Miss Austen Regrets
Image: Jane Austen Regrets, PBS
I missed the first broadcast of Miss Austen Regrets on PBS last night. A friend and I were having tea and catching up on each other's lives, and we'd hoped to watch the movie together. However, my TV intake is practically nil, and I had no idea what channel it was on; neither did she. So we chatted until she had to go to work. I went to bed by ten and set my alarm for midnight to catch the second airing.
From the costumes to the setting, the film was quite beautiful , transporting me back to the England I love. I liked the way the film included excerpts from Jane's letters and novels. I liked the concept: Jane's looking back over her life and the opportunities for marriage missed. But there was something unsettling about it, nonetheless. From the first scene, the camera's shifting angles made me feel I was losing balance. The character of Jane Austen as portrayed by Olivia Williams I found disturbing for her avarice. Even approaching forty, she is presented as a desperate flirt, and as she grew ill, quite depressive. I don't know if Jane's writing gives us reason to believe she was either of these things. Or was she?