Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jane Eyre - the new 2011 movie

Mia Wasikowska
I just arrived home from seeing the new Jane Eyre movie.

Michael Fassbender
The Good: The actress, Mia Wasikowska, physically is one of the best cast; she’s young, small and plain--not ugly, not too pretty but appropriately plain. The set design and scenery were fabulous. I particularly appreciate that they didn’t over-light the interior scenes. There was also a very good sense of time transition done through the changing of the seasons.

The Somewhat Less Good: The actor, Michael Fassbender, who plays Rochester did grow on my as the film progressed but he’s not my favorite. In all fairness, the development of his character was definitely hindered by the script.

The BAD!: The new movie was rather like watching a visual Cliff Notes, and sometimes, Cliff Notes that had someone unstapled, dropped on the ground and put back in the wrong order. To condense the story into two hours, huge bits were lift out which also left out the motivation behind much of the characters actions. Scenes where put in a different order from the book. And the ending…okay, I shan’t talk about it.

All that said, I didn’t hate it. See it in the theater for the visual impact of the scenery (the entire film was actually shot in England (Derbyshire, Oxfordshire, and ……) Judy Dench is always wonderful if underutilized in this. Otherwise, my recommendation would be to wait for the DVD.

One funny note:  In the Lady's room after the movie, several of us were comparing versions when one woman ask a question "Where was Heathcliff?"  After a small, stunned silence we explained that Heathcliff is from Wuthering Heights; a different Bronte sister's novel.  [sigh]

Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clark
Thinking back on the versions I have seen--most of them--my favorite for adherance to the book would be the version with Timothy Dalton.

Toby Stephens and Ruth  Wilson
For casting,

1st place:  Toby Stephens (left) as Rochester with Mia Wasikowska as best Jane.

2nd place:  Timothy Dalton (love the Welsh accent) and Ruth Wilson (who was Stephen's Jane at left).

Orson Welles

 3rd Place (or close 2nd):  Zelah Clark who played opposite Dalton although neither she nor Ruth Wilson didn't really look 19 years old.  Unfortunately, after Stephens and Dalton, I don't really have a 3rd place Rochester--maybe Orson Wells. 

So I want to know...have you seen the new Jane Eyre movie?  If so, tell me what you thought.   Which version is your favorite?  Who is your favorite Rochester?  Who is your favorite Jane Eyre?