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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Jane Eyre movie

I think it was Lisa who first said that she went to see the new Jane Eyre movie and liked it. I heard a few raves here and there but trusting Lisa, I thought this would be a fun film to watch with friends. This particular version was just released on DVD this past August and so I picked up a copy and invited the ladies from church over to watch it with me. One gal brought her collection of tea cups so that we could sip tea while watching it. We had a fun time of fellowship (and some yummy food) and then settled in to watch this classic story on film.

I hadn't read the book since 2008 so far as I can tell. (You can see my review of Jane Eyre here.) My memory was a bit sketchy as to the story line (further solidifying the argument that you should re-read classics often!) but I had the general idea. From my general idea I would say that the film followed the book remarkably well. Of course, the BBC's involvement likely had something to do with it. They generally remain true to the books they choose to depict on screen.

This particular DVD is marked as being distributed by Universal Studios and is rated PG-13. The only reason for that rating, that I could tell, was that Jane walks past a painting of a nude a few times and the camera zooms in on it, examining the figure in more detail. (Pointless.) Otherwise, the rating would be based on the subject content involving Mr. Rochester's former wife. But there is nothing explicit about this relationship on screen so beyond the nude painting I can't think of why it received the rating that it did. PG would probably be more accurate. It's not like Bronte cursed incessantly or anything.

I'll assume you are familiar with the storyline and so I won't go into that. I'll just say that given the two hour length of the film, they did a good job at highlighting the basic story without leaving anything out, to my faulty memory.

Although the movie was released in theaters in 2010, the film has a 1980's/90's feel to it (in my opinion.) I was expecting to see maybe a Keira Knightly adaptation (which kinda worried me and freaked me out, honestly) but I should have figured that a movie starring someone named Mia Wasikowska held more promise than anything with Knightly. Clearly Wasikowska isn't worried about her Hollywood-easy-to-pronounce-and-say-for-stardom-sake name. She's more of a no-name kind of person - (at least as far as I know . . . which really isn't saying much) - which means you are promised better acting and clarity of character. When you don't have a name (or as big of a name) you are more likely to allow people to do thinks like this to your hair:



I don't think Knightly would have gone for it so easily. It's a hair style that makes one look very plain (and weird) indeed. Which is the point of Jane Eyre to some respects. This hairstyle was the talk of the ladies after the show. I suggested we all go to church the following Sunday with our hair twisted in skinny locks and swooped around our ears, to highlight those two particular features on our faces. Strangely no one went for this. (I didn't either, just in case you were somehow still wondering if I did.)

(Again, I should point out that Wasikowska could very well have A Name in Hollywood that I am not aware of. Obviously I don't see many movies in the theater. Unless she'd starred in something that had C.S. Lewis' name attached to it, I could easily have missed her.)

I didn't hate Mr. Rochester nearly enough in this film. He was too playful and not mean enough. But he went blind at the right time so all is well.

I did hate St. John a little more than I felt I ought to have but his attitudes and actions still made her marry the right guy in the end so, again, all is well.

Other than the movie feeling older than it actually is, I have no complaints and only praise for this particular adaptation. (I think maybe the Timothy Dalton version is better but I'd have to re-watch it to see. Then, too, it's longer so it can capture the essence of the story a bit better.) I would love to watch the Dalton version again but not before I re-read the book, which I would also love to do.

When I presented Jane Eyre as a reader's diary I documented my emotions towards the book more than anything else. After seeing the movie and reading my original thoughts it makes me quite eager to revisit the tried and true story. Lingering on old thoughts I had about reading it makes it sweeter somehow and I would really like to re-engage with Bronte. But in the meantime, this new film is a quick fix and I do recommend it without very much reservation at all (barring the nude picture scene.) I also highly recommend that you gather friends together to watch it with them because it's more fun that way.If you're game, drink some tea while you watch. That may or may not affect your feelings towards it.

15 comments:

Bluerose said...

I think you'll be disappointed to know that Mia is the star of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. ;)

I've never read Jane Eyre, (surprising, huh) but I'd still love to see this one.

Cassandra said...

We are supposed to hate Mr. Rochester? It's been years since I've read the book (junior high!) so I don't remember exactly what I thought of it, other than that it was a hard read. We recently watched a movie adaptation and I don't remember hating Mr. Rochester. Hmmm... maybe it wasn't a good adaptation. ;)

Carrie said...

