internet, would expect to hear my opinion. Except, of course, for those certain male members of my family.

Miss Austen Regrets was a revelation for me, in the fact that for some reason I imagined Austen as a Emily Dickinson type....you know, a lady getting up there in years, never married, holeing herself away to write... But apparently I was wrong. Jane was a big flirt! And very comfortable in society! And had friends!

According to the biopic, anyway. Her biography doesn't fill in quite so much. Which is fine with me - as long as I know which aspects were true and which were filled in, I'm a happy reader. I mean, viewer.

The major parts that were filled in were her unrequited romance with a married man, and her flirtatious personality. It is true that she accepted a weathly suitor's proposal only to refuse him the next day. And apparently that was the inspiration for her flirations with other "gorgeous young men".

Olivia Williams portrays Jane Austen - and what I liked about her is that she not only looked her age (40) she also looked much younger when she was happy, and much older when unhappy. She had a hard time convincing me that Austen was truly happy being unmarried, especially since this biopic focuses so much on the latter part of her life, when her family is in desperate need of money that her marriage could have provided.

Fun Fact: Olivia Williams also is in MPT's Emma (March 23rd), but it was filmed 10 years ago...it will be interesting to see if she has changed. That role was her first "major" role...and after that she was in The Postman with Kevin Costner and The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis. Not bad!

I liked the biopic...but really wish that Miss Austen herself would have given an interview or two, or that she would have written an memoir, or that her sister wouldn't have burnt quite so many letters. But sometimes I think our favorite writers from the past capture our imagination precisely because we DON'T know every fact about them. They become another character - we can fill in the unknown with our own preferences...and that writer whose works we love becomes almost an idealised reflection of ourselves. "If I were to write, I would write like _____ - she/he seems so much like me!"

3 comments:

CPJ said...

I hate to admit it but I paused on PBS for a second last night, but only because it is the only station I get in HD.

Noel said...

"House" did look good, but it was based on the real situation of the base doctor having breast cancer a few years ago. It is also a common scenario on shows about the upcoming two year mission to Mars. Telemedicine is a hot research area, but I'm not quite ready to have surgery via the internet.

We were sorely disappointed by the Patriots loss, but the Giants certainly earned the win. We switched our TVs to PBS at 9:05. I joined MPT, already in progress, after 10 PM and relied on Wikipedia to get me caught up. It's hard for me to enjoy movies anymore without "double screening".

Aaron said...

We totally went to bed after the Superbowl.