Beautifully shot and graced with a splendid performance by Olivia Williams, this Jane Austen biopic focuses on a relatively narrow window in the author’s life, serving as something of a companion to Becoming Jane, the 2007 film about a young Austen starring Anne Hathaway.
This drama depicts a passionate and emotional chapter of Jane Austen’s romantic life, inspired by the great writer’s own novels, letters and diaries.
As Jane Austen approaches her 40s, her success as a writer is assured and her witty and sharply observed romantic novels are widely admired. To her niece, Fanny Knight - a young, pretty girl desperate to fall in love - Jane is a favourite aunt who offers the wisdom and knowledge to help her in her own search for a happy marriage.
Yet, when asked by Fanny to help her vet potential husbands, Jane's usual confident composure is threatened. Surely the woman so capable of writing love on the page must have experienced love herself, so why did she never marry?
Protected by her wit, Jane has presented a front as dazzling as many of her novels' young heroines, but as she reflects on her own romantic encounters and affairs, we are drawn into the passions, suitors and choices of her life - the cruel flirting, the proposals spurned and the love that seemed to arrive too late.
As she recalls missed opportunities, the doubts arise. Did she make the right choice for herself and her family? Could the great romantic expert have been mistaken? And, could her principles about love and marriage possibly have been ill-judged?
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