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Jane Eyre (2010)


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Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) is filming a new version of Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

The first still from the production has my full attention.

Jane_Eyre_710895a-thumb-585xauto-12993.jpg

Here's more.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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By the BBC? They just did a version of it in 2006. And a pretty darn good one at that. And I thought it was reasonably dark (without being overly familiar with the book).

It's got 8.7 on IMDB and won a BAFTA, so the Beeb doing it again is just odd.

Matt

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  • 6 months later...

Well, you know me--I approach remakes with caution, not to say suspicion. But that trailer looks quite promising.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Oh dear. It has Simon McBurney in a serious role (Brocklehurst). He was so hilarious in Rev. that it's going to be hard to take him seriously, particularly as the roles have a few things in common.

Other than that, it looks a little bombastic, but, as Beth says, quite promising.

Matt

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  • 3 months later...
Link to Jane Eyre from 2006, although comparisons between the two will inevitably be recorded here. Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I expected that this would be a disappointment, due to its March release date.

I was quite wrong.

I also expected this - the 12th feature-film Jane Eyre? - to be a Jane Eyre of 2011.

I was wrong about that too. The things I expected a 2011 Jane Eyre to emphasize, distort, update, and exaggerate... well, this one doesn't.

I think it's going to find some fans here.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Jeffrey Wells has written one of his livelier, more amusing reviews:

All my life I've managed to avoid reading Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre", but I'm going to dash through it this weekend to see if the book, published in 1847, is as morose and chiily and constipated as all the various film adaptations have been. I'm 98% sure that it is, but I want to be able to say that I've absorbed it first-hand.

I saw Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre (Focus Features, 3.11) last night, and it's full of authentic, high-toned period highs. All the performances (including those from costars Jamie Bell, Judi Dench and Sally Hawkins) seem perfectly aged and restrained in a just-right way. And hail to all the other 19th Century downer elements. Everything is exquisitely in place, whipsmart and oh-so-carefully rendered.

But the fretfulness...my God! Jane Eyre is like an Oxford Film Festival mood pocket times ten. It's like a tattered flag rippling in an early March wind on an English moor. Come to us, all ye educated women of a certain age seeking a Bronte fix! We will envelope you in bonnets and lace and corsets and repression and misery, and make you feel like you're really and truly stuck in olde country-manor England, full of feeling but afraid to speak of it, much less act. We will saturate you with emotions so damp and muffled that you'll plotz.

Jane Eyre is so convincing and persuasive in this regard that it made me depressed about my own life, and I'm feeling fine these days. . . .

The best thing about Jane Eyre is Michael Fassbender's performance as Edward Rochester. The truth is that he's been disappointing me in ways modest and small since Hunger, but here he shows his earnest, slightly mad Laurence Olivier chops. Every line he speaks is sharp and grave with a river churning beneath it, and I was especially pleased by that I understood each and every word. Why did this provide particular comfort? Because most of the time I couldn't understand what Fassbender's costar, Mia Wasikowska, who plays Jane Eyre, was saying at all.

I'm serious. Wasikowska's eyes are haunted and piercing, and her Jane Eyre face has that silently-suffering quality that the story requires, but her British accent is so....it's hard to describe but so precociously affected and her delivery is so breathy and trembling and tremulous that I got the gist of what she was saying only occasionally. Most of the time I couldn't figure what her phrases and/or sentences were conveying at all. Okay, now and then, but it got to the point that I stopped trying to understand her thoughts and started grasping at words. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Jeffrey Wells has written one of his livelier, more amusing reviews:

...

... most of the time I couldn't understand what Fassbender's costar, Mia Wasikowska, who plays Jane Eyre, was saying at all.

Huh. I don't think I missed a single line of Wasikowska's dialogue.

