Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 9, 2007

All Kinds of Endings

Sometimes friends slide down the list of priorities partly because getting people together takes work. With schedules and friends far flung, nothing happens as easily as I did when I was kid, and we could sometimes wander down Jewett Rd. with a ball in hand and get together enough people for a game of kickball or shadow tag. But today was a marvelous exception, when with only a few phone calls last night and this rainy morning, I managed to pull together three old friends for lunch and a viewing of “Becoming Jane.”
Everything was lovely until the end of the movie, when, sitting a person away, I could feel the chill emanate from two of my friends. An awkward silence that turned into anti-silence by the parking lot, when C. said “It’s a good thing that so called hero isn’t around or I’d run him over with the car.” She could not believe she drove from Vermont to Connecticut for this ending, which I won’t give away, but did she think that the young woman called Miss Austen in the film, who wrote novels under Jane Austen, could have a biography tied up with “Reader, I married him.”? C. spoke for the age old feeling that since life is tough enough, why would you go to a movie to see worse.

Of course I didn’t see the movie that way. The hands of Anne Hathaway as Jane on a volume of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE – what could be more beautiful? So what that there was no ring on her finger. For me, the heart-thrumming, almost-Jaws-scary part of the movie was when an insulted Jane scanned her manuscripts with a wood fire burning inches away. NO!

But I left thinking of C’s long ride for a movie that left her metaphorically ready to ask for a refund. And how few of us get the level of honesty and morality and at least a taste of passion that the Jane character earned in the movie, and why shouldn’t that be enough?

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Responses

  1. I loved the movie.
    Real life does hold disappointments. That’s why so many books involve the words, “happily ever after.”
    I like the fact that Jane received her satisfaction and fulfillment from somewhere other than that one relationship. And, heck…who said she didn’t have a fulfilling relationship…or two? A movie can’t cover EVERY aspect of someone’s life. 😉

  2. I haven’t gotten to see it yet. Hopefully soon! I’m ready to suspend fact for watching Anne H. as Jane!

  3. great post–i think a book or a movie needs to end in a way that stays true to your characters and your story–as far as ms. austin goes, the fact that she never married probably lends that wistful romantic quality to her novels–and what? they were supposed to end it with her riding off into the sunset and change history? come on now. =)

  4. good point, julie–marriages aren’t the only fullfilling relationships out there (although i treasure mine of course. ) =)

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. I loved the movie and pointed out to my friend her happy relationship with her sister and not-bad relationships with the rest of her family, the woods, her writing. But some people it just seems to have to True Love, even if Anne H. as Jane put it in her clear-headed Jane-ish way — this love that can destroy your family financially is going to end up as not a great love. But, hey, my friends and I had a great talk about it all and the images linger, so a most succesful movie. I have dreams my daughter will watch with me once it’s on DVD. She is also a fan of true love, but has a few realistic bones.

  6. You will love it. I thought I’d have to have more suspension than I did. As someone who plays with biography, it was interesting to see how they took a little footnote — Jane meets guy — from her life and blew it up into an hour and half drama.

  7. Heidi, I love how you put that — her Jane never marrying gives the wistful romantic quality that we married ones might have to lift our eyebrows about, think, yeah, right.
    And I, too, don’t mind a bit of shifting of history, but NO fake sunsets to ride into.

  8. Stepping away from fact and letting fiction take over! That became a point of discussion yesterday on that “Writing History” panel I was on.

  9. Wonderful post. My daughter and I loved the movie. We thought the end was somewhat sad, but in a good way 🙂 and we expected the sadness, too, knowing the writers wouldn’t change Jane’s story THAT much. The ending also got us talking about whether Jane’s personal fulfillment as a writer (and her books being available to all of us) was worth the sacrifice of her romantic happiness. (We both felt it was.) But the main thing is that the movie led to that mother/daughter discussion, which was wonderful.

  10. thanks. =)

  11. Jenny, how great that you got to see this with your daughter, and how marvelous your daughter found Jane’s sacrifice worth it. My daughter just left home for college, and my fantasy is that sometime we can see this on DVD. But I don’t know if she’d vote with us. Before she went away, we went through old stuff, among them first grade yearbook when her aspiration was to be a waitress. At the time, I knew she though that looked a whole lot more fun than sitting at a computer. Her aspirations have changed, but the writing thing still doesn’t hold a big lure.


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