Soooo...just saw the Becoming Jane trailer again, and besides wanting to throw up because of how much James McAvoy looks like Jeremy (why bother with pseudonyms for a man I'm never going to see again anyway, eh? No more Mr. Tumnus/Captain Awesome. His name was Jeremy.), I was also reminded of an exchange editor/friend Todd and I had several weeks ago about Becoming Jane.
Todd quizzed me about how much of the movie romance was fictionalized. My somewhat dodgy answer (considering I've only read 3 of her autobiographies and the subject is quite in dispute by historians) is that absolutely, Tom Lefroy was the love of her life. The movie makes great usuage of the fact that he named his daughter Jane. They don't mention fun facts like Tom's country-trekking trip to be at Ms. Austen's funeral, or his own deathbed confession to a grandchild confirming the family rumour that grandpa had that hots for Austen.
Most importantly of the facts not shared in Becoming Jane, there were inside jokes written TO TOM in every one of her novels (including their shared love for Tom Hardy and that each of her novels has a character with one of his relative's surnames). As a fellow writer, that is the most damning evidence to me. Because we writers do that. Truly.
However, I do believe the historians who think in fact that HE was the inspiration for Elizabeth Bennett and that Jane Austen herself is Mr. Darcy (rude temperment, misunderstood and disliked by society, afraid to love) are the correct ones, which would have been a wonderful twist in Becoming Jane, a rather by wrote movie capitalizing again on the Shakespeare in Love formula.
Anyway, I really loved Todd's take on the entire Jane Austen msytique. Todd's completely baffled how someone who didn't have the balls to go after love is held up in esteem by romantics (even to the point that movies like The Jane Austen Club purport all romantic problems can be solved by following her guidelines).
He thinks basically Jane Austen was a wuss. A wuss who then spent her entire life fictionalizing the life she was too petrified to lead. A life that could very well have turned out happily for her, both with career and man.
God bless Todd. Everytime I bellyflop in the shallow end of love, if I can just flashback to his befuddled face shaking his head at the failure of brilliant esteemed Jane Austen to even dip her exhaulted toe in...