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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Liveblogging Part One of Jane Eyre, Masterpiece Theater

Toby Stephens, Ruth Wilson, served up in a fest of towers, moors, and mysteries like the Brontes do it best.

9:10 So I've been utterly taken in by the big-eyed precociousness of the actress playing young Jane... turns out she's Georgie Henley, who played none other than Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia. She's much less wide-eyed and Christ-like here, leaving that to the consumptive Helen Burns, and gets the somewhat blasphemous character of young Jane right, impressive for someone so young. She's utterly adorable. Yes, I said "utterly" twice in one paragraph. Ten minutes in and I'm already going Victorian.

9:30 As for the older Jane, Ruth Wilson, she has intense eyebrows and a very sensuous mouth--I'm undecided as to whether she's too strangely seductive to be our plain Jane yet.

9:50--I take it back. She's got the prim thing down. And Toby Stephens' grumpy Rochester is good too, if a bit effete (more like an Austen hero, p'raps?). But I miss the electricity I saw generated in the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds pairing. I'm not sure whether the actors are not intense enough or the screenplay is too meandering, but I'm not as drawn in as I usually am by anything Jane Eyre or anything Masterpiece Theater for that matter... on the other hand, it has more of the sense of humor that marks the Jane/Rochester banter so well..

9:56...uh-oh, a lengthy gaze in the looking glass signals that she's starting to fall for E. Fairfax Rochester. Trouble Ahead!

10:00 The fire in the bedroom is way gothic and out of control. "This is creepy," says my devoted boyfriend, who is now watching his second Jane Eyre adaptation with me in a matter of weeks. This makes him more of a hero than any Rochester or Darcy would-be in the world.

10:03 Taking its cue from Matthew "Screw diving in lakes, I signal sensuality when I clench the hand that Kiera Knightley's Elizabeth touched" our Jane Eyre kisses the hand that Rochester, post-fire, grapsed eagerly, and falls backward into a reverie thinking of her "master". Meanwhile, he stares through his window at a light in the turret, where we know the madwoman resides.

10:05 Grace Poole after JE confronts her: "It would be wise to lock your door as soon as you go to bed. Who knows what might happen?"

10:08 Jane to herself in the mirror: "you were mistaken, Jane Eyre," (she's thinking of Blanche Ingram). Then she draws an angry portrait of herself frowning. Dude, Charlotte Bronte was way before her time...this is seriously emo.

10:12 This version is growing on me.

10:14 Rochester and Blanche Ingram are cantering over the hillsides.

10:22 Blah blah pseudo-symbolic drawing room patter about "tainted blood" and child-rearing that's pissing Rochester off.

10:25-Rochester's flirtation with Ingram and torment of Jane Eyre is coming across more snarky than savage.

10:28: They're playing with a Victorian ouija board! "Heart" becomes "heartless" for Blanche. Oh Edward, you're so nasty!

10:38 Edward F. Rochester, apres the stunt with the old gypsy woman; "Oh Jane, I wish I were on a desert island somewhere, with only you for company." Wow. That's quite a line, screenwriters.

10:44 The Dick Mason/Rochester attack scene is handled grotesquely and frighteningly. "She tried to suck my blood," sobs Mason as he collapses on the bed and the doornob rattles incessantly.

10:55 closing shot of Rochester in a flaming red coat... and of Jane watching Rochester and Blanche Ingram...and then a mysterious woman watching it all from the attic and breathing heavily. Oh, shit.



  1. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Not a line by the screenwriters -- it's in the book:

    "“I wish I were in a quiet island with only you".

    Look it up!

  2. @Anonymous. Well in that case, Charlotte Bronte gets a giant FAIL. Even our most beloved icons wrote some clunkers, right?

    I have a feeling you've commented before. You need to relax, this is a humorous, silly blog and not meant to be authoritative. And I've read Jane Eyre four times.