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.