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Film / The Jane Austen Book Club

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"Love is an act of sanity!"

Adaptation of Karen Joy Fowler's 2004 novel about six people brought together by the novels of Jane Austen. Written and directed by Robin Swicord (who also wrote the screenplays for Little Women (1994), Matilda, Memoirs of a Geisha, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Almost everybody has some inspiration in Jane Austen's characters: Bernadette is Mrs Gardiner of Pride and Prejudice, Jocelyn is the titular Emma, Sylvia is Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, Prudie is Anne Elliot of Persuasion, Allegra is Marianne of Sense and Sensibility, and Grigg represents all of Jane Austen's misunderstood male characters.

Each character mirrors one of Austen's novel plots (though not necessarily the same plot they mirror in the book...). Jocelyn enacts Emma, Sylvia performs Mansfield Park, Grigg does Northanger Abbey, Bernadette prances through Pride and Prejudice, Allegra stumbles along in Sense and Sensibility, and Prudie finally makes it through Persuasion. Each of them also tends to cross over into other novels as well...


  • Babies Ever After: Prudie is pregnant in the one year later finale.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Allegra and Corinne have a date and meaningful conversation while taking a bath together. It's candlelit and intimate.
  • Beach Episode: Near the end of the film, the club has one of their last meetings on the beach, paralleling the trip to Lyme in Persuasion.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Grigg is seen emailing his sister about Jocelyn's mixed messages. The sister is the one who tells Jocelyn that Grigg Cannot Spit It Out.
  • Chick Flick: Mostly about romance - when it's not about the characters reading Jane Austen's books.
  • Cool Old Lady: Bernadette has been married six times, is always full of fun and acts as a Team Mom to the book club.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Jocelyn is a crazy dog lady, who never dates and holds a funeral for one of her dogs at the beginning of the film.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: Daniel and Sylvia split up at the beginning but fall back in love over the course of the film.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: The end sequence has several characters with different hairstyles to show their character development;
    • Prudie's fringe has grown out and she wears her hair off her face.
    • Dean's longer hair has now been buzzed.
    • Jocelyn is wearing her hair straight instead of curly.
    • Bernadette has let her short hair grow out to shoulder-length.
  • First-Name Basis: Allegra laughs at Prudie for referring to Jane Austen by her first name.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Prudie is the one girl in the group who isn't friends with the others, and she's often at odds with them. Especially Allegra.
  • Hospital Hottie: Dr. Samantha Yep is an attractive doctor.
  • Hot for Student: Prudie is attracted to one of her students Trey.
  • Important Haircut: Downplayed, but Sylvia straightens her hair as her confidence grows.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Dean cancels a trip to France at the start of the movie for a last minute baseball game, unaware how much his wife was looking forward to it.
  • Irony: Prudie says she's a French teacher who has never been to France.
  • Lesbian Jock: Allegra is a lesbian and also an extreme sports enthusiast. She's seen sky diving and rock climbing throughout the film.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Allegra and her girlfriends are pretty feminine and conventionally attractive.
  • Little Black Dress: Jocelyn dons a simple little black dress for the library fundraiser.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Jocelyn tries to set Sylvia up with Grigg but ends up falling for him herself.
  • Maybe Ever After: Dr Samantha Yep is the only partner not shown in the end sequence, leaving it ambiguous if she and Allegra got together or not.
  • Muse Abuse: Corinne turns out to have been writing stories based off Allegra's experiences.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Grigg is athletic and presented as a Hunk in addition to his love of sci-fi and reading.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: A rare Gender Flip. All the male characters are defined by their statuses as the husbands or love interests of the females - Daniel for Sylvia, Dean and Trey for Prudie and even Grigg is in the group to be a match for Sylvia (but eventually falls for Jocelyn instead).
  • The One Guy: The book club has five women and only one man, Grigg. At the end of the movie, however, Dean and Daniel come to love Austen too and are part of the club one year later.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Prudie's mother dies in a car crash, and she laments that her last words were telling her to get out of her house.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Definitely present, though done differently than other versions of the trope. Sci-fi Geek Grigg learns that Jane Austen is pretty cool, and Jocelyn likewise learns the same for sci-fi books. The film also name drops Philip K Dick, who's considerably more modern than most writers who get mentioned in relation to this trope.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Grigg ends up really loving Jane Austen's books. As do Daniel and Dean eventually.
  • Relative Error: Grigg says he's bringing a woman to the meeting on the beach. He means his sister.
  • Sci Fi Ghetto: In-universe. Jocelyn initially doesn't read Grigg's books because of the ghetto, preferring books about "real people". When she finally reads the ones he's lent her, she reads them all in one night and tries to find the next one at a news stand in the morning.
  • Shipper on Deck: Jocelyn wants Grigg and Sylvia to get together romantically. (He falls for the matchmaker instead, and she for his as well.)
  • Slobs Versus Snobs:
    • French teacher, classic literature loving Prudie (Snob) and her sports-loving, slightly boorish husband Dean (Slob).
    • Sci-fi geek Grigg (Slob), Austen enthusiast Jocelyn (Snob).
  • Token Minority Couple: Allegra is mixed race and both her love interests in the film are the black Corinne and the Asian Samantha.