Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jane Eyre (2011)

I couldn't believe that another movie version of Jane Eyre had been made. I also couldn't believe I actually made myself to watch it. Why they didn't make a movie version of Villette instead? I hope to watch Villette because I never finished the book.

This 2011 version of Jane Eyre is the 5th version movie version I have seen. [I also have the musical version by Paul Gordon: Original Broadway Cast and the Toronto cast.] I must say that I am disappointed with this. I think it's very calm and 2 hours are not enough for this story. On the positive side: the whole production looks beautiful with amazing cinematography, and there is Judi Dench.

The first 5 minutes shows Jane Eyre running away from Thornfield until she, very tired and hungry, meets St John Rivers. I myself disagree with the filmmakers's choice to open the movie with these scenes. It seems like a long 5 minutes.

Compared to Orson Welles - Joan Fontaine, Timothy Dalton - Zelah Clarke, Michael Jayston - Sorcha Cusack, Toby Stephens - Ruth Wilson; it seems to me the chemistry between Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska is not very convincing. Mia Wasikowska is not passionate and she looks calm. I can say the same about Michael Fassbender. Or is it the script? They only have 2 short conversations in front of the fireplace: 1) when Rochester look at Jane's drawings after they were officially introduced and 2) after he gave Adèle a cadeau (the talk about paid-subordinate). Suddenly, there is the fire in Rochester's bedroom. I think it's too fast and I don't believe a spark of love is already there.

My favourite movie version of Jane Eyre is still the one with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. Despite the fact that the production looks cheap (which is understandable since this is made by BBC in 1983), it has almost all the delicious lines straight from the book. I also love how Timothy Dalton delivered those lines. His Rochester has a temper and he shouts a lot. [Someone said that was why his wife had gone mad and had to be locked in the attic.] Dalton's Rochester made me cry when he begged Jane to stay. The line "Is it better to drive a fellow creature to despair than to transgress a mere human law?” moves me more than the 2011 version: "You would rather drive me to madness than break some mere human law". Dalton's Rochester also made me want to read the book. Many say that Timothy Dalton is too handsome to play Rochester, but there are people who say that he is the ugliest James Bond.
My 2nd favourite is the one with Michael Jayston and Sorcha Cusack. The chemistry between these two is the best.

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