A middle-aged woman praises a middle-aged cast

I finally got around to watching Miss Austen Regrets on DVD this weekend. It’s a depiction of the remarkable author of such novels as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice – my current favorite is actually Persuasion – a rather contested story among critics for its authenticity (or lack thereof) –

But there are several elements about this movie that I want to share.

Beforehand, however, let’s acknowledge that movies, being of finite duration, cannot include every event or person in the life of its subject; many important members of Jane’s family are omitted in this script, and it’s possible that those who are included must represent elements of others. A lengthy miniseries might do some justice to the story in its entirety; otherwise, I can recommend Parks’ biography to fill in a great many personal and generally historical gaps in the Austen history.

What makes me love this story as it was presented is that – first and foremost – the movie uses real, middle-aged actresses, with little or no makeup to disguise their age. Here is the lead character, Olivia Williams – a beautiful woman, but in a role that shows her crowsfeet and the lines around her mouth –

And here is the glamorous Greta Scacchi, looking anything but glamorous – but I’ve never thought her so beautiful:

I love the story because it shows a family facing real crises, and a famous woman looking back over her life and asking, “Did I make the right choices? or was I selfish?” – as I believe we do as we end one period of our life and enter another.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, do rent it. It’s quite enjoyable.

“I’ve done my share…”

That’s a comment that was made to me several years ago at choir practice. The particular topic, if it matters, was the financing of a Catholic school for our area’s children.

I don’t know why that conversation popped into my head tonight, but there came with it this thought:

There is no retiring from the Church Militant. Graduation, when the end of this life comes to us. Resignation – but the consequences of that are terrifying.

No, the only thing to do is to BE Church Militant for as long as God gives us breath, doing what we can do in our particular sphere.