In "The Jane Austen Book Club," five women and one young man come together to discuss all of Jane Austen's novels, and intertwine their lives and loves in the process. Each member of the 6-person ensemble cast of "The Jane Austen Book Club" brings something different to the table at each of the club's monthly meetings. When Bernadette, an eccentric, longtime Jane Austen fan, meets Prudie, a nervous high school teacher, at a Jane Austen film festival, the two connect over their Jane Austen passion and agree to start a book club centered around the 19th-century author. Bernadette recruits Sylvia, recently separated; Sylvia's daughter Allegra, a free-spirit in her twenties; and Jocelyn, a fiercely independent dog breeder, to join the club. When Jocelyn meets Grigg, she invites him to join with the hopes that he will hit it off with Sylvia. Though Grigg is a science fiction fan, and has never read Jane Austen, he agrees enthusiastically. The group plans to read one of Jane Austen's books per month, with the members taking turns hosting. As the group members read each of Jane Austen's novels in turn, the events and themes of their lives mirror those of Austen's characters.
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It soon becomes apparent that Grigg is attracted to Jocelyn, and that he and Jocelyn are much more compatible than he and Sylvia, who is still in love with her not-quite-ex husband. However, Jocelyn is oblivious to Grigg's attentions, a fact that frustrates him more and more as the film progresses. Seeing as he has made the commitment to try something new in his literary exploits, he hopes that Jocelyn will do the same, and gives her some of his favorite science fiction author to read. He is saddened and disappointed to discover that she shows no interest in giving them a try. After he expresses his frustration to her, Jocelyn later reads and enjoys the books, a fact that allows the two to bond and become romantically involved.
Prudie is unhappy in her marriage, as her husband is inattentive and thinks that the book club is silly. Soon after the movie begins, Prudie's mother appears for an extended visit, putting a further strain on the high school teacher. Her mother is flighty and irresponsible, and Prudie often finds herself cleaning up after and taking care of her. Prudie finds solace in the attentions of Trey, one of her students, and even agrees to meet him at a motel after their fliration escalates. However, upon arriving, she realizes that she cannot go through with it, and leaves before anything can happen. Afterward, in an impassioned plea to her husband to help rekindle their marriage, she convinces him to read Jane Austen with her.
Sylvia's husband, Daniel, has left her for a younger woman, and she is at first terribly angry with him. However, throughout the film the two display that they still have feelings for each other, and in the end are able to reconcile. Their daughter, Allegra, who is gay, has a hard time finding the the right companion. She becomes angry with her current girlfriend upon discovering that she is using Allegra's life as material for her short stories. At the end of the film she begins dating a doctor. The film ends one year after the book club begins, with the members getting together for a reunion. Everyone appears with their respective partners, even Bernadette, who has married for the seventh time, and appears to be in a more secure and happier place with their lives.
Best part of story, including ending:
As a Jane Austen fan, I admire the character's dedication to her books and am able to identify some of their characteristics with some of Jane Austen's. It is a light romantic comedy, but its themes of human conflict and resolution are pleasing enough to watch.
Best scene in story:
Though the ending scene where all the characters reunite is corny, it is satisfying to see them all happy, and especially to see how Prudie and Sylvia's husbands have both embraced Jane Austen themselves. They all gather for an event in the library where Sylvia works, and sit around the table catching up and making references to Austen's books and the times they spent analyzing them the previous year. It is a satisfying, albeit obvious, conclusion to the film.
Opinion about the main character:
Jocelyn is a frustrating character to watch because she is so independent-minded, almost to a fault. It is hard for her to accept help, or to accept that someone may be attracted to her, though it is obvious to everyone else.