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USA: Miramax Films
UK: Buena Vista International UK
Cast: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, Joe Anderson, Lucy Cohu, Laurence Fox, Ian Richardson, Anna Maxwell Martin, Leo Bill, Jessica Ashworth, Eleanor Methven, Michael James Ford, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Elaine Murphy, Guy Carleton, Russell Smith, Philip Culhane, Helen McCrory, Louise Marie Kerr, Sophie Vavassuer, Gina Costigan, Chris McHallem, Michael Patric, Tara Nixon O'Neill, Tom Maguire, Lynda Lee
Director: Julian Jarrold
Countries: UK / USA
USA & UK: 120 mins
USA Rated: PG for brief nudity and mild language (previously rated: PG-13 in 2006)
UK Certificate: PG contains mild sex references and scenes of boxing
USA Release Date: 3 August 2007
UK Release Date: 9 March 2007
"Affection is desirable, money is absolutely indispensable."
Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) lit up the world with her words, wit and wisdom. But her life too was stoked by passion and romance. At the age of 20 she met and fell in love with Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) and their relationship sparks a tale as real and romantic as her greatest work.
In English society of 1795 marrying for love was a fool's game. Money made this class-obsessed world go round. Mr and Mrs Austen (James Cromwell; Julie Walters), with their youngest daughter to wed, were only too aware of this. But their Jane is not for turning. Blessed with a feisty independent spirit the 20 year-old sees a world beyond that of class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice. She wants to marry for love.
Even so her parents want what is best for Jane - a wealthy, well-appointed husband. This could be Mr Wisley, nephew to the local aristocrat, the very formidable and very rich Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith). But despite their best efforts and intentions, Jane turns down all entreaties.
Then she meets the young Irishman Tom Lefroy. He is a trainee lawyer, visiting Hampshire from London, accompanied by Jane's brother, Henry. He is handsome and intelligent and poor. He also disdains the unsophisticated country folk. But this young rake finds more than he bargained for in the precocious talent and ferocious independence of Jane Austen. Increasingly their paths intersect. They cross verbal swords in the local wood, they dance at the assembly rooms ball, she outplays him at cricket and he gives her Tom Jones to read. They are falling in love.
But they are being watched. Jane's cousin Eliza and her sister, Cassandra warn her of the implications of the affair. Lady Gresham casts a cold eye while Mr Wisley hops and hopes. Tom's uncle, Judge Langlois (Ian Richardson) who has invested personally and financially in the future of his nephew and prodigy, is not going to see his investment frittered away and Mr and Mrs Austen vainly attempt to enlighten their dearest daughter.
The couple have to make a decision. Tom suggests they elope, the consequences of which are potentially catastrophic. Jane's family are not well-off and she is in danger of becoming destitute and shamed. Lefroy's family in Ireland are relying on him for their finance and their future. If they run away they stand to lose everything: family, friends and fortune. Are they ready to take that final step and offend the sense and sensibility of the Age?
BECOMING JANE, describes a pivotal liaison in Jane Austen's young life. It tells a tale of romance, intrigue and duty. It embraces family, friendship and fortune. It touches on goodness, greatness and genius. It is all about becoming Jane.