Saturday, October 8, 2011
Jane Eyre (2011)
Okay, this is my first movie review, and here's how it's going to go.
I plan to review movies I either haven't seen or haven't seen in a while. I don't want to be biased.
I want to present the good and bad sides that I saw in a movie, because every movie will have flaws, including my favorites. Please don't hate me if I don't like something that's your favorite. :)
Without further ado: Jane Eyre.
The movie starts, and I'm only thinking two things:
1. "What a lovely soundtrack!"
2. "Is the movie blurry or are my contacts dirty?"
The blurriness, followed by a "shake-cam" was due not to my terrible eyesight or an error of the Blu-ray, but part of the movie. At first I worried that the whole movie would be on "shake-cam," following Jane around like some weird documentary, but my fears were silenced as I watched Mia Wasikowska, our Jane, stumble across the gorgeous moorlands of northern England.
The whole first scene has no speaking parts. It merely shows Jane in the rain on the plains looking pained (now say that out loud five times fast), and her expressions and her body language say everything. I knew from the beginning that this girl was troubled. I knew she had a past: voices echoing her name, silent flashbacks--I was ready for this supposedly stuffy and overdone story!
We see a flashback of Jane as a young girl, being raised--or rather "tolerated"-- by her jerk of an aunt (jerk is going to be the word of the day, folks). You don't see the aunt abusing her. But you know by body language, specific word choice, and even a difference in clothing styles that this woman hates this little girl. Already I feel compassion and a need for justice for young Jane Eyre.
Time goes by, she gets shipped off to a boarding school by her aunt, and the one friend she makes there dies by her side. I could tell already that nothing good was ever going to happen to Jane. She was like the opposite of a Mary-Sue (a character that is perfect in every way, everyone loves her, and usually has amazingly good fortune).
Here's where I start to complain about the movie.
Half the time Jane is in the "present day," hanging out with this man St. John Rivers and his two sisters, and the other times she's flashing back to her time spent as a governess. Since the two events are within a few years of each other, it's hard to differentiate between the two.
Jane works as a governess for Mr. Rochester, who she doesn't even meet when she is first employed. Judi Dench serves as the housekeeper--and since I've known her as Lady Catherine duBourgh and other villainous and cynical roles, I refused to trust this housekeeper.
Jane meets Mr. Rochester at last, and I knew at once that this was her love interest. I leaned forward on the sofa, eager to see why theirs was one of the most cherished love stories of all time...
Right off the bat, Mr. Rochester acts like a jerk towards Jane.
...Okay, he's being curt. Who doesn't have a bad day? Maybe Rochester's just a Mr. Darcy... or Beast, from Beauty and the Beast? Maybe he has a deep dark past, or some legitimate excuse to be rude (to everyone from the little girl he houses, to Judi Dench, to Jane).
At first Rochester was just rude, saying random off-handed comments about her being a witch or her being plain, but then it got really bad--he would very suddenly flirt with Jane, and then leave after she denied him, and then would flirt with another woman who he was supposedly going to marry!
I tried to calm down. Remember Mr. Darcy, Catherine. I bet this guy's got a heart of gold.
Meanwhile, a mystery is going on at the manor. We hear women screaming in the middle of the night. We hear thuds, a man is stabbed randomly, Rochester's room is set on fire, and I was clinging to the couch, begging my mother to turn off the volume. I knew something was going to fly out at me halfway through a scene--why? Because this 2011 Jane Eyre was aiming for a "Horror-esque" film. I remember seeing trailers for it and asking my mom if Jane Eyre was a ghost story. Now it is! And I did NOT sign up for a horror movie!
Let me wrap things up.
We see Jane's forgiving and gentle spirit as she visits her aunt on her deathbed and discovers even more reasons to hate her aunt. Still she forgives her and bears no grudge against her.
We see Rochester being brash, rude, and almost possessive--a quote of his being, "I must have you!" This was from his big "proclamation of love speech." I think it defines their whole relationship.
Jane Eyre had a troubled past and experienced no love. When a man came along (and she admitted that he was the first man she'd spoken to) she accepted any feelings he would have towards her without knowing any different.
Mr. Rochester had some unfortunate things happen to him, but he became callus and harsh because of them. Also, and he himself said this, he needed something to "regenerate him" to make him feel better. This is not what relationships are about! Relationships aren't about getting, they're about giving! HOW IS THIS THE ROMANTIC IDEAL???
How does it add up?
I think this is an extraordinary psychological case study of two traumatized people. I don't think that this is a love story, though.
Fabulous. I have no complaints on the casting or the acting. (Though it threw me off to see Judi Dench as nice. Oh well!)
The moorlands themselves were like a character. So expressive, so lovely, so real! AWESOME! Who thought marshes could be so cool? (I'm never going to say that again)
As a music junkie, I found the haunting classical pieces perfect in every part of the movie, nothing felt out of place or forced.
I loved the sort of twist they put on this classical story to make it raw, intense, and very surreal. However, the "romance" really bothered me and the ending was insufficient and the horror aspect of the film wasn't ideal for the likes of me.
I give it three stars out of five for being artsy with the given material.
Next Week: The Patriot
Leave suggestions in the comments!