måndag 26 november 2012

Jane Eyre 2006

I am determined to watch at least two filmatizations of Jane Eyre, made into TV series. Why I have chosen precisely the following two out of the selection of over two dozen films/movies of the famous gothic novel is because I have heard by various netizens that they are the best.
The first (2006 version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens) is a production by BBC, each episode is approximately 1 hour long and the episodes are a total of 4.

At first I was bewildered as to why people thought this was the best version, but as Jane and Mr. Rochester’s relationship start to develop (in the second episode) and I see their interactions, I fully understand it. Stephens and Wilson have an undeniable chemistry and are both excellent actors. What I miss though, is the language. Call me picky but I am in love with Charlotte Brontë’s prose and compared to the 2011 movie, the language has been changed too much in my opinion.

On the plus side, (compared to the 2011 movie) when little Helen Burns died, I actually cried. And they kept the scene with the fortuneteller/gypsy; wich in my opinion is one of the best parts of the book. Even though they changed it from being Mr. Rochester, to a hired fortuneteller, this change is quite understandable as it would indeed be hard to make Toby Stephens look like a an old woman, convincingly. I will tell you why I love this part so much, it is because this is the foundation for my love for Mr. Rochester; his playfulness, his sense of humor, and his sneakiness. But it also shows his deceitfulness, in a much milder manner than Jane shall find out later.

Have you ever seen a man look so severe at his own wedding?

The other scene I love that they kept is when Mr. Rochester tells Jane about his past, about how he got Adéle and the heartbreaking story of his love for Adéle’s mother, who cheated on him. It humanizes him and we get to know him better (and can later on pity him even more with what’s to happen) and I missed this part also in the 2011 version wich is more to the point all in all.

In this 2006 version they also had the ending I so longed for in the 2011 movie but never got: Jane came to Mr. Rochester by the fireplace, she cheered him up, made him jealous over St John, and then the story ends with a scene of them as a family in front of their new house. And yes, dear reader, as I saw Jane and Mr. Rochester happy with children and Jane’s cousins coming to visit and posing for a family photo (or painting as it were) I did cry! I was just so happy she finally got the happy ending she deserved.

A note on the actors:
Though I am absolutely crazy about Michael Fassbender as Rochester, I must give credit to Toby Stephens for his superb performance.  He managed to bring out the cheekiness and charm of Mr. Rochester while still portraying his broodiness and wild temper perfectly and I believed him 100 percent!

Toby Stephens as Edward Fairfax Rochester

As for Ruth Wilson, she had that special ability to be able to act calm and composed even in dark situations, but one never mistook her for being indifferent, she delivered her emotions subtly as Jane Eyre would do, but there was never any doubt as to what she was feeling.

Ruth Wilson as Jane Eyre

As for St. John I couldn’t help but to think he was too amiable; St. John is supposed to be a cold hearted man but in this version, I actually like him. And I don't think I'm supposed to. I guess he was too happy, he smiled too much. 

Andrew Buchan as St John Rivers

 Conclusion: I enjoyed this version a lot. Partly because of the scenes that were included that I like and think are important, but also because of Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilsons first-rate acting. And now that I have seen the entire mini-series the language doesn't bother me as much. Because in this version I think the simplification of the language actually makes one understand things better, for instance St. John's character. It is never unclear what is happening or why, so because of that I have to retract my previous statement of objecting to the lack of Brontë prose.

The other version I’m going to see is the 1983 version (wich was a year before I was born :P) and this one has the total of 11 episodes and stars Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton. Mr. Dalton looks a lot like I have imagined Mr. Rochester when I read the novel, because he is described as having dark eyes and black hair, wich Timothy Dalton has (or if it’s not black, it’s the closest to black I’ve seen yet.) Some could claim he is too good looking to play Mr. Rochester, but I say there is no such thing as a man who is too good looking. No, I’m just kidding, but I think he could be a good Mr. Rochester and I hope he will be! 

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