During my late teenager years, I have come to the conclusion the dramas I had in my daily life were nothing compared to Jane Austen´s heroins ones. Plus, If I was not able to enter Law School, at least I could read Mansfield Park and Persuasion, entirely, in its original versions.
But now, watching this movie that wrongly summarizes most of romantic events of Jane Austen´s life within only one year (which is not absolutely true, although perfectly fits their theather tickets selling goals), it comes to mind, had she gone with Thomas LeFroy, the Irish friend mentioned in many of her letters adressed to her sister/best friend Cassandra, would many of her fantastic characters still exist to wipe the tears away of so many brokenhearted girls as well as decribe the penalties of society upon unmarried, not-lucky-enough-to-have-a -decent-dowry gals?
One of the most dramatic scenes happens when Jane is packing her few belongings to run away with Tom, and her sister, anguished, asks her, “Jane, if you go with him, when will you write?”, which is the only argument that makes her doubt. Eventually, she must give the entirely idea up, based on the fields that her happines shall never be complete as long as it will also leave his family unprotected and vulnerable to be forsaken by LeFroy´s patriarch to further misery and poverty.
Also, we have a female self steem strike when the wealthy aunt of her so-called fiancé insults Jane in front of all her family refusing to attend Mass (Jane Austen´s father was a clergyman) for the indecent presence of a girl who had “no family, no money and no importance”, for what she bravely answers, “I have a family, money I can earn by myself and importance must be determined by other people, based on concepts you are unable to understand “, which brings tears to my eyes a thousand times more than any fictional passionate plot, as the most admirable outcry of a woman/writer/thinking human being against a hypocrite, double stardard, prejudgmental society. Oh, and I must add, unlike many English female writers, did not cover herself beyond a male mask – Jane Austen intentionally signed her books with her own name or with the design “written by a lady”.
Jane Austen´s discreet, elegant irony, her extremely subtile care upon each word, each line, has always delighted me as a reader, but, as an amateur writer, I can hardly be ambitious enough to dream ever having the cynical yet hopeful (seems contradiction but is actually complex ambivalency) pen she uses. She delivers any offense wrapped withing a velvet and silk language, as well as praises her characters without any vain flattering, using sober, modest qualifications that simply make your heart melt. Jane Austen was true, pure, simple – nevertheless, she is never, at any moment, shallow. In the depths of her novels we can find universal and atemporal human drama, existencial issues, capitalism conflicts, and more.
Watch this movie – you´re about to wish there was never a happy ending possible, if the consequence of it was the absence of Emma, Elizabeth Bennet, Fanny Pride and the sisters Dashwood.