Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fun with Rochester and Jane

I recently, at the strong recommendation of a friend, saw the 2007 BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre. Why I had not seen this sooner is a mystery, but it is wonderful. I had previously seen two versions (the 1997 Zeffirelli version with William Hurt and the 1983 BBC version starring Timothy Dalton) and neither of these greatly impressed me, both, primarily because of the leading men: William Hurt came off as too old, and didn't have that charismatic spark that I believe Rochester has, and Timothy Dalton... I mean, come on, Timothy Dalton? He's too pretty to be Rochester. However, the BBC got it right in 2007 with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. However, the film isn't great just because the casting matches up with my conceptions of the characters. It is surprisingly faithful to the text, both in letter and spirit. Much of the dialogue is lifted directly from the book, and every important event is accounted for. Of course, there are a few minor changes: for instance, Rochester hires a gypsy woman and hides behind a screen while she predicts the future for his guests, which isn't accurate, but it must be a bit unsettling to see the leading man actually in drag. At any rate, the film is definitely worth seeing, especially if previous versions left you a bit cold, and even if you enjoyed them, this is still a great adaptation. It must really mean something if I can get choked up watching a story that I know so well, and that makes me want to read the book again - which I am currently doing for at least the fifth time in my life.

No comments: