One of the most entertaining surprises this "male" reviewer found in 2007, was "THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB." Having been dragged to it by a date and never having been interested in seeing any film adaptation of Jane Austen, a film with this title didn't feel intriguing. However, writer/director Robin Swicord has crafted a thoroughly entertaining drama, filled with great moments of laughter and characters that it becomes easy to care about.
"The Jane Austen Book Club" is comprised of individuals in need of comfort and escape from the daily struggles and heartache that make up life, by delving into the struggles and heartaches of another period as described in the works of Austen. While it may not seem like much, the various situations affecting each character are extremely compelling and there are more than enough "inspiring," life-affirming moments to heartily recommend this one as a film, much better and far superior to what was attempted in "THE BUCKET LIST."
SONY has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer. The image varies in quality. While there's typically great depth, colors veer towards the unnatural, depending on any given scene. There are many moments wherein the image is dead-dead on, with great depth, but also more than a few instances wherein the image is flat or even soft. So, while often terrific, the image is inconsistent, making its overall score, well above average for blu-ray but, short of reaching the quality of the best SONY titles out there.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix for this release. It's surprisingly engaging, and while not aggressive, ambient effects are aplenty. There's great attention to detail here, and Swicord uses music and nuance with alternating amounts of energy for great impact during select scenes. A scene built around parachuting comes to life with great use of music, dialogue and effects, perfectly balanced, and again,...far better than a slightly similar scene in "THE BUCKET LIST."
SONY has included some great extras here, including a terrific look at the author's life, as well as interviews and behind-the-scenes stuff, deleted scenes and more. Unfortunately, all of these are in standard definition. Several trailers are offered in full HD.