Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Liveblogging Part TWO of Jane Eyre, Masterpiece Theater

Adjust your breeches, bodices, smoulders and stares. Here we go.

9:09 Brilliantly Masterpiece Theaterish addition of dialogue between Blanche Ingram and Edward Rochhester. "What do you really want, Blanche?" says he between cigar puffs. Such artistic license!

9:11 I'm glad the director chose to include the pathetic dialogue between Jane's two bitchy cousins (the nun and the coquette), as well as the drama with Jane's uncle in Madeira, aunt, and inheritance. Aunt Reed is so evil.

"Because I hated you too much, I could not forgive you," says the dying Aunt Reed to Jane. She's coughing, hacking, wheezing, all very grotesque and Victorian. Beside her sits Jane, complacent, calm, seething inside (a super feministly in-tune director would cue up a fuzzy shot Bertha, stalking up and down in her chamber to represent Jane's repressed anger. But I guess that would give away the plot).

9:17--Jane seems so happy to be back at Thornfield; Ruth Wilson can sure muster a sweet smile. "Wherever you are is my home, is my true home," she tells R. Now he's the one who's smiling.

9:19--They're talking about twins being in tune with each other's minds. Clearly this is a symbol for J and R (or Heathcliff and Cathy, for that matter).

9:20--A frosty exchange between Blanche and Rochester as he hands her into the carriage.

9:22--Rochester seems a bit too happy that Jane has no one else in the world "outside Thornfield" to care for her. Now he's torturing her with the suggestion of sending her off Ireland. He'll get his comeuppance though, Bronte-style.

9:23--The view from the attic window. Oooo-oooh!

9:26 Rochester to little Adele on Carribean women: "tantalizing, dangerous." "The Caribbean is not as beautiful as it seems, Adele," he snaps angrily as she hums a strange tune. Flash to the attic, and someone else singing that very same, eerie song... double oo-ooh!....I guess the director is taking my advice from above.


9:33--"Let no man meddle with me, I will keep her," says Roch, after his blissfully accepted, somewhat protracted proposal of marriage. Oh, but someone will. Someone will.

9:36--Fairfax is not happy with this turn of events.

9:37--"We will go on as before," says Jane. Rochester frowns. "He doesn't want to go on as before," says my bf. "He wants to go on otherwise!"

9:47--Rochester seems AWFULL-Y anxious to get married RIGHT AWAY. Could he be hiding something? Or someone?
Every time I read the book or (and now, time numero dos) see a movie of JE I cannot stand this part... the anticipation of Mason showing up to break up the wedding. It's so heartbreaking. And this version is playing it beautifully by focusing so closely on Jane's face as she realizes the secret.

9:52--This madwoman is beautiful, charming, and totally psycho.

9:59--Jane, running away from Thornfield, is under a rock. I know that rock! It's the crag from Wuthering Heights. Now she's wandering on the moors, her hair blowing. I'm getting my Bronte's all confused. Next thing we know, that pesky Tenant of Wildfell Hall is going to show up.

10:00--As her eyes close, she sees the dying Helen. Nice touch.

10:04--I really like this interpretation of the Riverses... they're an annoying but essential part of the plot, and they're not getting short-shrift at all here. Everything about their snug little cottage, and the stout maid Hannah, is just as I imagined.

10:09-- And the Rosamond Oliver plot--I forgot all about that. "It is a crime against god to deny yourself love," says one of the Rivers sisters about her brother, the noble St. John. Can you say "repressed" Diana?

10:12--No matter how kind the Riverses are, Jane still hears Edward's voice. Oh, Rochester! Rochester, Rochester, Rochester.

10:23--St. John, the epitome of restraint. Rochester, the epitome of passion. Damn, the filmmakers keep flashing back to J an R making out hard-core. That's something Charlotte Bronte would have approved of.

10:26--"One Year Later." Naw, it's only one minute later.

10:28--St. John tells a shocked Jane her life story. Says he of Rochester, "he must have been a very bad man." He can never understand what J and R had together. Never. But we can, cause we just saw them making out.

10:33--Jane, newly independently wealthy, faces St. John telling her that it is her "destiny" to go to Africa with him and convert heathen children. Don't do it, Jane! Don't go!

10:38--Besides a turgid waterfall, in a gathering storm, Jane hears Rochester's voice! "JANE!" he gries, "Jane!" She turns and runs.

10:39. Go Jane go! Wait, what happened to Thornfield? It's a ghastly ruin. The story of Bertha's death is acted out in quite a ghoulish, and beautiful way, as she chases a white bird into the abyss.

10:43. The approach to misty, damp Ferndean is so perfect. And Toby Stephens does a great blind man impression!

10:48--I couldn't blog during their reunion because it was too touching, too wonderful.
Rochester to Jane, gaining an inkling of suspicion--"Were there only ladies at the house where you were?"

10:51--I don't want this movie to end. ever. And especially not in nine minutes. It's so, so wonderful. And neither, apparently, does Toby Stephens' Rochester. He likes good times to last. "I want a wife to share my bed every night. All day, if we wish!" And...they're making out horizontally again.

10:55 Nice ending. But why didn't they show Rochester regaining sight in one eye? That's an interesting choice on the part of the director. Very feminist.

10:56. Credits roll. My mother, whose re-reading of J.E. inspired me to try it for the first time at the age of 10, calls me. "IT WAS SOOO GOOOD" we shriek at each other over the phone for several minutes. "I can't believe it's OVERRRR."

What a wonderful four hours folks. Want to help out with a good cause? Contribute this movie to a needy literary adaptation-obsessed britlitophile near you.


  1. Anonymous8:21 PM

    Totally agree!! -- ended up loving this version; true, Rochester was less imposing and powerful than in some, and yet you really felt a lot more of his connection to Jane here... I started off not really caring for Toby Stephens in the role and yet within 20 minutes I was won over. Very interesting and facinating interpretation.

  2. Anonymous9:57 PM

    fellow-ette, can you enlighten us on the author? would she really have approved of all the visible heat between rochester and jane? loved it, but, just sign me, literarily insecure.

  3. I'll let Rochester's words speak for themselves:

    "Because," he said, "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you -- especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame."

    For a Victorian novel, that's pretty racy.

  4. Annemarie4:04 PM

    I really enjoyed this version of JE and really enjoyed your comments on it. Especially the 10:51 one, about the 9 minutes left, and your conversation with your Mom - gave me quite a chuckle over the past few days. I was watching the clock too. The endings of these dramatizations are always over so fast, if you know what I mean.

    re Rochester's eyes - it seems that they kept him totally blind but gave him the hand (which was amputated in the book, wasn't it?)

    I thought the most heart-breaking scene was Jane slowly taking off the wedding dress. Such a symbol of the path not taken.

    I wish they had kept the part where Rochester is quietly waiting outside Jane's bedroom door for her to emerge after the wedding. She almost stumbles over him when she finally comes out, if I remember correctly. Here, he was very quietly knocking, but I liked that in the book, the author made him wait, patiently and quietly, until Jane was ready for him. Jane is definitely entitled to be calling the shots at that point.

    Overall, I did love this adaptation. I can truly say that this is the ONLY show I have ever recorded and mean to keep for future viewing, it was that good.

  5. Irishgirln18:12 PM

    I agree! this movie rocks! And it has the right amount of passion, just like in the book, and how I pictured it would be. not graphic, and not bad. just right! And also the play-by-play between Ruth and Toby. Espacially in the scene where Jane and R are talking about her going to visit the horrid Mrs. Reed, and Jane getting money from Mr. Rochester.
    I LUV that scene! I luv this movie period! I am SO going to buy it, when it comes out!