Photographer: Laurie Sparham for Focus Features
I went through a re-read of all the 19th century romances that so enamoured me as a teenager with their Byronic heros last year and early this year (leading me to see Céline's fall 2011 collection through a rather romantic lens), so my interest was piqued when I saw that "Jane Eyre", starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, was playing in the theatres.
I enjoyed "Wuthering Heights" and "Pride and Prejudice", and of course, "Rebecca", but I admit when I read "Jane Eyre" at age 12 or 13 I was a little put off by how incredibly melodramatic the plot was (I read the rest when I was about 16). I think back then I wasn't quite used to 19th century literature; I remember I struggled to like Dickens.
But the film - directed by Cary Fukunaga - cast it all in a new light for me, especially on the character of Jane - she's more sober and forthright than I remembered. It helps that she was so superbly played by Mia Wasikowska, who has this luminous, subtle way of letting emotion flit across her face without overdoing it that reminds me of Cate Blanchett.
Mr Rochester, on the other hand, was exactly how I remembered him - charismatic, but kind of an ass. Michael Fassbender, whom I crushed on in "Inglourious Basterds" and was awed by in "Hunger", did a good job of not overplaying him - I think the subtlety of the movie as a whole saved it for me.
So I've dusted off my copy of the book and started reading it again, and I wonder if 15 years will change how I feel about the book.
Picture from nytimes