Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
The Jane Austen Book Club(2007)
As five women and one enigmatic man meet to discuss the works of Jane Austen, they find their love lives playing out in a 21st century version of her novels. Sylvia, is shocked when her husband Daniel, leaves her after 20 plus years and three children. Jocelyn, her unmarried best friend, distracts herself from her unacknowledged loneliness by breeding dogs. Prudie is a young French teacher, in possession of a worthy husband yet distracted by persistent fantasies about sex with another man. The many times married Bernadette develops a yearning for one more chance at happiness. Beautiful, risk-taking Allegra, Sylvia and Daniel's lesbian daughter, has quit talking to her lover. And Grigg, a young science fiction fan and computer whiz, seems horribly both out of place and obliviously at ease as the only man to be invited into the book circle.
For more about The Jane Austen Book Club and the The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray release, see the The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 2, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Grace
Director: Robin Swicord
» See full cast & crew
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray Review
Does Jane Austen make the world go round?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 2, 2008
All Jane Austen all the time! It's the perfect anecdote...to life!
Oh good heavens. We've got The Jane Austen Book Club coming to Blu-ray this week, and Becoming Jane next week. Jane Austen is as popular as ever, and I have two theories as to why this is so. Her stories are either simply timeless, or Hollywood has run out of ideas for chick flicks and is once again calling on "old reliable," the queen of period romance herself, to rake in a few more dollars. Since I've never read a Jane Austen book, I can't say for certain whether her stories stand up to the test of time, but considering she wrote some 200 years ago, I would guess they do, at least for certain pockets of the population. For the longest while, we only had Ms. Austen's novels turned to film adaptations, the most recent example being 2005's Pride and Prejudice. Now, it seems Ms. Austen herself is becoming the focus of Hollywood, either in the flesh or in spirit, the latter of which we see in The Jane Austen Book Club. What's next, Jane Austen leaping tall buildings in a single bound?
The Jane Austin Book Club features a group of eccentric friends, each with their own set of personal problems in their lives, who come together to lose themselves in the time of Jane Austen, hoping the famous author's words can touch their lives and heal their shattered dreams. Jocelyn (Maria Bello, Payback) has recently lost one of her prized dogs, and the film opens with an elaborate funeral for the animal that sets up the established relationships amongst several of the characters. Soon after, Sylvia's (Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy) husband Daniel (Jimmy Smits, Star Wars: Episode III) informs her that he is seeing another woman and wants a divorce. Their daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace, Suburban Girl), a homosexual, ultimately discovers that her partner is in their relationship for more than just love. The elder of the group, Bernadette (Kathy Baker, All the King's Men), has been married six times, is a dyed-in-the-wool Jane Austen fan, and takes on the role of club founder. Prudie (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada) is a French teacher with a self-absorbed husband, Dean (Marc Blucas, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who would rather watch sports and play video games than romance his wife. Finally, Grigg (Hugh Dancy, Blood and Chocolate) is a science fiction nerd who has trouble telling women how he feels about them.
After the death of Joceyln's dog, Bernadette begins searching for a way to help Joceyln deal with her grief. The perfect idea hits her when she meets Prudie while standing in line for a Jane Austen film festival. When Prudie breaks down and confesses her difficulties with her husband to Bernadette over ice cream, Bernadette invites her to join a book club that centers on the work of famed novelist Jane Austen. Brainstorming while they talk, she decides each member of the club will be responsible for leading the discussion over one of Austen's six novels. She is insistent that no man join the club, but can only come up with five female members. Meanwhile, shortly after Daniel and Sylvia split, Jocelyn meets Grigg and ultimately invites him to join the club. Her goal is to set him up with Sylvia, but he has eyes only for Jocelyn. Allegra agrees to be the final member of the group to support her mother. As the group discusses each of Austen's novels, they discover that their love lives seem to parallel some of the themes found in the books they are reading. Will the club ultimately bring back too many bad memories, or will it heal old wounds and bring love back into their lives?
The Jane Austen Book Club surprised me. Each character was well-written and acted, and the story was mostly interesting. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it more than my chick-flick loving wife, which is absolutely unheard of. I enjoyed the camaraderie amongst the characters. Each had a unique angle and the story never felt overly processed or phony. As I mentioned, I've never read a Jane Austen novel, so I cannot comment on exactly how true to the novels the story lines parallel the characters, but based on the dialogue in the film, there is definitely a connection (or else there wouldn't be a story). Grigg turned out to be my favorite character, probably because I could relate to him the most, being the lone male in the group. He's also the character that is partly in the film to keep the men interested, but I found myself drawn into the picture even when he wasn't in it. While the movie didn't make me want to run to Barnes and Noble and purchase Austen's novels or join a book club, the film proved to be a movie that was well worth my hour and forty minutes and now ranks very high on my list of "tolerable chick flicks."
