The BBC production of Miss Austen Regrets which showed last night in Australia was my third selection for the Everything Austen Challenge.
This movie focuses on the latter parts of Jane Austen's life - she is approaching the age of 40, is living with her elderly mother and adored sister, Cassandra and is in the process of finishing Emma and searching for a publisher for it when the movie begins. Jane's 20 year old niece, Fanny, is looking for the perfect husband and so enlists the support and assistance of "Aunt Jane" in her endeavours. As Jane and Fanny go over prospective husbands for the younger woman Jane reminisces on the past loves, flirtations and proposals of her own life and meets one or two possible suitors in the present time.
The script writer has said that she based her story on the surviving letters Jane sent to Cassandra and Fanny during this period and I thought she did a wonderful job of interpreting these letters into fiction.
The actress who played Jane, Olivia Williams (where have I seen her before??), was beautiful - she created an edgy, funny, moody and spirited Jane who I really enjoyed watching. I found a lot of her mannerisms and language to probably be a bit too modern for the moment she is meant to be living in but I still enjoyed watching.
The regrets of the title focus on Jane's thoughts about never having married - although I feel she may have had regrets about this at times (isn't it only human to have regrets about our choices in life at times?) I truly feel that her books and writing were her family and her passion and her true regret may only have really lay in having missed an opportunity to make her beloved family more comfortable which may have happened if she had chosen to marry. I thought the movie really captured the difficult situation Jane was forced into because of the time period in which she lived - her only "real" choice was to marry and become a wife and mother - a way of life that would have most probably ended her writing career which she so loved.
I spent a totally enjoyable hour and a half watching this show! Beautiful sets, costumes and photography added to the magic of the script for me. Do I think this is actually how things happened? No, but I enjoyed thinking it might have...
I now have 3 more selections left to read/watch in this challenge - do any of you have any selections that you think I should definitely add to my list?