Bluerose - AAAAHHH! I should have looked her up. ;D (I hate Tim Burton films as a general rules. I DID see Alice though but didn't recognize the face. See? That hair can really throw a person off.)

Cassandra - No, not necessarily. ;D I just hated him in the book and so I am comparing my reading experience with my movie watching experience.

Caniad said...

I enjoyed this movie, although I remember thinking it seemed to wrap up too quickly. But the overall feel of it seemed just right.

Barbara H. said...

I LOVE the Masterpiece Theatre version of Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. I'll have to see how this one compares.

Megan D. Neal said...

This version is not my favorite. I found it rather dull. I thought they missed alot of key interactions between Rochester and Jane that developed their relationship. (No, you're not meant to hate Rochester.) In fact, they missed a lot of key moments all over the place. (And yes, that picture -which isn't in the book, that I recall- is the sole reason for its PG13 rating.)
If that movie were my only exposure to Jane Eyre, I'd have no desire to read the book, which is a shame because the book, for all its faults, has much more character than this movie does.
(P.S. That hairstyle was de rigueur of that time period.)

Carrie said...

I'm hoping it's clear that I'm merely poking fun at the hairstyle. ;) I realize it was A Thing of The Times. Some things are just amusing.

Kristin said...

How funny.....I was actually going to rent this while my husband was out of town, since he wouldn't be too crushed to miss it. But on Redbox it said something like, "contains nudity". So I didn't rent it. Oh well! :) Silly me for thinking it would something other than a painting on the wall!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Jane Eyre was my favorite assigned reading in highschool, and I loved the Timothy Dalton version of the movie as a teen. (For the record, I always liked Mr. Rochester!). I'll have to look this movie up !

wxroz said...

Hi Carrie, you should definitely read the book again! This movie did stray quite a bit from the book. The Masterpiece Theater version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stevens is far superior!

I thought this film version with Mia Wasikowska was bland. One thing I didn't like was that it was totally not scary or spooky. They really downplayed the crazy lady upstairs, and the whole mystery surrounding her, and that is such a crucial part of the story. The relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester wasn't very convincing to me, and the script was weird. A key thing the movie omitted was the connection between St. John, Diana, Mary, and Jane. She finds out that they are all cousins! It completely left that out, and that is very important to the story - Jane finally finds family that will embrace her!

There are other little things I didn't like, but I don't want to nitpick. I didn't hate it, but I was unimpressed. I've seen almost every movie version, and I just think that the story doesn't do well when you try to shorten it to 2 hours.

Marks of Faith said...

Don't know if I am brave enough to watch this...I watch a much earlier version when I was very young (it was the first time mom and I tried watching a chick flick by ourselves) and I was so freaked out by the "wife" I've avoided everything Jane Eyre since! Sad I now. I do love BBC though...so maybe one of these days I'll be brave enough...

Laura Hartness said...

Watching the movie now, per your recommendation.

Carrie said...

Actually everyone, I think wxroz has a point! As I mentioned, the book was hazy in my mind and she points out some particulars I had COMPLETELY forgotten about! (And they are rather crucial to the story.)

So I suppose if you are several years away from the read, you'll probably be satisfied enough with the movie. (And the only reason it was rated PG-13 is for the painting.) And it's not hideously bad (I say comparing it to things like Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. Things like that. Atrocious things.) =D I still liked this Jane Eyre well enough. And it doesn't change my opinion about wanting to re-read the story for myself. After which I might hate this rendition, who knows! ;D

Lisa writes... said...

I'm glad you liked it (or did you?)...

I thought it a beautiful version, though certainly not a perfect one. I haven't seen the Timothy Dalton version but the Masterpiece version is really, really good, particularly if you are a book purist. ;)

DylanLawrence said...

Jane Eyre has been a family favorite for 3 generations now. I didn’t really like the new movie as much as the BBC series which was phenomenal.

“I saw he was going to marry her, for family, perhaps political reasons; because her rank and connexions suited him; I felt he had not given her his love, and that her qualifications were ill adapted to win from him that treasure. This was the point – this was where the nerve was touched and teazed – this was where the fever was sustained and fed: she could not charm him.”

Charlotte Brontë masterfully writes of love and captures the heart of girl time and again.

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