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sony Pictures Classic presents The Jane Austen Book Club on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition and in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I was somewhat disappointed by the overall quality of the transfer for a brand new film. Perhaps the biggest fault with the image is that is has a washed out and sometimes soft look to it. It is never as sharp and crisp as I expected it to be, even though the subject material doesn't necessarily demand a snazzy and flawless presentation. Flesh tones appeared on the redder side of normal, though this seemed to be an issue only now and then, sometimes in lighting where one might expect a reddish glow about the characters, and other times when only natural light shone on the actors. The image does sport some positives attributes. The image is mostly clear with excellent color reproduction, even though the colors don't necessarily jump off the screen with vibrancy and spunk. Detail is moderately high, but very fine details remained elusive in extreme close-ups. I didn't note any horrendous issues with the black levels at any point during the film. The print is as close to pristine as possible; I noted only one discernible black speck through the entire runtime of the show. Still, all things considered, the image lacked the pop and vibrancy we've come to expect from brand new films on Blu-ray, especially coming from Sony, whose reputation as a top-notch Blu-ray studio speaks for itself. This is a good effort, and the film's target audience is not likely to be as demanding on the whole as the typical Blu-ray viewer, and as such this transfer should suffice.
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Like the video quality, perhaps the best word to describe the Dolby TureHD track that accompanies The Jane Austen Book Club on Blu-ray is "bland." Live Free or Die Hard this isn't, obviously, so it's not surprising in the least that "bland" is the order of the day. After all, this is a movie about a book club discussing the writings of a woman who lived some 200 years ago, hardly the stuff legendary high definition soundtracks are made of. Nevertheless, the track does offer up a few nice surprises in an otherwise unremarkable listening experience. The music throughout the film is pleasant, never overbearing or dominating the scenes it accompanies. When the music is cued, the listening area comes alive with wave after wave of your standard romantic "dramedy" type music, creating the appropriate atmosphere in which the film resides. Dialogue is reproduced with a natural flair, remaining focused in the center as is to be expected. There is a bit of ambience here and there, and while there are a few nice effects spread across the front soundstage, there is just not a lot happening in this mix outside the center channel. A scene where the women travel to Grigg's house for a book club meeting and find themselves in a makeshift haunted house proves to be the only truly active and impressive sonic moment in the film. The Jane Austen Book Club won't win any awards for its sound design, but it does what is asked of it with ease.
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
These supplements definitely cater to fans of Jane Austen's novels and the more familiar you are with the books, the more you'll appreciate these extras. Leading off the supplements is a cast and crew commentary featuring director/screenwriter Robin Swicord, film editor Maryann Brandon, producer Julie Lynn, and actors Hugh Dancy and Maggie Grace. This group track is very lighthearted with lots and lots of laughs and fun stories from around the set. There are plenty of discussions about the actual making of the movie, too. Behind the Scenes of the 'Jane Austen Book Club' (480p, 18:49) is another one of those standard fluff pieces, showcasing the primaries involved in the film, both in front of and behind the camera, discussing their thoughts on the film. There's particularly a lot of praise for director Robin Swicord, and she in turn speaks highly of all her actors.
Next are three featurettes. The Life of Jane Austen (480p, 21:38), obviously, examines the history and life of the writer, her work, and the themes found in her novels. The Book Club: Deconstructed (480p, 11:43) is a look at how each of the characters are really just "masks" for characters presented in Austen's novels. Walking the Red Carpet: Los Angeles Premiere (480p, 2:46) features brief interviews with the cast and crew as they proceed into the premier of the film. Seven deleted scenes (480p, 6:45) and 1080p trailers for Across the Universe, The Other Boleyn Girl, Catch and Release, Persepolis, and Saawariya conclude the special features.
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Jane Austen Book Club is a smart, funny, and fairly entertaining look at the lives of a group of friends who find solace and answers to life's toughest obstacles through the words of the famous novelist after whom their club is named. As each character reads their assigned book, they come to realize that their life parallels that of the characters in the book, but it's ultimately the friendship and companionship amongst the club members that really brings them together to face life's struggles, the books only serving as a starting point to bring order back into their troubled lives. Technically, The Jane Austen Book Club, like the movie, is good, but not terrific. Both the audio and video quality should suffice, but demanding viewers may be ultimately disappointed with the quality on display here. The supplements are average, geared more towards Jane Austen fans first and movie fans second. The Jane Austen Book Club will make a nice Valentine's day gift and a good addition to your Blu-ray library. Recommended.
Blu-ray bundles with The Jane Austen Book Club (1 bundle)
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to The Jane Austen Book Club. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to The Jane Austen Book Club in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Jane Austen Book Club Announced for Blu-ray - November 26, 2007
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'The Jane Austen Book Club' to Blu-ray on February 5th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a "Life of Jane Austen" featurette, deleted scenes, and ...
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to The Jane Austen Book Club Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.