ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Monday, 29 August 2011

Jane Eyre, the latest movie. Have you seen it?


My followers know I'm a fan of the Byronic Hero and even did a series on these moody, broody old-fashioned masculine hunks. So when the latest version of Jane Eyre hit the big screen I was there! And it didn't disappoint (Monsieur Aussie swears he wasn't asleep, he was just breathing heavily.)

A virginal heroine who's in thrall to a powerful and vaguely threatening older man has always been the stuff of melodrama. Today's teenagers lap up Twilight, (the latest incarnation); teens from earlier generations lapped up delicious novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Charlotte Bronte's seminal gothic novel on which the movie Jane Eyre is based is ancient by Twilight standards; it was first published in 1847.

History of Jane Eyre movies

From the beginning of cinema, filmmakers have been attracted to this book. The first known version was made in 1910, one of two that year. At least four more versions were made during the silent film era. The most celebrated version until now was the 1943 production starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, but I preferred the 1996 Franco Zeffirelli version with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane and William Hurt as Rochester.

Skip along if you're not into trivia as there's more! There's been an Indian version (Sangdil, 1952), at least eight television versions and the Australian film Wide Sargasso Sea (1992) filled in Rochester's back story. Hey, don't forget Jacques Tourneur's I Walked with a Zombie, a horror film made the same year as the Fontaine-Wells version which deals with Bronte's basic story in very interesting ways.

The latest version of Jane Eyre


"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
                                     
So what about the latest version? Well, it stars the luminous Australian-born actress Mia Wasikowska as Jane and I think she's marvellous. You might remember her from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I think Jane Eyre was the role she was born to. She radiates solemn intelligence and wide-eyed innocence along with pride and idealism. Edward Rochester, the mysterious owner of Thornfield Hall is Michael Fassbender, well cast also. His first appearance on his black steed is splendid, and creates exactly the right mood of excitement and danger. The love affair is in first-class hands.

I assume if you're reading this far, you know the story. In the book Rochester is far less attractive and Jane is truly Plain Jane; not in this film. The story is told non-sequentially, beginning where Jane flees Thornfield into a wild, storm-tossed landscape, beautiful but dangerous moors. Flashbacks are used to take us back to Jane's childhood, orphaned and miserable. I'm glad the filmmaker didn't spend too long at the hideous charity school Lowood as the book descriptions have haunted me since I first read the novel as a young teenager. How could adults be so cruel to children? We do see poor, doomed Helen Burns...

When Jane is sent to Thornfield as governess to Adele (delightfully played by Romy Settbon Moore), the ward of the usually-absent Rochester, she finds a friend in housekeeper Mrs Fairfax (Judi Dench wonderful as usual.)
"Why did you run away? Why didn't you come to me girl? I would have helped you."

The British class system of the 19th Century is captured in detail and the landscape is given a poet's vision - beautiful and lowering.

To me, this is the best version yet! I hope you go see it. I can't wait to re-read the novel yet again.




46 comments:

  1. I'll admit, I haven't read the book or seen any of the movies. (Unfortunately, I have sat through Twilight.)

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  2. Oh poor Alex. I've read the Twilight books but only seen one of the movies, New Moon. It wasn't too bad.

    Denise

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  3. I'm glad you liked it. I have heard mixed reviews on this one. I have seen all the other version so I guess I must see this one and make up my own mind.

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  4. Clarissa, I'll be surprised if you don't enjoy it. D

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  5. Oh, oh, oh, I've heard about this, but didn't realize it was out. Thanks for the review. I can't wait to see it. LOVE LOVE LOVE Mr. Rochester. (Also loved your series on the Byronic heroes. Very well done.)

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  6. Anne, sweet of you. I enjoyed doing that series so much. Any excuse to get a pic of Colin Firth on my blog! Go see this, it's great. D

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  7. I haven't seen this yet but have been dying to since it was released. I've got in in my netflix queue!

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  8. Susanna: I hope you really enjoy it on netflix. D

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  9. It's coming out on video soon (if it's not already out), so I'm sure I'll be watching with the spouse. Good to hear good things. :0)

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  10. Good for you watching with the spouse.
    D

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  11. I loved it! Dame Judi Dench is such a dream actress.

    I have found historical drama's to watch on Youtube. I am hooked.

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  12. I had no idea there was another version out! I must go see it.

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  13. I went with my husband and really enjoyed it. It was cute how he kept leaning over to me and asking, "Is this in the book?"

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  14. I cannot WAIT to see this! And I didnt even know about it, so thank you!! Its one of my all time favorites! And like you...now I have an excuse to read it all over again! :) Hooray! What a great post!

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  15. How on earth have I missed this? I can't wait to see it!

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  16. I haven't read Jane Eyre--I should get around to it!

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  17. Sounds like an interesting remake.

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  18. I went through a period of complete obsession with Jan Eyre a few years back and had to watch every version I could get my hands on. I ended up dragging my daughters and my sister into the obsession as well. When this version came out we went to see it immediately. It was good. I didn't dislike it. But there are still two other versions that I like better.

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  19. Hi L'aussie, fellow campaigner here. I LOVE that you're into the Byronic hero. I'm studying Romanticism and like to read Childe Harold and Don Juan when I need a break from life. I look forward to getting to know you and your blog throughout the campaign.

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  20. Glynis: Isn't the Dame amazing in everything?

