Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jane Austen -- finally I understand the hype!

I've been hearing for years how much everyone loves Jane Austen's books, but I had never read them. Now, I have still not read them, but I have finally watched three related movies: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Becoming Jane.

I absolutely loved these movies, although I loved Becoming Jane the least. Since that movie is about a fictional version of her life, I guess it shows that she was better at creating good stories than the writers for her pseudo-biography. For Sense & Sensibility though, I watched it twice in 2 days, which is something I very rarely do with movies. I would have happily done the same with Pride & Prejudice if I had the time when I rented it.

These movies really entertain me because they are not only interesting, but they also create a tangled mess of relationships that is slowly sorted out by the end. Of course I had my suspicions on how everyone would end up, but I could not have guessed the paths that would lead them there. The characters were extremely engaging, most likely due to how different they were from each other (both female and male characters). There were also strong female characters, who always keep me engaged. As far as movies based on love lives of a group of people go, these are much deeper than most newer movies.

If you haven't seen these movies, I definitely recommend that you at least see Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility. After you have watched them, if you are hungry for the same type of movie, then by all means watch Becoming Jane, but don't expect as intertwined of a plot as exists with the other two.


Tim said...

I felt like the moral of pride and prejudice was "if you are rich, you can make everything work out". Everything that Mr. Darcy does to win Lizzie's love is only possible because of his great wealth (bribing the other guy to marry the sister, impressing her with his huge home and art collection, etc). It seemed to me that an evil rich man could have done the exact same things, and presumably Lizzie still would have fallen in love with him. The only thing going for darcy as a person is his sister's clear respect for him, ortherwise it was all about the money!

Megan said...

I disagree, I think it is much deeper than that. Everything that Mr. Darcy actually does to win Lizzy's love is quite successful, the problem is that he had too much pride initially to treat her with enough respect. His pride made him convince Bingley not to marry her sister, which was the main offense that kept her from accepting his first proposal. However, once Lizzy learns more about why he did many of the things he did in his past (like his supposed cheating of Mr. Wickham), she does not dislike him as much. Part of the reason she disliked him is that she had been mislead in her knowledge of him. Darcy's sister is one way we see that his is truly a caring person, but just appears brash to strangers.

Overall, I think the moral of the story is closer to the fact that money does not dictate one's end happiness. Sure, Darcy was able to do one favor for Lizzy that he could not have done if he was not rich, but that was not the main reason she fell for him. She still would have married him in the end, I think, even if he had not paid for her sister's marriage. That is because he is a good person, not an evil rich person. ;)

It also seems that a parallel point is the fact that your upbringing denotes who you will become more than your social status. Both older girls married in to wealthy families because they had the same qualities that were cherished there: good manners, sense, intelligence, etc. Their younger sister did not have those traits, most likely due to how her mother doted on her (and the fact that she herself had deplorable manners). Just because their family didn't have a lot of money, didn't mean that they couldn't in the end marry the men that they loved, even though society were prejudiced against the marriage from the start.