Jane Austen Book Club, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker, Amy Brennerman, Jimmy Smits, Hugh Dancy. Romantic drama. Written & directed by Robin Swicord.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships -- both old and new -- begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I used to get my hair cut in a womans salon. Know what I discovered? Woman discuss sex a whole lot more than men do. Not that we boys are angels. We tend to look at things more than we should. But the ladies have got us beat when it comes to lengthy and colorful conversings about the opposite sex. And depending on how secular the group, the verbiage can become distinctly graphic. Ironically, the women gathered in this production are unrestricted when it comes to sexual activity, either in speech or action, despite the fact that their favorite author was more ladylike in her expression of the loving war between men and women. Oh, Ms. Austen was talking about the subject as well, just under the coverage of literate exposition. I suppose if the author lived now, she would be just as corrupted by this generations I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar explicitness, leaving her talent overshadowed by more abrasive expression. And that would be a shame as it would take away from the poetry of her work. No matter how well written love stories of today are, their bold, uncensored descriptions keep them in the realm of prickly prose, while authors of the past dealt with such themes in a more poetic, gentle manner.

This film has talented women populating the story, and the screenplay delves into relationships, making sure to point out that men are beasts and dullards, but God bless us, we have our good points, too. The artistic nature in me enjoyed the film, as expressions of the human makeup were handled without the special effects department or things that go boom. Now, I like things that go boom, but when you make your living watching movies these days, thats the majority of what you get to see things that go boom. And Ill be honest. I like looking at Maria Bello. Now, thats what I call a special effect.

Here, the dialogue is erudite and witty, if sometimes sugary, the blending of the different narratives nicely done, and the ladies are lovely. But if you are offended by the portrait of lesbianism, be warned, one character, the daughter of a divorcing couple, is very young and very gay. Whats more, she manages to attract every other attractive gay woman in the state. There are a few intimate scenes between this character and her lovers, though there are no sexual gyrations depicted.

DVD Alternatives: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Classics Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: The women discuss sex an marital relationships with a morality that doesnt seem to include biblical instruction. One woman has married six times. And several others make it clear that sex outside of marriage is acceptable.

Obscene Language: One use of the f-word and the b-word is heard two or three times in anger.

Profanity: Jesus is uttered twice at hearing of the death of an acquaintance.

Violence: A young woman is injured from a fall, but not badly.

Sex: Its discussed, but rarely shown. There are several intimate moments between two lesbians, but no graphic sexual situations.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several sexual discussions.

Drugs: An older woman, not all that steady in the head, smokes a joint. This her daughter does not approve of. Lots of social drinking.

Other: An adulterous affair is portrayed, but there is also forgiveness and restoration. Another marriage looks as if it will be destroyed by adultery, but the ending is positive as the two work together to save their relationship.

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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