Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jane Eyre

Like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre is one of those Gothic Romances that Hollywood can't get enough of filming. This latest version, though, emphasizes the Gothic part of the story.

This Jane is full of menace: Doors creak, curtains billow, things burst into flames. Mystery abounds as well. What tortures poor Rochester? Can a wealthy sarcastic gentleman find happiness with a caustic, homely orphan girl?

Is this the original bodice-ripper, or what? (It's not, of course, what with the Gothic tradition going back to Horace Walpole and, most famously, Mrs. Radcliffe. But I'll refrain from getting all English Major-y on you.)

So, yeah, this is a chick flick, but it's a good, pre-Ephron style chick flick, where the heroine isn't a whiny pain-in-the-ass. Mia Wasikowski (from Tim Burton's Alice) as plain Jane manages to be likable despite exhibiting very few pleasant characteristics. (She's also pretty good at being plain, though her profile in the movie's many "cameo"-type shots is just flawless.) Michael Fassbinder (300, Inglorius Basterds) similarly combined prickly with compelling. Billy Elliot's all-grown-up Jamie Bell (more recently in Defiance) is noble but unappealing when rejected by Eyre. Judi Dench—what else do I need to say besides Judi Dench?

I enjoyed it, though it was a bit slow in places; the spooky atmosphere gave the drama a little extra depth, and the story is particularly an apt fit for the supernatural-feeling elements. The Boy also enjoyed it quite a bit, which says something about him or the movie or possibly both.


  1. I never understood why Mr. Rotchester wanted to go to work for Jack Benny.

  2. And they never said he was black in the book.

    I guess they couldn't do that back then.

    The racists.


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