The Jane Austen Book Club Reviews

Top Critic
Cliff Doerksen
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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Anna Smith
Time Out
November 14, 2007
Just fine in a sentimental, mainstream kind of way. Although by constantly referencing Austen's sharp wit and characterisation, this can only ever come up short in comparison.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
October 8, 2007
Worth attending.
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Tom Beer
Time Out
October 6, 2007
The real disappointment is the paint-by-numbers flatness of the contemporary stories and characters; it's hard to care much about Sylvia and Prudie with Elizabeth Bennett and Emma Woodhouse hovering in the wings.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 6, 2007
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
October 5, 2007
This marvelously intelligent romantic comedy will captivate even those who don't know or care much about Austen, although there's undeniably an extra layer of pure delight to be found if you do.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 5, 2007
Unlike so many chick flicks that celebrate female solidarity as a concept without ever making us feel it, The Jane Austen Book Club is convincingly feminist in a nonpolitical way.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 4, 2007
The film has an undeniable, easygoing charm. Real life is seldom so pleasingly plotted, but then real life is what people go to movies like this to get away from.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 4, 2007
Leave it to the Godmother of Chick Lit to inspire the best chick picture in many an age.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Susan Walker
Toronto Star
September 28, 2007
The script might have slipped into caricature, as often the adaptations of Austen's novels have, but Swicord opts for characters in whom we might see ourselves.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
September 28, 2007
...Things never rise above the competent chick-flick level.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
September 28, 2007
The episodes roll by in smooth progression, and the talkiness has the round, impassioned tones of readers ignited by fiction.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 28, 2007
The Jane Austen Book Club could be the start of a genre.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 28, 2007
The acting ensemble is as colorful, and thorny, as a garden of Austen archetypes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
September 27, 2007
Everyone is given their due and dignity in this funny, sexy, humanist film that, if it is a chick flick, gives the genre a good name.
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Penny Walker
Arizona Republic
September 26, 2007
Despite its flaws, Book Club leaves viewers with that best result of Austen films: a wonderful ache to fall in love. It didn't pierce my soul, but it definitely lifted my spirits.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
September 26, 2007
The cast alone makes The Jane Austen Book Club good -- though not great -- entertainment for at least the bookish moviegoers among us.
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
September 21, 2007
Austen devotees are sure to lap up the central premise that her notions of love and friendship are as relevant today as ever.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
September 21, 2007
There isn't an actress here who isn't perfect.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
September 21, 2007
The Jane Austen Book Club is worth watching primarily for Blunt, the delicious scene-stealer from The Devil Wears Prada.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
September 21, 2007
This is a comfort film, the on-screen equivalent of mac and cheese -- though with a splash of truffle oil to class things up.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 21, 2007
[Swicord] has created characters who really do seem to have read the books and talk like they have. And she has created a book club that, like all book clubs, is really about its members.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
September 21, 2007
The movie equivalent of a toenail-painting session.
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
September 21, 2007
As a friend said on the way out: At least no books were harmed in the making of this movie. And he's right. But that's only because no one really tried.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
September 21, 2007
An entertaining, carefully assembled piece of clockwork that imposes order on ever more complicated gender warfare.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 20, 2007
There's a difference between connecting to a writer's work and reading too much of yourself in it, and the banal film version of Fowler's book crosses the line six too many times.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
September 20, 2007
Swicord has a playful sense of humor and a good ear for dialogue, and the movie pleasantly accomplishes what it set out to accomplish.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 20, 2007
It's a funny conceit, and the actors -- who include Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, and Hugh Dancy -- are fun to watch. But the entire enterprise ultimately seems designed to turn Austen into a self-help guru.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
September 20, 2007
Drearily formulaic.
Top Critic
Tasha Robinson
Chicago Tribune
September 20, 2007
The Jane Austen Book Club is an admirable mix of heady and fluffy, the kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy that needn't make filmgoers ashamed of what they wished for.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
September 20, 2007
Surely you must know you're still better off reading Austen on your own.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 19, 2007
There's comfort to be had in the plot geometry of The Jane Austen Book Club, a photogenic adaptation of Karen Joy Fowler's 2004 best-seller.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 18, 2007
The Jane Austen Book Club is an example of how a movie can follow the general plot of a book yet fail to capture the spirit.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 10, 2007
So whatever the shortcomings of this literary construct, it remains a joy to experience a movie so in love with good writing.
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Dennis Harvey
Variety
September 10, 2007
Cast is first-rate all around, unafraid to play up the annoying, insensitive or self-pitying aspects of their nonetheless likeable characters.