My friend Hannah, who saw the film with me, said on the way out, "She looks just like Emily Dickinson. She should star in a film about her immediately." She's right.

emily-dickinson.gif

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Okay, I have permission to say more now. So this is what I posted on Facebook:

The new "Jane Eyre" is a big surprise. While the first act feels rushed, the whole is impressive. It doesn't feel like "a Jane Eyre for 2011" - just a great "Jane Eyre." Strong performances. (Now I see why Wasikowska's a big deal.) Beautifully shot. Preserves Bronte's prose without sounding too ponderous. Remarkably unafraid of the book's faith-related themes. Doesn't demonize Christianity. The score is gorgeous.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Having fihished the BBC TV version, which I thought was great, I'd love to hear how the two compare. I know you liked it, Jeffrey, but I've got a feeling that the 2006 version is stronger, right?

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Well, the TV series is sure to be stronger because six hours is better than two for a story as dense as this.

I haven't seen the whole series, and I've never read the book (although I know the details of the story very well from having so many friends who discuss it regularly). But I've heard complaints about what the BBC series did to downplay the story's exploration of Christian faith. In fact, a Facebook friend said just a few hours ago that the series pretty much "smudges out" the religious elements. This movie doesn't.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Huh. I read it twenty years ago. Don't remember any of that.

I am looking forward to this, but Ruth Wilson was just awesome in the version I just saw.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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John Mark Reynolds @ The Scriptorium Daily:

Bottom Line: the new Jane Eyre film is the best movie adaptation yet, but has some serious flaws.

My wife loves Jane Eyre enough to have named a daughter Jane. It is my favorite English novel and saved our marriage from my Wuthering Heights view of romance.

This our twenty-fifth anniversary and we would not have made it to ten without Charlotte Bronte.

As a result, we have seen and own every version of Jane Eyre. The fullest and most satisfying is a dated (Eighties hair creeps about the edges like a hirsute horror in the attic) but romantic turn with Timothy Dalton as Rochester. It is too pretty, but it retains the central moral message of the book best.

Last night we saw the new adaptation by the BBC, which must have an entire Jane Eyre division, directed by rising talent Cary Joji Fukunaga. If we had watched this film instead of reading the book on a date decades ago, we would have loved it, but Jane would never have been born.

It entertains without challenging the viewer. . . .

The film fails, however, to convey Bronte’s Anglican and Tory perspective. Spirituality there is, but the Biblical references, and the book even ends with one, are mostly gone. Jane learns forgiveness, but we are left wondering where this impulse originates. Jesus as Savior and Redeemer is excised. though the less orthodox Bronte elements of her spirituality lurk in the plot.

Young Janes’s BFF, the Christian Helen keeps the spirit guides, but loses her New Testament quoting and Christ motivated love of the Christian God.

This film Jane is revolutionary, something Bronte was not. The noble theme of female emancipation is kept, all to the good, but the balance of the moral law with passion is nearly excised. One is left thinking Jane leaves Rochester because she is not yet quite liberated enough “to follow her heart.” Oddly, this tempts the viewer to think of her as enslaved to her own passions. Bronte’s Jane is a free and independent woman equal to any other person, but also bows the knee to the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. . . .

It would be too much to expect secularizing Britain to understand a woman who was neither slave or feminist, but merely Christian. As a result, Focus has made a film that does not challenge, but instead placates the core audience, if the reaction at the screening full of gracefully aging NPR-listening female English majors I observed, is any indication. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Huh. I read it twenty years ago. Don't remember any of that.

I am looking forward to this, but Ruth Wilson was just awesome in the version I just saw.

Yeah, she's great. Mia Wasikowska's great... differently.

I say this as someone who had never read the story, or seen any of the previous movie adaptation, so take that for what it's worth: If she was great -- and I'm not prepared to say she was -- it was only, or mainly, when she was on screen with Michael Fassbender, who was, IMHO, a far more interesting character, or maybe just a superior actor. Or both?

This is not to say the film was bad, but that it was at its best whenever those two characters were interacting.

Maybe people who are familiar with the book, or earlier films, feel the same way about the novel and earlier films?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Maybe people who are familiar with the book, or earlier films, feel the same way about the novel and earlier films?

