JE11 stars Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Rochester. It also features Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, Sally Hawkins as Aunt Reed, Tamzin Merchant as Mary Rivers, Imogen Poots as Blanche Ingram and Simon McBurney as Mr. Brocklehurst. Haddon Hall once again plays Thornfield, and it’s gotten to the point that I don’t know if I can imagine any other house as Thornfield. This is, of course, the adaptation that inspired the Jane Eyre-athon project and, even though I still don’t love it, I am very grateful to it.
I don’t want to repeat what I said back in April, but it all still holds true. I’m still not fond of the idea that most of the movie is a flashback. The last half hour was still terribly rushed. I still think it’s silly that Jane is an heiress but the Riverses aren’t her cousins.
I did listen to the commentary by Cary Fukunaga, and am very glad I did. There were some interesting little tidbits, such as the fact that they filmed the entire movie in a 2+ month period (March — May) and had to add leaves to the trees digitally during scenes that were supposed to take place during the summer. He said he really wanted to be faithful to the book and talked about scenes from the book that were either changed or omitted from the movie, and tells us why. But he never mentioned that the Riverses are Jane’s cousins. I really wanted to hear his reasons for omitting that information.
Given the fact that the movie is only 2 hours long, they spend a lot more time (on a relative basis) on Jane’s childhood than some other adaptations have. Of course, Helen is not quite as devout as she should be, but I really did like the Lowood scenes (as an aside, we see a lot of Helen as a ghost in the deleted scenes). Gateshead was fleshed out more than it was in both JE96 and JE97, which I appreciated because what Jane goes through in her childhood is important to the rest of the story. Unfortunately, there is no gypsy scene, and one speech that was otherwise taken directly from the book has been edited so that the grammar is incorrect. Just before Edward proposes, and Jane still thinks he’s going to marry Blanche, Jane says:
I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.
Unfortunately, hypercorrectness has set in, and in this film, Jane says “…as it is now for I to leave you.”
Dear Moira Buffini,
Here is today’s Grammar 101 lesson: “I” is a subject pronoun. “Me” is an object pronoun. The twain never meet. Subject pronouns are never part of a prepositional phrase; only object pronouns are. The word “for” introduces the prepositional phrase and therefore must take “me” rather than “I.”
So, the next time you think about changing a sentence written by someone who writes better than you do, think again. Either that, or buy a grammar book and learn what the parts of speech are.
I honestly don’t think I’m being nitpicky. After all, it seemed that Buffini’s intent was to lift the entire speech from the book, so why did she make that one change? Did she think that Charlotte got it wrong? If so, I am not only not amused, I am also not impressed.
In the final analysis, I liked the film somewhat less this time than I did back in April. After spending so many months with the likes of Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine, Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke, Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens, etc. I was forced to rethink my earlier impressions of the chemistry between the two leads. This time, I really didn’t see much. Mia’s Jane is sometimes too repressed. Fassbender’s Edward rarely shows me that he’s tortured. It still gets a “meh” from me. It is beautiful to look at, but we know that beauty is often skin deep. There is just not enough substance in this film for my taste. I know it can be done — JE70 (which is 20 minutes shorter and had a tiny budget) managed to do that without all the resources Fukunaga et al. had at their disposal. It’s a shame, too; I had been looking forward to this version and thought it had great potential.
This is the end of the great Jane Eyre-athon. I need to finish a bunch of library books, as well as some books I already own, and I need some downtime to figure out what my next “project” is going to be. I’m leaning towards Wuthering Heights because, in large part, there are so many adaptations out there, and also because I’ve never read it. I started it not too long after I’d read Jane Eyre, but I only read a couple of chapters before putting it down with no regrets. But that was almost 40 years ago, and I hope I can do better this time. I also hope to include Sparkhouse as one of the adaptations, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
I’m taking a break for a bit, but will be back with more blatherings in a week or so. Ta!