Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jane's Tale of Woe

I consider myself an expert.  I consider myself a super fan.  I feel ownership; I feel custodianship; I feel like they should have consulted me on their project!
I wonder, wonder, wonder.  For whom were the producers making the most recent adaptation of Jane Eyre?  Were they making it for those like me (and I know I am NOT alone)?  Or were they making it for those that are curious and want to know what all the fuss is about?

Were the glaring gaps left because the filmmakers knew I would be able to fill them all in with my previously acquired knowledge of the story?  What about all the first-timers?  Are they to be left with the impression that the only joy must come through one's own imagination?  Why, why, why did it have to be soooo gloomy, and soooooo austere, and sooooooo heartwrenching?  And this is coming from the queen of heartwrenching.  I love books and movies that successfully pull my heartstrings to hurt and to ache and to pine.  I crave this stuff.

But on the other hand, throw me a few crumbs of joy.  Please!  A love story cannot be exclusively built upon a few passionate conversations.  It comes from the day to day experiences, wherein we laugh, we work, we eat, we enjoy life.  The profession of affection comes too abruptly and without enough evidence to make it believable.

Still, it is a masterpiece of filmmaking.  Visually, it is stunning.  And the few tidbits of Spring color are welcome relief for weary eyes, amidst all the darkness and sparsity.

It stars the brilliant Mia Wasikowska as Jane, and Michael Fassbender as Rochester.  Their chemistry is real, but the script doesn't allow them enough lattitude to explore it or capitalize upon it.
The story of Jane Eyre is not all gloom and doom.  Period.  And yet one would believe it is if this were the only exposure to the story one has had.  May I suggest then, for a more positive experience, one might try:

1)  the book, itself, by Charlotte Bronte
2) the original 1944 version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine
3) or the 1996 version with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg
4) or the 1997 version with Ciaran Hind and Samantha Morton
5)  or the 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke
6)  or the 2006 version with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson
Each one adds a new dimension to this timeless tale.  Each Rochester is irresistable in his own unique way.  Each Jane is a symbol of courage and integrity, which is the real reason this book lingers in the top of my all-time favorites list.  She may be put upon, harshly dealt with, yet she never loses sight of right and wrong and self-respect.  She makes no excuses and I admire that.


neffie said...

I love the 2006 version! I can't remember which one I saw first but I LOVED it. It was right out of high school so it must have been the 1996 version... maybe?

I was wanting to see this one to see how they did it. I must confess this is another one that I only know about by the various movie adaptations... it is on my list to read. :-)

Kim said...

One of my favorite movies/books! The first one I saw was the Timothy Dalton version....Jay often wonders why I own several different versions of things, but we all know that each version offers different insights into the same story. How much fun it is to see all the diverse interpretations!