Australian Council on Children and the Media

Becoming Jane

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Short takes

Lacks interest under 8, PG to 11 (Themes, Violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Becoming Jane
  • a review of Becoming Jane completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 March 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Children under 8 years may find this movie uninteresting and may also be disturbed by scenes of anger and violence.
Children aged 8-11 Parental guidance recommended due to mild adult themes and violence.
Children over the age of 11 Children over 11 could view this movie with or without parental supervision.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Becoming Jane
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence, Mild themes, Mild coarse language
Length 116 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) is a spirited young woman living in Hampshire in the early 1800s. Her father (James Cromwell) is the local vicar with a meagre income, and consequently Jane, her parents, 3 brothers and sister constantly struggle to maintain their middle class existence. Jane’s sister Cassandra (Anna Maxwell Martin) has recently become engaged, providing both joy and a sense of relief for the family. Jane herself feels constant pressure to also alleviate the family’s financial pressures by making a good marriage to wealthy man.
Jane has other ideas though. She wishes to pursue to her dreams to be a writer, much to the distress of her mother (Brenda Blethyn), and thoughts of marriage are few and far between. She wishes to marry for love, not money, and her father is supportive of her on this matter. Jane receives a very suitable proposal from the Lady Gresham’s (Maggie Smith)  nephew, Mr Wisley (Laurence Fox) with whom she is not in love. While contemplating this offer, Jane meets the worldy and penny-poor Tom Lefroy (James McEvoy). A law student, Tom has been sent to Hampshire by his benefactor uncle (Ian Richardson) as punishment for unruly behaviour in London.
Jane and Tom initially clash, with Tom thinking Jane needs more experience before she can be a writer. However, over the course of his time in Hampshire, the couple fall in love. Standing in the way of their hope to be together are the strong objections of both their families, as neither Jane nor Tom have any financial standing. The couple are forced to decide whether to choose love over the practical issues of money.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Life choices (love vs money); Female independence

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • There are 2 scenes in which Tom Lefroy participates in boxing matches. On both occasions he is briefly knocked out and blood is seen

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • While attempting to speak to his uncle about Jane, Tom is yelled at. Both Tom and Jane are insulted during the tirade. This may upset some children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Apart from the violence mentioned above, it is unlikely that anything in this film will scare children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that anything in this film will scare children in this age group.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Tom suggests meaningfully to Jane that her experiences need to be widened
  • Tom and his friends are shown in taverns where prostitutes entertain them.
  • Jane reads some ‘saucy’ scenes from the novel “Tom Jones”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • In an early scene, Mr and Mrs Austen are waking in bed. After being goaded by Mrs Austen, Mr Austen dives under the sheets, following which Mrs Austen looks pleased.
  • Jane’s brother Henry and her French cousin are seen going into a bedroom together one night.
  • After a social cricket game, Tom and Henry run down to the river, closely followed by the girls. The boys strip off and jump into the river, and the girls see them naked (rear view only).

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There are a few scenes in which Tom and his friends are shown to be drinking excessively or are intoxicated.
  • During the social gatherings, men and women are seen drinking wine, but are not drunk.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “Damn”

In a nutshell

Becoming Jane is a. is a romantic film based around the life, and possible love experiences, of the author Jane Austen. Young children may find the themes and dialogue of this movie uninteresting and hard to follow. However, adolescents, particularly girls, and adults will enjoy the attractive protagonists, production quality and setting of this movie.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Family loyalty and support
  • Acting selflessly for others
  • Jane as a role model for independent women (given the constraints of her time).

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