- As per usual, you will die of shock to know that I have never read this book. Most of the time I like to think that this allows me to judge something on the merits of the film itself but mostly it just highlights how poorly read I am. (I do not like fiction, is that a crime?)
- I suspect this material is better done as a miniseries than as a two hour film, as I’m quite sure you cannot adequately deal with the necessary character development in a two hour time frame. (At least, this version cannot.) At one point Mr Rochester tells Jane, just prior to his proposal, that the two of them have become great friends and I found this rather startling because I wasn’t sure at what point this had at all happened in the film. Jane arrives at Thornfield and Rochester seems happy (if unbalanced and abrupt) to have someone who can give as good as she gets verbally. Sure. Rochester’s got a bit of a pet and seems fond of Jane despite her constant “Yeah, I’m just going to go over here, now…” moments. But there’s no sense of deep friendship between them and their apparently intense and unyielding love for one another seems to pop up because it exists in the book and not because there’s been any real reason for it to exist in the film. I find this moderately problematic.
- I’m not sure that Mia Wasikowska really works for me as the title character. I think I wanted Jane to be more… spunky? Does she have more personality in the book? Rochester comments that she doesn’t ever laugh but I feel like I want there to be something more mischevious or humourous or biting or something in the way she speaks to Rochester; she’s constantly taking him down a peg in a way that sounds like a compliment or obedience but absolutely isn’t, yet it comes across completely flat and without any tone whatsoever. It was only when she was explaining why she had to leave Thornfield after mistakenly thinking Rochester was getting married that there seemed to be any life to her. I get having to maintain a sober exterior in front of your employer but I feel like that sobriety is at the expense of the kind of passion and fierceness all the other characters seem to be attributing towards her.
- I will fully admit that X-Men: First Class has sent me headfirst into a a full blown Michael Fassbender obsession and that was the main reason for seeing this movie after it’s already been out for three months. Fassbender is serviceable in this but Rochester, like Jane, is undeveloped. He storms around in bipolar tirades at the start of the movie, only for his unpredictability to completely disappear (HAS THE LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN CURED HIM?!). Then, out of nowhere, he’s all needy and “Jane, come back soon… Jane, don’t go on vacation to visit your bitter aunt… Jane, why are you leaving the boring party I’m throwing in honour of a woman who is verbally abusing you and everyone in your profession?” Just… agh, this character is a douche. Fassbender can do the intense smouldering thing pretty well so that works in the scenes that call for it, but sometimes it just comes across as silly, such as in the “You saved me from a fire but I’m confused why you don’t want me to bone you in thanks” scene. And if you’re going to tell us that Rochester and Blanche Ingram perform singing duets to the delight of party guests all over England, you sure as hell better let Fassbender sing! Missed opportunity right there, people.
Also: I would have preferred bushier mutton chops. I think that they think they made up for this with the big beard at the end, but I’m not fooled.
- It’s weird seeing people give Judi Dench verbal smackdowns. Don’t they know she’s M?
- Wow, I really hated the secret hidden mentally ill wife thing. What should have been Rochester’s own tale of woe was just awkwardly inserted and totally bizarre. This is seriously how the story goes? Because I feel like if this hadn’t been a book first and was written into an original screenplay, this would never have made it past the first or second revision.
- Aesthetically and atmospherically the style really works to suggest Jane’s isolation and aloneness but unless you’re Terrence Malick, I kind of need something more to go on.
- I really love it when people who have wards hate children. A+ stuff every time Rochester had to talk about or deal with Adele.
- The trailer made this look way more supernatural than it actually was (which is a good thing).
- IMDB claims that if you like this, you’ll also like Up in the Air, The Reader, Blue Valentine, and I Am Love. Sounds about right, as I loved none of those movies.
Categories: 2 Stars