Monday, February 15th, 2016 | Author: Mia
From Mia’s Desk will post the second week of each month and discuss something of interest to Mia, which she hopes others will find interesting too! It may focus on opinion pieces, literature (historical and current), or even movies–because a good story is a good story.
Literature to Cinema: Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics. I first read it when I was eleven or twelve, and then again later as an adult. The character of Jane is a wonderful one to me, for in a day and age when girls–especially poor girls–were basically taught to sit down, shut up, and do as they were told (and be grateful for any crumb they got), Jane never lost her sense of self and her sense of self respect.
Even when it would break her heart, she always knew that she must keep both. She was smart and passionate, but it was that sense of self she maintained that was what made me relate to her most. That she always knew herself, and never let anyone tell her otherwise.
And Rochester is your classic Gothic hero. I think he gets a bad wrap for wanting to marry Jane while still being married. He was wrong, yes, but tortured. The younger sons were always a little cast off and his youthful impulsive nature was used against him to bind him to a woman his family knew was crazy, just to get her money. Instead of abandoning her, he tried to take care of her. Then when a former lover cast a child off on him that wasn’t even his, he tried to take care of her.
At the very end, when he had the chance to be rid of the “burden” of his wife, he didn’t; he made sure that everyone in the house was safe and then tried to save her, earning himself grievous injury in the process.
Ultimately, Jane Eyre is a love story, and it’s a love story I love. Jane is a wonderful heroine, one who chooses a relationship, to be in it and stay in it, because she chooses to; she will not accept a marriage that is anything less than what she wants, and what she feels she deserves. And that’s a lot in a female character for that day and age.
Jane Eyre with Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds: This was the first one I watched and I did love it for Morton’s suiting-ly plain appearance and she’s a good actress. Hinds is an actor I adore, and he definitely found that rawness to the Rochester character. But it goes too far into the passion, and forgets other important points to the story. It particularly cuts short on Jane’s time at Lowood and friendship with Helen Burns, which is so pivotal to her formation as a character. It works to make the movie so short, as well, that it chops the story line up too much.
Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender: This one was disappointing to me. I later would realize that Fassbender is a very good actor, but whether a disconnect in him or from the director, he plays Rochester so flat and that is a disservice to the character. Wasikowska does alright in the self-assuredness and stoicness, but she also falls flat. If the version with Morton goes too far into passion, the version with Wasikowska goes too little. It does, however, do better than many of its counterparts in the time at Lowood.
Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens: This is, without a doubt, my favorite and is a fantastic tribute to the book. Wilson can change from plain and stoic to impassioned and radiant. She has every ounce of Jane’s self-assurance and sense of self. It is hard to believe that this was her first role! And Stephens, oh, I could not ask for a better Rochester. He is not classically handsome, like Rochester, but charismatic as hell. He embodied all of the characters faults and virtues, and the chemistry between Wilson and Stephens was very strong and amazingly well-faked. It sadly does cut short on Lowood, though not completely, and there is a strange way they do the timeline towards the end of the movie, but this one does not cut short on her time with St John and his family, which is also hugely important to the story. As with some details about her family shown later. With only a couple minor complaints, I really can’t say enough good things about this version.