I saw the latest attempt at Austen tonight (Becoming Jane) with my mom and my aunt. I was hoping that the movie would be great-mostly because I enjoy (almost) every Austen like movie. There was something lacking in this film though. I think I was hoping for some kind of cross between Finding Neverland and Sense and Sensibility or the latest Pride and Prejudice films-a film that is beautiful and trusts its audience to follow the trail. A film so breath taking that you feel literally sucked in by the scenery and forget you're watching a movie at all. A movie that, in a sense-breaks that fourth wall between screen and movie-goer. Becoming Jane made a very valiant effort at this-there was superb casting of the supporting cast and nice costumes-enough farm animals and woods to make it an official costume drama-but it was lacking. I didn't care. I know how the romance ended. The suspense of the romance wasn't enough for me. Granted, most people who see the film will know little of Austen's life and eat up the fictional with the reality-but as someone who does know a thing or two about Austen and has read the letters that this half true biography-made movie is based on...it was a little disappointing. For one thing it was hard to follow. The film was choppy-it suffered from horrible editing. I'd like to see the movie again just so I can pick up on what was going on for the first half of the movie when I didn't know which character was which. It felt like it was trying too hard at times-like when they had a montage of Jane walking through the ball looking for ...something or someone. You assume it's the love interest but we don't know the character the movie has created well enough to go beyond the assumption. There was very little character development.
This wasn't supposed to be a movie review. I'll cut to the chase.
The biggest thing that was lacking to me was the light I imagine in Austen's eye. She strikes me as the kind of person (at least from reading her books and her letters to her sister etc.) who has the idea that all of the people around her are there for her own amusement. She did not always have a happy life, but I feel like she would have been a lot more self assured and amused with life in general than she was portrayed as in the movie. Maybe it was just me being unable to get past the typically American performance from Hathaway-but I really think that there was a kind of light completely missing from Hathaway's eyes.
I've been thinking pretty seriously about the last semester or so of my sophomore year at school and a good portion of this summer about how depressed I've been. I haven't been able to force myself out of it. For whatever reason I have been miserable almost all the time. When I haven't been depressed I've been faking happiness. There aren't all that many times I can think that I have been truly happy in the last year. Most of it I think is due in part to me not being comfortable with myself. I lived with roommates last semester who always seemed to be doing better academically/socially/emotionally than me and I didn't know who to turn to. My two best friends had boyfriends and (this is my fault) because I didn't really take the time to go out and find people to get to know, my social life was almost nonexistent. As I said-this was mostly my fault. It was easier to stay in my room doing homework or reading a book or watching a movie on my own because they are all things that I enjoy doing. But I wasn't happy. I would have moments of real enjoyment but, thinking back, I think a lot of the light kind of dimmed in me on a more regular basis than normal.
So I've been researching light. Not so much in the scientific sense as the spiritual sense, especially in the scripture that talks about light being good because it makes things discernible. I suppose this relates to truth, in a way-in that all truth (however gruesome it might be) has an element of light in it. For the studying I've been doing, I've been focusing mainly on the topical guide in the scriptures and old talks logged away on lds.org-I've been surprised in this hodge-podge research on how many different ways the scriptures/leaders of the church have referred to light. They refer to it in reference to talents and truth and example and warmth and intelligence and the Savior and ourselves...so many different ways and they are all kind of related and not related at the same time.
This is too long, and you don't need to know all the details to my struggles or current mindset-it's all pretty personal and something I'm working out with the Lord-but if you get the chance read "The Light in Their Eyes" by James E. Faust from the October 2005 General Conference. It was an excellent talk and I've started to feel a little better about my situation and have some more hope for what the next year will bring for me. It's a great talk-read it.