Enter the dashingly handsome Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), who relies on the wealth of his uncle and spends his days chasing the ladies. When his uncle becomes fed up with Tom's behavior, he sends him to spend the summer with his cousins - in the country. Tom is mortified at being stuck in this rural town all summer with these bumpkins, although he never uses that word. His relatives are Jane's neighbors and at the time of Tom's arrival, they are all together celebrating the engagement and upcoming wedding of Cassandra and her fiancée and the fact that he is going overseas to work. Tom's loud entrance happens to come right in the middle of one of Jane's readings, disrupting everything. He then further insults her by falling asleep during the same reading. Of course, she notices.
Later on, he is sent for a walk in the country and gets a bit mucky and somewhat lost. He spies Jane taking a walk and engages her in conversation, although she wants nothing to do with him. The witty banter between the two of them is filled with ironic gems. Jane proves to be a worthy opponent of Tom's verbal sparring. He encourages her to expand her world by reading books she is unfamiliar with. She does and she finds him intriguing and mysterious and just a little bit dangerous. Of course, they eventually fall in love, despite their bickering. In the meantime, Mr. Wisley is still pursuing Jane and asks her to marry him, which she refuses, much to the dismay of her mother. Her father (James Cromwell), on the other hand, loves Jane and wants her to marry for love because he never had that.
When Jane and Tom plan for Tom's uncle to meet Jane and hopefully at once accept her, fate intervenes, along with a mystery letter that paints Jane in a less than favorable light. When the author of the letter is revealed, it's quite shocking and doesn't occur until the very end of the film. Do things work out for Jane and can she marry the love of her life and live in grand happiness for all of her remaining days? Well, if you are a reader of Jane Austen's ironic works, then you can probably figure out that this movie will have a less than perfect ending, at least for the characters. For the viewers, it is a perfect conclusion to the romance that no doubt shaped Jane's point of view for her writings.
Special features include a few deleted scenes, which are well worth watching and definitely add to the story, along with a featurette on the real Jane Austen, plus some pop-up facts on Miss Austen and an audio commentary. While this movie doesn't have the happiest of endings, it does end very fittingly and is a beautiful romance. In watching Becoming Jane, you may shed a tear or two, but you will also laugh with her as she embarks on the rollercoaster romance of her life. If you are a fan of Jane Austen, this is can't miss stuff.