In the world of chick flicks seldom is a story where passion goes unindulged. Generally, those films follow the satisfying path and eventually the Miss Bennetts of the world get their Mr. Darcy. See When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle, Almost Heaven, Sweet Home Alabama, Two Weeks Notice, Hope Floats as a few examples.
Often when love goes unfulfilled a greater lesson is at hand, and we are better for it. I am often frustrated with authors who feel the need to wrap a little bow at the end of their stories (one notable example recently is the author who gave his characters the long lost love, freedom from tyranny AND a big bag of money. It was a beautiful book and I am recommending it amongst friends so I will not out the author here.) At the movies and especially in the romance genre I do not heap this criticism, and am often irritated when a fluffy film tries to teach me something.
Becoming Jane does not follow the expected route of a "Jane Austin" movie and is quite satisfying. For fans of Austin's written work (or the movie adaptions) the producers of this film have dropped in enough likenesses of characters we love and love to loathe to make it a tasty treat. Also, rather than hit us over the head with these cameos they are subtle and not at all distracting.
Anne Hathaway (of Princess Diary, The Devil Wears Prada fame - and stellar work in Brokeback Mountain) does a bang up job of playing an Englishwoman. Her accent is less forced than other American actresses who try to pull it off - Jenna Malone in the terrible big screen edition of Pride & Prejudice. Kiera Knightly is very pretty but she is NOT Elizabeth Bennett.
James McAvoy is a lovely actor who is the star of "The Last King of Scotland" and is graceful in this period film. I would run away with him in a heartbeat - bad teeth and all. He's not your typical tall, strong, manly movie hero, but he's very appealing. Ooh, tpgal has a crush!
So, bottom line, this would be a good matinée movie date, or a rainy night snuggle on the couch together kind of film. If you pay full price like I did you won't be disappointed, but it's not one you HAVE to see in the big screen.