I've read the book and seen two previous adaptations (1944 & 1996). Jane's and Rochester's courtship is one of the most pleasing in all of Western literature, so naturally their scenes together should sparkle. However, unlike Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, who are only interesting when they are together (being two halves of the same person), Jane and Rochester are interesting as individuals. I wouldn't mind a movie based on either of them, individually.

Fukunaga's interpretation offers a subtly feminist Jane and a younger Rochester, who is closer to Mr. Darcy than the saturnine figure of Bronte's novel. What it doesn't offer is a great deal of excitement. The temperature hardly fluctuates when we meet Mrs. Rochester at the "mouth of hell", and strangely, Fukunaga denies us the scene in which Grace's patient burns down Thornfield Hall. More crucially, we are denied the merciful epilogue in which Rochester regains sight in one of his eyes in time to look upon his firstborn in favor of a more somber conclusion.

Dr. Reynolds's review is very accurate but I'm not sure why he calls it "the best of a weak class." (Which class?) It seems to me Zeffirelli's version has a wider emotional range and the best Jane on film (Charlotte Gainsbourg).

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

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Steve Sailer concludes his review thusly:

The main question in adapting Jane Eyre into a 115-minute movie is what to exclude. This latest Jane Eyre skimps on the novel’s more Romantic and Gothic aspects, such as the ghostly scratching on the walls of the isolated country estate. Similarly, Jane’s gift (or curse) of hearing loved ones’ voices in her head is reduced to one tasteful scene. Mr. Rochester’s dog Pilot, a significant figure in the book, gets merely a cursory shout-out at the end. The most bizarre plot twist, Rochester cross-dressing as a Gypsy fortune-teller, is tastefully excised.

What we are left with seems rather like Jane Eyre if Jane Austen had written it. Austen, who died in 1817, was a witty, levelheaded product of the 18th century. She would have gotten along well with Ben Franklin. In contrast, the Brontës were the quintessence of the 19th century’s Romantic mood.

After the neo-Romanticism of the 1960s-70s, tastes have moved away from the Brontës and toward Austen. (The name “Emma,” Austen’s second-most-famous heroine, was merely the 448th most popular girl’s baby name in the 1970s. By 2003, it was the 2nd.) Thus, the new movie features much about the Austen-like topics of class and gender battles. Fassbender’s Mr. Rochester comes across more like a bigger, bolder version of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy than like Wuthering Heights’ demonic Heathcliff. Yet Jane Eyre is so expansive and lively a source that this rendition remains authentic and entertaining.

He then adds at his blog:

As some commenters have pointed out, in the endless struggle between witty, sensible Jane Austen and the romantic, hysterical Bronte sisters, the high end of the market for fiction and movies has been, for a couple of decades, in Jane Austen's camp. But the mass market in the 21st Century has been going back to the Brontes. For example, Edward Cullen, the vampire love interest of Twilight, is heavily based on Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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More crucially, we are denied the merciful epilogue in which Rochester regains sight in one of his eyes in time to look upon his firstborn in favor of a more somber conclusion.

Well... no, we don't see him regain his sight. But the ending is still surprisingly merciful. In this adaptation,

he gets to keep both of his hands.

Seems to me that in this, Fukanaga showed Rochester more mercy than Bronte, for whom the

disfigurement

was evidence of God's judgment on Rochester for past sins.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Seems to me that in this, Fukanaga showed Rochester more mercy than Bronte, for whom the

disfigurement

was evidence of God's judgment on Rochester for past sins.

True. I still say he looks too good for a guy who survived a raging fire!

I'm afraid it didn't come across in my first post how much I enjoyed this version. The only thing that surprised me was how muted the horror elements were. Chalk it up to the misleadingly creepy trailer.

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

Twitter     Letterboxd

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The only thing that surprised me was how muted the horror elements were. Chalk it up to the misleadingly creepy trailer.

Yeah, what about that trailer? The moment at the end of the trailer where Rochester's eyes go coal-black... that moment isn't in the actual film at all!

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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