When Sylvia's (Amy Brenneman) husband leavers her for a younger model her friends Bernadette (Kathy Baker) and Jocelyn (Maria Bello) decide they should have a book club, working their way through the novels of Jane Austen. Making up the group is Sylvia's lesbian daughter, Allegra (Maggie Grace), Prudie Drummond (Emily Blunt) a teacher who finds herself becoming attracted to a student. And then there is the group's solitary man, Grigg (Hugh Dancy) who she met in a bar and invited to try and set him up with a friend. As they work their way through Austen's books they find that there are parallels between their lives and the stories.
I read a synopsis for "The Jane Austen Book Club" and whilst I am not in to the novels of Jane Austen I could clearly see the potential. A Variety of people with their lives all intertwining and as they come to realise their lives and relationships are not too dissimilar to those of the characters in Austen's novels. Unfortunately the finished product for me ended up a movie which did little to draw me in to the intelligence of the synopsis and pushed me away with characters who are frankly quite unlikeable due to their opinionated nature and meddling ways. I suppose it is meant to be sweet and amusing that Bernadette feels a need to help others but it only comes across as interfering.
I could go on about the characters in "The Jane Austen Book Club" but there are others things that just didn't work for me as we watch each person embarking on friendships and relationships there is no subtlety. Now some might say it is a romantic comedy but this isn't that sort of laugh out loud romantic comedy, it is trying to be more intellectual and by thrusting these false scenes of romance on us it actually betrays itself.
Of course all of this is coming from someone who is not into the novels of Jane Austen and I wouldn't be surprised that for those who are this movie comes across very differently. I am sure for those who love Austen's works will enjoy the parallels between the novels and the characters and probably understand it a whole lot more.
What this all boils down to is that "The Jane Austen Book Club" was not the entertaining movie which I had hoped it would be and found that the characters pushed me away rather than drawing me in. But maybe those with a love for the works of Jane Austen will find this a lot more interesting with the parallels it uses.