A giveaway for the overseas folks! Well, the overseas, English print territories folks, I’m afraid: Canada, UK and Australia. I’ll be doing another one for USians soon.
Now that that’s out of the way, I must report back on the Jane Eyre movie.
It was fantastic!
Now, I was absolutely immolated with annoyance by the latest Pride and Prejudice (the K. Knightley one). I came away from that screaming under my breath, “They took all the subtext and made it TEXT.” So why did THAT annoy me to bits, and yet I loved it to bits in this version of Jane Eyre? Is it because I think the hunt for the subtext is what makes people love Austen, whereas I think it might be what turns people off of Jane Eyre? I don’t know. I feel like a deep hypocrite about it, in point of fact.
Actually, no. That’s not it at all. In the latest P&P, the subtext was LITERALLY made text. People spoke aloud all their emotions that you are supposed to see roiling beneath the surface. And I think in this version of JE (plus the BBC’s recent version with Toby Stephens), they did not speak aloud the emotions roiling, but the writer and director took the time to let the camera tell the story. Much like the 1990s Colin Firth P&P, which is perhaps not entirely true to the book in terms of the lingering gazes and smoldering Darcy glares, but is an interpretation of the book a lot of us have had in our heads. Same with the latest Jane Eyre.
When I read the book as a kid, I was absolutely convinced that there was something extremely visceral between St. John Rivers and Jane, something that’s been done away with in almost every filmed version and retelling, something that I began to think I imagined entirely because it’s not there in the black and white text, either. It was so refreshing and wonderful to see a film version that picked up on that–especially in the wake of Jane by April Lindholm, which is a modern day retelling of the book with rockstars that picks up on it as well. It’s not that I think this is the one, true reading of that relationship, but surely I couldn’t have been imagining it?
Now, problematically, Michael Fassbender isn’t ugly, but at least they tried by not putting very much make up on him. (St. John is s’posed to be absolutely gorgeous, you see, as a contrast.) But the leave-taking scene after the fire was also nicely, subtextually done–I should probably say “sexily done” because that’s what I mean–and I was strangely affected by the liberties the filmmakers took with the Rochester/Bertha relationship, which was switched up just enough to make Rochester a little more sympathetic.
So. That was spoileriffic–if you can be spoiled on a movie made faithfully to a 150 years plus old book. What say any of you who might’ve seen it?