jane, redux

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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 CĂ©line'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

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hello,
I have been following your blog-really inspiring! Please do keep writing, as often as you can! This is my first comment on your blog:) I love Brontes sisters and similiarly to you I went through a phase of being amsolutely in love with 19th century literature in my early twenties.I cant wait to see the movie, don't u think it's a bit unfair that it hasn't been released yet in the UK?;) thanks for sharing:) nika
Clementine said…
Ah! That movie was awesome. I read the book after seeing it, and I loved that even more. Jane is such a great heroine, and mia did a wonderful job playing her. P.S. I just discovered your blog and I love it! Thanks for doing it.
lin said…
Nika: Hi, thanks, I hope you continue to enjoy my posts, I try to blog at least once a week but sometimes I blog daily so it's quite haphazard. I was first forced to read Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for class, and it was actually pretty good, and it led me to read Wuthering Heights. I think the sisters themselves are as intriguing as their books...

Clementine: Thank you, I'm glad people enjoy reading my posts and I enjoy discussing and hearing everyone's viewpoints more. The movie greatly deserves awards for the screenplay - I thought the flashback was a great way to tell the story!
Anonymous said…
Hey,
Thank you for reply Lin, I agree that sisters are as interesting as their characters, and I have been meaning to visit their museum in Haworth for ages (well, 5 years, since I moved to London;). In fact what I meant I was in love with their books in my teenage years, not in my twenties (twenties were dedicated to Bulhakov, Nabokov and generally 20th century;). Do keep posting. And I really really want to go diving in Bali after one of your posts couple of months ago, so jealous!;) regards,nika
S said…
I had forgotten about this movie, but you make me really excited to see it now. I love all your movie recommendations. I remember when I read this is high school, I absolutely loved it and thought it was the most romantic book ever. Perhaps I like melodrama? haha. I also remember loving the Charlotte Gainsbourg version, but I also saw that in high school.
lin said…
Nika: A museum! Maybe I should visit when I go to London. And you should definitely dive in Bali.

S: I had no idea it was Charlotte Gainsbourg in the Franco Zaffrelli version! Shld check that out then.
Anonymous said…
Lin, The museum (Bronte's house) is not actually in London, but in Yorkshire. (It's closer to me now than before when I lived in Poland:)
Here is the link:
http://www.bronte.org.uk/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=26
regards,nika
If Jane said…
oh yes...funny i was talking about the book just the other day...
miss sophie said…
there are some novels that beg to be re-read at different ages...Jane Eyre is definitely one of them! i need to see this film STAT. i remember reading an abridged version as a kid and finally reading the full one in middle school. it's such a powerful, haunting novel!

also- have you seen the film adaptation of 'Rebecca'? the novel is great, but the film is a masterpiece of the genre. great acting, too!
lin said…
Anon: Thanks! I've never been one for literary trails to be honest, but I could make an exception for the Brontes.

If Jane: I just finished reading it again - it's really good old-fashioned story-telling. A bit of a relief from someone else I had been reading...

miss sophie: Are you talking abt the Hitchcock movie? Yes I have! Admittedly not my fave Hitchcock movie I agree that he knew what he was doing. I think mainly my problem was that Joan Fontaine was not how I imagined the girl to look like...
L.L. said…
I love Jane Eyre! As a book, I loved it more than Pride and Prejudice and I was so excited when I heard there was a film coming out. I couldn't help but compare it to the BBC version though.

Michael Fassbender is sucha handsome man I didn't imagine him as Mr Rochester but I agree he played it splendidly
Anonymous said…
Just seen the movie, one word-beautiful! The acting was great, including Jude Dench as Mrs Fairfax! nika

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