    KarenG: So did mine when he was awake. Why do they do that?

    Brynne: Enjoy! I can't wait to get my nose into the book again once I get through all the current reads.

    Sarah: Let me know what you think.

    Golden: Hope you do and I know you will enjoy it.

    Helen: Oh I thought you English would have already rushed to see it!

    inluvwithwords: There have certainly been some wonderful versions. I think William Hurt's 'Jane! Jane!' was the most haunting.

    Hi Anna: Glad we have similar tastes. I hope we get to know each other better too!

    Denise

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  21. I saw the "old" movie so long ago I can't remember it.

    But you've hooked me. When the movie comes out on DVD, I'll watch it. But I can download the book, I think for free. I'll do it. (I just finished The Unbreakable Child, non-stop. It stunned me; it was SO good. Not sure the "slower paced" novel will hold my attention, but it seems like I should give it a try or not tell anyone I was once a literature major!!)

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  22. Ann: Ha ha. You literature majors! Oh it's free is it? Must have a look. My copy is stored ATM. You'll love the movie. D

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  23. Sounds wonderful, but I hadn't even heard there was a new version!

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  24. Shannon: Well now you know! D

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  25. Jane Eyre has been one of my favourite books since I was in my teens, and I've seen several film versions as well as TV adaptations. Looking forward to this new one - it's released here in the UK on Sept 9th.

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  26. Isn't that strange that its been running here for 2 weeks! Hope you enjoy it! D

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  27. I love Jane Eyre (as love everything from that era)! Glad to hear the new movie was so well done. I'll have to check it out!

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  28. Denise, got your message on my post yesterday about formatting. I can't access your blog for your email address so feel free to mail me anytime. I'd be happy to tell you what I know or point you in the right direction to what I don't.

    piedmontwriter at gmail dot com

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  29. Loved this movie! Have watched it numerous times. A definite keeper for the DVD library.

    I'm in your group on the campaign trail. Just thought I'd say hi!

    Kathi

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  30. Hi,
    I'm a fellow campaigner and I'll take Jane Eyre over twilight any day.

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  31. Heather: I'm sure you'll love it!

    Anne: I'll be in touch thanks.

    Kathi: Welcome campaigner.

    D

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  32. I've seen all the versions, including Wide Sargasso Sea. I was most hopeful about this version because I liked the actors, well, love Michael Fassbender, but honestly I was disappointed in the execution. I read a post by Doralynn Kennedy on this version that captured what I felt was off. Mainly the scenes were cut too short not allowing for enough development of the characters and the pace felt rushed at times.

    I still enjoyed it (wish I had seen it on the big screen instead of at home) and would watch it again because of all the things that were done well, namely the acting.

    Definitely worth seeing.

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  33. Hi,

    I don't do cinema: prefer DVDs.

    The best version of Jane Eyre (we have them all - hubby's addicted) is the BBC production starring Ruth Wilson & Toby Stephens. It's superb! Brilliant! Super-Duper! ;)

    best
    F

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  34. I'm so looking forward to seeing this, but it's not out in the UK until September. I have read some interesting articles about it though - there was even one last week suggesting we didn't need yet another adaptation. Course we do!

    Like you, I also have a weakness for Byronic heroes, so will definitely give your series on them a read too.

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  35. Aha! Thanks for the reminder. I've seen one version and I'd like to see this one. I just went to add it to my Netflix queue! :)

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  36. Bridget: Hello fellow campaigner.

    Francine: Yes I love, love, love the BBC productions too! For the big landscape stories I'm definitely a movie girl, DVD doesn't do it for me.

    Helen: Hope you do read my Byronic Hero series. I enjoyed putting it together.

    Carol: I'm sure you'll love it when it turns up on netflix.

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  37. Now I want to watch this, thanks for the history Denise!

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  38. I love Jane Eyre.
    I also love your blog, so much to read, I am going to have to keep coming back... that's all there is to it...lol. Nice to meet you I am a newby in the campaign, looking forward to reading more of you....

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  39. DVD on home cinema is in the room with you. The whole wall bursts into life! The battle scenes in Lord of The Rings scared the hell out of the grand kids: they cringed, and they're boys!!! The joke being they were supposed to be sleeping in tents in the paddock that night.

    Things are not too chirpy this end, yet, but I'd rather be busy than have time to stop and think...

    best
    F

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  40. Francine: Oh to have a home cinema. Now that would be pretty cool and very handy when you live way out in the sticks. Sorry to hear things aren't so good. Will be in touch.

    D

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  41. I can't believe I haven't seen this one yet. I'm sure it beats the BBC version I saw years ago ... boring!!!
    I'm a fellow 'Campaigner' - I also see you've been doing the naNo thing. Me too, but I haven't turned my WIP into anything pitchable yet ... too many other things on the go

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  42. Tracy: Hi! Glad to meet you! D

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  43. Hello L'Aussie. I haven't seen this Jane Eyre yet (did you all notice how it was a limited release and not playing in all theaters?)

    That said, I do love Jane Eyre and my favorite is the one with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson and do plan to see this one;)

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  44. Hi Denise, I'm a Campaigner as well, though I have no idea which group we're in together!

    I love Jane Eyre, though I haven't seen any of the movies yet, I've only read the book. I think that I NEED to see this movie, though!

    Thanks for the review of it, I'm so excited now!

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