Without a doubt, The Jane Austen Book Club deserves to be featured in a section called Underrated Films.
Killer cast (Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brennerman, Maggie Grace, Hugh Dancy, Jimmy Smits, Kevin Zegers, Marc Blucas… and… Lynn Redgrave? You bet)… this amazing cast provides insanely deep character development. Bottom line– The Jane Austen Book Club is in an intellectually-stimulating comedy/drama that will warm your heart while making you raise an eyebrow.
The Jane Austen Book Club is about a group of (mostly) women, who are going through various problems in their lives (except the always optimistic Bernadette (Kathy Baker). Over a few weeks, they convince each other to join Bernadette’s idea for a book club, for the purpose of reading and then analyzing all of the late, great Jane Austen’s novels (Sense & Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, etc). In doing so, maybe they may get some answers to the questions going on in their lives.
Early in the film, Sylvia’s husband Daniel has just announced that he’s been seeing another woman. Sylvia’s daughter Allegra is an adventure-addict who always seems to get herself injured, and bounces from woman to woman in a series of unhealthy short-term relationships. Sylvia’s friend Jocelyn is a bit too set in her stubborn ways… Prudie and her husband Dean are about as distant and different as a couple can be… and then there’s Grigg, the only male in the group (invited by Jocelyn), who shows enthusiasm for the book club, as well as cynicism in his own life and experiences.
Superb character development, light-hearted but heavily emotional story… great soundtrack and score, too. Written and directed by Robin Swicord (who also did the screenplay for Little Women, among many other films). This is easily one of my favorite films of the 2000s-2010s.