“The Jane Austen Book Club”
At the Michigan Theater, Quality 16 and Showcase
“The Jane Austen Book Club” is the rare romantic dramedy that succeeds by making its frivolity an asset. The movie has occasional lapses into plot-necessitated seriousness, but mostly, this is a light vehicle for the movie’s cast of indie darlings old and new – Emily Blunt, Hugh Dancy, Kathy Baker and Maria Bello, among others – and that’s exactly what it should be.
The titular club is composed of six people for each of Austen’s six novels, and it should come as no surprise that each member’s life begins to resemble the plot of their given title. But under the smooth, agreeable hand of director Robin Swicord (who also adapted the screenplay from the novel by Karen Joy Fowler), the contrivance doesn’t distract from the stars. “The Jane Austen Book Club” works best when the group simply meets and discusses the books fluently within the context of their lives.