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The film spins the few known facts surrounding Austen's real-life flirtation with the Irish lawyer Tom Lefroy into a tale about the kind of personal passion and social complications that could have inspired Jane to become the ingenious and utterly timeless observer of human relationships that she soon did.
The year is 1795 and young Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) is a feisty 20-year-old and emerging writer
who already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing
what was then nearly unthinkable - marrying for love. Naturally, her parents (Julie Walters and James
Cromwell) are searching for a wealthy, well-appointed husband to assure their daughter's future social
standing. They are eyeing Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox), nephew to the very formidable, not to mention
very rich, local aristocrat Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith), as a prospective match. But when Jane meets
the roguish and decidedly non-aristocratic Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), sparks soon fly along with the
sharp repartee. His intellect and arrogance raise her ire - then knock her head over heels.
Now, the couple, whose flirtation flies in the face of the sense and sensibility of the age, is faced with a
terrible dilemma. If they attempt to marry, they will risk everything that matters - family, friends and
fortune. But navigating the stormy waters between romance and duty, heart and head, goodness and
greatness is all a part of BECOMING JANE.