Tying up 2015 with Jane Eyre

The year is coming to a close and as a result WordPress have helpfully reminded me with a little end-of-year email how little I have contributed to the blog this year and it’s truly pitiful. I have literally about 60 titles to catch up on – and that’s awfully behind I know – but it’s been a pretty hectic year.

I’d like to take this opportunity, which strays a little from my overall theme, to talk about a film adaptation – but it’s a film of a classic novel so that counts, right? Snuggled up in my Christmas throws I sat down the other evening to a viewing of Jane Eyre – a book you might remember I didn’t particularly love. In case you’ve forgotten click on this link and have a read:

https://thebookreviewpage.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/jane-eyre/

The version I watched was the 2011 adaptation starring Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre and Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester. Both gave outstanding performances and I thought them both very well cast. Jane was plain Jane, as described in the novel – though she did have an annoying hairstyle with her ears poking out for most of her time at Thornfield – and suited the part well. Mr Rochester did a fine job also in his role and was pretty convincing in portraying his feelings for lower-than-average-Jane – I mean she was a 3 at most! On another plus Fassbender wasn’t as greasy or haggard as Toby Stephens in the 2006 mini-series and Wasikowska is blessed with a normal sized upper lip unlike Ruth Wilson.

Jane Eyre

Another excellent bit of casting is Judi Dench as Mrs Fairfax. She’s just the right amount of posh with a generous amount of kindness and just a hint of mum in her. She’s absolutely wonderful – though I do wonder why she’s still poking around in the wreckage of Thornfield at the end of the film like some sort of gremlin. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh but really it makes no sense why she’d be sitting in the debris waiting for Jane to reappear. However odd that seems, I can get past that.

The only real bone I have to pick with this movie is the shift in chronology. It begins with Jane stumbling around on the moors and arriving at the door of Mr Rivers, rather than with Jane as a child living with her Aunt Reed as the novel does. The entire movie is then in told as a series of flashbacks, coming back to the present only a few times to show Jane staring into space in Moor House, the home of Diana, Mary and St. John (pronounced sin’jin) Rivers, or the school house. My issue with this is that it adds absolutely nothing to the story. Every other adaptation has successfully adapted the novel using the correct order of events. It’s just something directors do for the sake of it and I guess that bugs me – don’t fix a problem that doesn’t exist!

jane eyre2

Overall I think it’s the best adaptation I’ve seen and since it covers almost everything accurately I believe it’s one of those films that renders the book as unnecessary read. Yes it misses out stuff like the story of Adèle’s mother Cèline Varens, the questionable love story between St. John and Rosamond Oliver and my personal favourite, Mr Rochester dressing up as a gypsy woman, but films must make cuts and I think the directors chose to omit the correct amount of superfluous sub-plots.

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