Miss Austen Regrets
Let me see if I can collect my emotions enough to write coherently!
Stunningly poignant. That’s my review. None of the concerns I mentioned in Friday’s post came to fruition (just goes to show that you can’t judge a movie by its preview), and I connected with this movie and with the portrayal of Jane on a deeper level than I imagined possible.
This film was strangely personal for me. There were so many times when I found myself in tears just from what people were saying to Jane about the way her writing affected those who read it . . . especially the conversation with the French maid–that God had given Jane the dual gifts of singleness and writing romances to give hopes and dreams to women who’d lost theirs. And all I could think was, If God is using this film to try to tell me He’s given me that gift, I’ll never be worthy of it.
Even now, several minutes after the movie has ended, I still have tears streaming down my cheeks, trying to process the meaning of the talent, the genius, the solitude of the author I admire so much. Trying to understand if, through the brilliant dialogue—especially at the end—if I, like Jane, am meant to forego romance in my own life to give that part of my time and attention solely over to my writing.
This sounds silly and sentimental, I know, that I’ve been affected so deeply by a movie. But it’s definitely given me a lot to think and pray and soul-search about.
Oh, but one little critique: once again, the filmmakers have included characters dancing a waltz, this time in 1814. While the waltz was introduced in London in 1812, it was widely considered vulgar and scandalous—especially in the country and amongst the clergy—until post-Regency (after 1820). Here is a quote from a book reviewed in the Edinburgh Magazine dated 1818:
‘I do not mean to say that I consider all young ladies who waltz as devoid of modesty, delicacy, or proper feeling; but I feel that I should wish my sister, or my mistress, or my wife, to have a sort of untaught aversion to the familiarity which waltzing induces. I would have her prize too highly, from self-respect, the sort of favour which a woman confers on a man with whom she waltzes, to be willing to bestow it on any one of her acquaintance. I would wish her to preserve her person unprofaned by a clasping arm, but that of privileged affection. For indeed, dear Miss Musgrave, if I saw even a woman whom I loved, borne along the circling waltz, as I see these young ladies now borne, I should be tempted to address her partner in the words of a noble poet–’What you touch you may take.’