Sunday, 31 July 2011
I haven't read Jane Eyre, I haven't seen any film or TV adaptation but I have listened to a radio adaptation when I was a child. It scarred me for life. I found the story dark and humourless, basically everything Jane Austen's books aren't. I don't remember much more from that radio play, but I can still see the images my mind has created to accompany it. I see an insane woman stuck in a room, I see the horror of the burned down house and I see Jane & blind Edward reuniting under a tree.
If Michael Fassbender weren't in this film I simply wouldn't have gone see it. The reason I did go to the cinema to watch this film was this actor I recently discovered in the X-Men prequel and because it was the sort of film my mum would probably like to see (she's into all kinds of "romantic shit" unlike me) & therefore a chance for me to take her out a bit. Mia Wasikowska seemed like a good choice to play Jane and reviews of the film were generally good so I gave the film a chance.
This film is literally dark. This time, being a grown woman (almost 5 years older than the heroine of the story) I didn't feel as upset by the story, I didn't find it that dark, but the visuals of the film are what makes it a very gloomy affair. But it also makes the film a work of art, gives it an authenticity and also manages to make you pay close attention. There's not too much dialog. You have to read between the lines and take a good look at the faces illuminated by candlelight.
I have to confess I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, but more because I had a weird feeling the novel went on for a bit longer (it did) than because I'd feel that it didn't fit the style of the adaptation well. Not at all, in the context of the narration this film followed it was the best possible ending.
Mia Wasikowska is simply amazing as Jane. Michael Fassbender makes one sexy Rochester. Some say they are too pretty as neither of the characters are described as attractive in the novel. Well I for one don't complain.
Judi Dench is a glimmer of light in this otherwise dark dark affair. I love her. I wonder if she ever gave a not great performance...
Recognizing the two sisters of St. John as Lucrezia Borgia and Catherine Howard made me realize what a history buff/TV junkie I am. Jamie Bell seemed like an adequate St. John to me. Apparently he's supposed to be tall, blond w/ ancient Greek/Roman features accroding to the novel. Well poor Jamie Bell definitely doesn't fit that description but his acting was fine. Reading about what St. John is supposed to look immediately made me think of my other recent Marvel discovery: Tom Hiddleston. He seems to have quite a few fans in common w/ Michael Fassbender which would make this film adaptation of Jane Eyre a droolfest. I suppose it's better that he is not in this film, after all. :o)
I love the way this film was made and I loved the acting. The story brings a strong female character set in a time and place these were pretty rare. Still I can't rate this film w/ a 5/5 or 10/10. It's not my reason's rating, it's my heart's and my heart just is not in this story. Just like it isn't in the story of Wuthering Heights.
My heart can by found resting on a Penguin copy of Persuasion, written by Jane Austen. That dead wretch is clutching it in her hands and won't let go.
If by any chance Cary Fukunaga ever decides to adapt this novel, I'd trust he'll do a great job with it, just like he did with Jane Eyre.
P.S. Even I, not just my mother w/ her love for long haired beardy men, have to admit Michael Fassbender looks mighty fine in long hair and a bit of beard.