Yikes, I’m late. It’s spring. I saw a bee today, the first one I’ve noticed, and I’ve been dealing with all sorts of vegetation problems outside, the result of several years’ neglect while I wrote, or, more likely, lurked around inside thinking about starting to write. But never mind all that.
I finally got to see Jane Eyre, weeks after everyone else, and I think it’s a good enough interpretation that it could stand a little more discussion. So I loved it, unreservedly, and reader, I would marry this movie given half the chance.
I believe–is this true?–that it’s the only film version that does not resort to a voiceover to link plot elements. Yet the director took some liberties with the timeline, beginning it as Jane flees Thornfield, and actually repeating about a minute of footage when the story catches up with itself. The whole Lowood part of the book (ooh, all that discipline!) is shortened, skimming over Helen Burns and ignoring the saintly Miss Temple. The Rochester-in-drag as a fortune-teller scene was wisely abandoned and if I had any complaint it was that Michael Fassbender was too hot (even in a silly nightie. Oooh). However, even that worked; at the end, he was frail and diminished and sporting a beard a woman could get lost in.
And Jane herself–well, I’ve never liked any of the others, such as the permanently cross and overbitten Ruth Wilson in the 2006 BBC version, the too-pretty Charlotte Gainsbourg (1996), and I thought at moments in the 1970 version with Susannah York that she almost got it. But Mia Wasikowska was amazing; she portrayed such a sense of inner passion behind the mask.
One scene that was omitted, which surprised me at first, was that in which Jane’s wedding veil is ripped in half by Bertha (uh, you do know she’s the mad wife in the attic, right? oops, spoiler). But it made sense in the understated interpretation, abandoning the more obviously gothic elements.
There were some lovely moments–the sexy, and again, understated scene after the fire when Jane and Rochester almost kiss (they rub noses. Aaaw); when Jane’s wedding gown drops around her feet, mirroring the earlier scene where her “fine clothes” are taken from her at Lowood.
The locations and lighting and soundtrack were incredible. Most of it was filmed in Derbyshire, and here are some of the locations. Haddon Hall, left, is Thornfield:
Have you seen the movie? What did you think? What was your favorite scene?