Miss Austen Regrets
I wasn't sure what I was going to make of Miss Austen Regrets, which has just been broadcast in the UK, having been disappointed by biopics of Austen's life in the past, but Miss Austen Regrets was a film to savour.
Olivia Williams was brilliant as Jane Austen, portraying her as an intelligent, witty woman with a clear view on her world, a portrayal which owed as much to the scriptwriter, Gwyneth Hughes, as the actress, of course. Together they brought a realistic version of Austen to life.
According to The Times, "Hughes insists that hers rather than the soft-focus, romantic heroine imagined by her readers is the truer portrait".
I think that most of Austen's readers can tell from her books that there wasn't anything soft focus about her. Some of her wit is savage, all of it is acute. No one escapes, not clergymen nor handsome young men nor elderly women nor the rich and titled. Everyone falls under her brilliant, satirical spotlight.
“To this day, it’s difficult for the cleverest girl in the room to pull a boyfriend and I think that explains Jane’s real problem: she was just too clever and too challenging," says Hughes.
I've always thought that this portait of her displays this idea perfectly. I can just imagine her saying, "Bored now." Which begs the question, how do you entertain the cleverest woman in the room?
Perhaps the only way to do it is to hand her a pen and a piece of paper.