“Becoming Jane” is a movie (and book) that tells the love story of writer Jane Austen and lawyer Tom Lefroy, before Jane made a professional career of writing. The movie is set in 1795, when Jane was 20 years old. While watching the movie, you can see how the events in her life led to the ideas of her novels. Not much is known about Jane’s actual life, but this movie ties together evidence and creates an interesting story.
The movie, which was filmed in Dublin and used the city’s Georgian architecture, has beautiful scenery that features romantic scenes similar to other movie adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, such as Sense and Sensibility, but also used other images of the time, such as a boxing club. The movie was made to be as real looking as possible. Eve Stewart, the production designer, read about Austen’s life and a wide range of literature from the 1790s Regency England period. Because the decorative styles of the period were mostly for function, whitewash and simple colors were used on the set, as well as wallpaper, was becoming more common to all levels of society. Furniture was mostly basic wooden pieces with a few upholstered pieces. Stewart found the perfect set for the Austen family home in County Meath. Higginsbrook House, built in 1747, shows the manner in which the Austen family lived. Other Gothic inspired historic homes were used in the movie, including Kilruddery and Charleville Forest, as well as a church and other historic buildings.
The clothing shows that fashion was in a transitional time, with the more simple Empire style becoming popular. Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, the costume designer, explored Austen’s novels and letters for clues on colors and fabrics, as well as visited museums for inspiration. All of Jane’s clothing was made for the movie, so that the character of a strong, as well as pretty, girl could be conveyed. Men’s clothing was also realistic looking for the period, including showing the calves, which was considered sexy. The age and personality was considered for all characters.
I enjoyed every part of this movie, from the props, the story, and the actors. Visit becomingjane-themovie.com to watch a trailer of the film and learn more about the film (like I did!) through the special features.