I heard about Jane Wants a Boyfriend from Eliza Dushku’s Twitter. As soon as I googled the movie, I was instantly hooked. And now that I finally got to watch the movie, all I can say is that this movie is perfect!
Jane Wants a Boyfriend is a romantic-comedy that centers on three characters: Jane (played by Louisa Krause) , a 25-year-old seamstress/aspiring costume designer, her sister Bianca (played by Eliza Dushku) , who is an actress, and Jack (played by Gabriel Ebert), Jane’s romantic interest who hasn’t exactly grown up yet.
The movie starts with a lot of changes happening at once: Bianca is preparing for her first major role as an actress in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and is also in the process of moving in with her fiance Rob (played by Amir Arison), who works as a journalist. However, at the same time, Jane and Bianca’s parents are planning on moving from Queens to the Jersey countryside and they want Jane to live with Bianca. Things get even more complicated when Jane meets Jack, who develops a growing interest in her even though he starts out the movie as someone who’s still in the “casual dating” stage of his life.
As someone who has Asperger’s Syndrome, the way that Jane’s autism is portrayed feels realistic. It comes off more like high-functioning autism at times, but technically speaking, Asperger’s and high-functioning autism have become interchangable terms. I saw a lot of myself in Jane, especially during the parts where Jane would act out scenes from her favorite movies, particularly Kansas City Confidential. Props to Krause, who managed to balance out Jane’s wide-eyed innocence with her desire to grow up. Jane doesn’t come off as robotic as one would expect someone with autism to be. At the same time, her oversensitivity to loud noises and new things is shown as a very real issue and I love how the movie portrays these instances. It made sense to me that these things would occur when Jane was under a lot of stress.
I also gotta give props to Director William Sullivan and writer Jarret Kerr. They were able to create a believable love story while also including small thematic choices. This might just be the over-analytical part of me, but I think that A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a perfect play to serve as sort of the background in this film because “The course of true love never doth run smooth.”
Jack’s storyline in the film is equally heartwarming. He starts out as a man in his late 20s to early 30s, out with a different girl every month or so. He works as a sous-chef and feels drawn to Jane as soon as they start getting to know each other. However, Bianca and her friends want Jane to go out with guys who are “safer.” What’s wonderful about Jack, though, is that he goes out of his way to learn about Jane’s autism and makes sure that their first date is special. By the end of the movie, I end up believing that Jane and Jack will definitely work out in the long run because it’s through Jane that Jack learns how to be more mature.
The real love story, though, isn’t the romance between Jane and Jack, as charming and endearing as it was. The movie really centers on Jane and Bianca’s relationship as sisters. Bianca has to balance out all the changes in her life as much as Jane does, but she wants to maintain some sense of control. The director of the play (played by Nick Stevenson) points out that Bianca has to let go of her control issues in order to fully immerse herself into her role as Titania. When Bianca sees how happy Jane is around Jack, she is more than willing to allow Jane to grow up. Because if you really love someone, you gotta set them free.
Jane Wants a Boyfriend is available to watch online or on demand. I highly recommend this to people who want a more grown up, realistic perspective on autism. Just keep an eye out for the vulgar language and the smoking. It’s not completely family friendly. However, I hope that more movies like this come out in the future.