Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë was my first classical read. And to this day, it remains my favourite. We read an excerpt in school, and watched the 1996 movie version, which I enjoyed. Later I borrowed the book from a phd friend of my aunts, and true love was found. Since then I've read the book a few times, as well as all the other Brontë titles.

In 2006 BBC made an excellent Jane Eyre tv series. They really managed to capture the passion, emotions and underlying tensions the book holds. I loved their use of colour, especially for Bertha and Blanche. The chemistry between Mr Rochester and Jane is simply outstanding and they really make the story come to life. As a whole, they make Jane Eyre more accessible to a more modern audience. oh, and Toby Stephens is my number one Mr Rochester to date. *blush*

A few days ago I went to see the latest Jane Eyre movie (2011). I had read some excellent reviews on it, and I was really looking forward to seeing it. I must admit, I was a little disappointed. Now, obviously, it is unfair for a movie of 2 hours to compete with a tv series of 4 hours. Naturally the movie has to convey in a much briefer period of time the book's essence. However, I cannot help but wonder at some of the choices that were made.

Bertha is all but invisible in the film. There are hardly any trace of her, and the famous "veil-ripping" scene doesn't happen here. I miss the tension built up in the series and I thought there would be more of her here.

A character that got a lot more room than I thought necessary, was St. John. And in fact, the focus on Jane's life after Thornfield, when she is taken in by St. John and his sisters have a lot more focus than I feel is warranted for such a short movie. I'd rather have more Jane and Mr Rochester than Moor House.

I actually liked Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester (although he comes nowhere near Toby Stephens), but something was missing in the chemistry between him and Jane. Mia Wasikowska makes a reliable Jane, and I really liked that she's young, but I miss some warmth and emotion from her.

One touch I really liked, however, is that they managed to include the lightning struck tree after the proposal scene. Nice touch!

All in all not a bad movie, but I guess I was hoping for something that was more influenced by how well done the tv series was. With classics, there'll be another remake in about 10 years, however, so I can look forward to a life time of Jane Eyre movies. And in the meantime I'll enjoy the tv series one more time on DVD.

Below: a treat. One of my fave scenes from the BBC version. Just showing a new side to Jane.

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