The Jane Austen Book Club Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Jane Austen never married and apparently had only brief encounters with love, yet she managed to craft loquacious characters that have plenty to say about the intricate schemes and intriguing plots of romance. Over the years, her chatty subjects have inspired movies like Clueless, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bride and Prejudice, in addition to film versions of her books. Her own life also provided material for theatrical productions such as Jane Austen in Manhattan and Becoming Jane.
In The Jane Austen Book Club, five females—all avid Austen fans—form a book club in order to distract Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), a group member, from the messy details of her impending divorce. Another literary insider named Jocelyn (Maria Bello) also invites a young man to join the group in hopes of helping the separated Sylvia regain her self-confidence around members of the opposite sex. Unfamiliar with Austen’s prose but comfortable with ladies, Grigg (Hugh Dancy) eagerly begins digesting a massive, leather-bound compilation of the novels so he can get in on the discussions.
Other attendees include Bernadette (Kathy Baker), a repeat presence in divorce court herself who is on the lookout for husband number seven. She meets a disillusioned young wife and high school teacher named Prudie (Emily Blunt) whose marriage threatens to be undone by an illicit affair she is tempted to have with one of her students. Unable to turn to her pot-smoking mother (Lynn Redgrave) for counsel, Prudie is in desperate need of some sound female advice. Rounding out the group is Sylvia’s passionate, spontaneous daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) who rushes in and out of her lesbian relationships at the first suggestion of trouble.
Using Austen’s work as a kind of moral compass in a romantically unsettled world, these groupies assign an almost biblical importance to the books. Meeting regularly during the span of a year, they share their opinions and perspectives while at the same time being forced to face the ups and downs of their own real-life relationships.
Smartly scripted with scenes seemingly drawn from Austen’s own fiction, the screenplay gives audiences a healthy dose of life imitating art. However mature themes of adultery, infidelity and improper teacher-student relations, along with Allegra’s brief but sensual on-screen activities with her partners, make Jane Austen’s Book Club unsuitable for many audience members. Yet despite the distracting detours of adult content, this film, like most of Jane Austen’s novels, is determined to give older audiences a glimmer of hope by championing the value of marital bliss.
Starring Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman,. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release October 4, 2007. Updated February 13, 2012
The Jane Austen Book Club
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Jane Austen Book Club rated PG-13? The Jane Austen Book Club is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature thematic material, sexual content, brief strong language and some drug use.
The adult women in this film don’t show any discomfort discussing sexual topics, physical anatomy and other mature themes. Passionate kissing involving teens and adults is shown. Alcohol is used in social settings as well as a stress reliever. One character also uses illegal drugs. A brief sexual expletive and moderate profanities are included.
Page last updated February 13, 2012
More parents' guide for The Jane Austen Book Club after the break...
The Jane Austen Book Club Parents' Guide
What does Prudie mean when she says high school is never over? What insecurities is she dealing with from her past? How do they affect her current relationships?
What do the book club members learn about themselves during their discussions? How do they help one another through the difficulties of life?
What does Jocelyn learn about trying new things?
The most recent home video release of The Jane Austen Book Club movie is February 5, 2008. Here are some details…
With this DVD release, you can join The Jane Austen Book Club. Appendixes to the movie include an audio commentary with the cast and crew, three featurettes (Making of The Jane Austen Book Club, The Life of Jane Austen and Character Deconstruction) and seven deleted scenes.