10 September 2011

It's Grim Up North, Episode 94

I don't like period dramas. Bront√ęs, Janes and Austens have never appealed and lest I be accused of bias against female 19th century writers, I don't like Dickens, Hardy or Thackeray either. Call me a philistine, but I really only enjoy reading books written after about 1940 (or in 14th century Italy). And call me a philistine, but I'd just rather watch Clueless than read Emma. I struggled through Wuthering Heights and one of Austen's novels (not P&P; probably S&S) and decided I'd done due diligence.

So, I am not exactly the target audience of the new Jane Eyre film but there aren't many good films out at the moment and although Kill List was higher up on my must-watch list, Odeon currently have a 40% off voucher and Kill List wasn't on at convenient times in any of the central London Odeons.

I haven't read the novel or seen any of the film or TV adaptations but I knew the plot and so there were no great surprises. Mia Wasikowska, doing her third different accent in as many films, was great as the eponymous Jane, although Judi Dench, playing Mrs Fairfax, rather stole the show, even though she didn't have many scenes (almost all of the laughs and titterings were in response to her lines) and although neither of the leads were British, many of the smaller roles were taken by Brits I've seen in other recent films or TV shows, such as Holliday Grainger (Any Human Heart), Tamzin Merchant (last seen losing her head in The Tudors), Craig Roberts (Submarine), Imogen Poots (Bouquet of Barbed Wire), and so on. As for Mr Rochester (Michael Fassbender), well, he was perfectly handsome (despite his claims to the contrary), charming and contradictory.

The film managed to achieve an air of gothic unease and the moors looked beautiful in a dramatic, isolated kind of way but although I tend to prefer dramas to comedies, Jane Eyre was a little too dour and a little too full of miserable, stoical northern peeps for my liking. At just over two hours, it was also a little too long but this wasn't helped by Odeon incompetence: someone thought it would be a good idea to turn on the lights ten minutes before then end of the film. Nice one, Odeon...

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