Six months. Six novels. Six members.
If there is one single saving grace it's that there are some bits of comedy in the movie. The girls entering Grigg's apartment is pretty entertaining, and on another occasion there's a group of 'goths' entering a lift, one of which has a studded collar on, and upon noticing in a deadpan voice Jocelyn quips "My dog has the same exact collar". It's probably funnier if you see it...
To be honest The Jane Austen Book Club isn't my style of movie. It's slow, boring, and pretty dull and while I can appreciate the acting and direction that doesn't make it something worth me spending more time on with repeat viewings (a second time with the commentary was hard enough!). Still, I watched the movie with my wife, mother in law and another female family friend and they all loved it. I guess girls may 'get' this movie more then me, but I still have my doubts.
The Jane Austen Book Club has been opened up to fill the 1.78:1 aspect ratio of your widescreen TV (the movie was originally presented in 1.85:1 in cinemas). While there aren't any glaring faults this isn't a transfer which you will use to show off the benefits of the Blu-Ray format.
Overall the image appears pretty lifeless with little vibrancy and sparkle to the image. At times the image colouring seems a little off, but for the most part this 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is pretty tame. At least being such a recent movie there aren't any film artifacts evident and the source is pretty clean, although there is a fair amount of film grain evident, more then most other pictures released these days. That is perhaps, in part, due to the extremely low budget.
Subtitles are provided in nine different languages including English, English SDH, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. The English track was accurate from the dialogue on screen to the subtitle text.
Cast and Crew Commentary: Writer and Director Robin Swicord, actors Hugh Dancy and Maggie Grace, editor Maryann Brandon and producer Julie Lynn combine to provide this commentary which, to be honest, outshone the movie for me. There are some interesting stories, quite often rather amusing, about the production of The Jane Austen Book Club. It was quite entertaining to hear about so many people, particularly in the opening credits, were other cast and crew. Quite a lively commentary this is worth a listen. The commentary has subtitles in English and Italian.
Behind the Scenes of 'The Jane Austen Book Club' (18:49): Sadly this is more an extended PR piece for the movie rather then a detailed documentary of the inspiration for the movie. There is some production footage and some interviews but they are very lightweight.
The Life of Jane Austen (21:38): This is actually a very interesting documentary about Jane Austen with some interesting information (Jane Austen's first book was written by "A. Lady" as it wasn't proper for a lady of Jane Austen's standing to write books and get paid for them at that time). As someone unfamiliar with Jane Austen, or most of her works, this was certainly worth a look.
The Book Club Deconstructed (11:43): The director Robin Swicord talks about the characters, and how they live the lives of the book characters. I didn't really get much out of this featurette at all. Why not just make a full-on feature about the six books featured in the movie. This featurette recycles clips from the movie to waste some more time in your life.
Deleted Scenes (6:45): A series of seven deleted scenes, which should actually be called extended scenes instead. There's not much here that would have added much to the movie. In fact, the first deleted scene is more like a blooper as he says 'mother fucker' and then laughs (as does someone off camera). The only other reason to watch, a little lesbian tongue action for about 3 seconds...
Coming to Blu-Ray and Saawariya Trailers (1:45/HD): Standard promotional trailers for Blu-Ray and a Bollywood movie - the latter of which is starting to get me interested following so many viewings!
Review By: Dave Warner