Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: Jane Eyre


2011, Cary Fukunaga (new director that did 2009's Sin Nombre) -- cinema

I admit, I have a weakness for the Bronte/Austen stories commonly considered period chick-flicks. Marmy knows them like the back of her hand so she helps me keep up with the often complex plots while I spend as much time watching the costuming and setting. This is the third version of Jane Eyre I have seen, the previous two being the 1997 A&E version and the 1996 Zeffirelli one. I have probably seen bits of the 1983 Timothy Dalton version as well. I will also admit that I never understood the "romance" of a plain woman falling for a domineering angry man. Sounds more like the makings of a made-for-tv american south crime drama to me.

But this one is grand in a way I didn't find the others. Jane is played by Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Mr. Rochester by Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), and both lend some weight I hadn't seen before. The way Fukunaga laid out a scene also helped, as the bleakness and structure of the landscape really drew me in. It was in that landscape that let me believe the isolated love that grows between the two, two people who need the other even if culture and circumstance really don't like the idea.

I was also glad the "horror" aspect was played down. I am sure that in a world of Poe, the scary elements of the crazy lady in the attic could be seen as gothic horror. But here we see it depicted in the tragedy of a man overwhelmed by the weight of mental illness and obligation. We also see the battle of obligation vs. the self-serving nature of wealth. I have no idea how authentic this is to the book but it rang more true than previous versions did, for me.