Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006 12:06 am by M.   13 comments
Laura, one of the winners of our recent Jane Eyre competition, has written to us with a review of what she had seen some hours ago in the special screening of the first two episodes of Jane Eyre at the British Film Institute.
I'm sure not everyone will agree with me on some of the points I'm about to raise, but this book is very close to my heart, so I may have viewed the film with an overly-critical eye….
The foremost thing I took away from the preview was that Ruth Wilson was an absolute delight as Jane. She brought a lot of natural charm to the part and although her performance was subtle, the viewer is left in no doubt of what she is feeling in each scene. In my eyes, she has provided the best performance yet for this character. Ruth's Jane is full of humanity, soul and honesty and she instantly wins your sympathy.

After the show, in the Q&A section, Ruth was very complementary of Toby's performance and described him as a "very generous actor." But in truth, she outshone him.

Mr Rochester is one of my favourite characters; he is enigmatic, charming, unpredictable, outspoken and sometimes even manipulative. As you all know, there are many layers to his persona, but Toby seems to have struggled with capturing all of these idiosyncrasies and instead gives (in the first episode at least) what seems to be quite a black and white account. When not being overly gruff, his manner often seems affected and it even comes across that he is not taking the character very seriously…

He improves, however, in the second hour, helped along by the fact that he smirks a lot less and is perhaps not quite so sarcastic. It also doesn't do any harm that he is, indeed, partially shirtless in one of the scenes… (Mr Darcy, eat your heart out ;)

I was also disappointed at how much they changed the dialogue – it was unnecessary – and I noticed that in the scenes which produced the greatest impact, this was left intact.

I hope, however, I haven't given the impression that I didn't enjoy this adaptation, because I did – immensely.

The cinematography is lush, with the most being made of the gorgeous location to bring out the gothic elements of the book, and the film boasts a wonderful score which compliments the emotions of the characters perfectly.

Jane's childhood is rushed through, however, to give her romance with Rochester more screen-time and I find it a great shame that her feisty character was not more exposed.

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  1. Rochester shirtless? Is this in the fire scene, I wonder :P

    and I find it a great shame that her feisty character was not more exposed.

    Is it expressed through connnection to Bertha in this version?

  2. ROFL! I'm thinking of Colin Firth's scene in Pride & Prejudice, aren't you? Perhaps it will eventually become some kind of trademark for the BBC miniseries :P

    I don't know which scene it would be, though. Rochester sleeping shirtless when Jane finds him in the fire? Oh, interesting.

    Hopefully Laura will get back to us and answer these questions :P

  3. mysticgypsy:

    Yes, he is almost shirtless in the fire scene - which is much more passionate than it is in the book!

    I didn't see any connection expressed between Jane and Bertha, but the second episode finished with Jane heading back to her aunt's...

    What I found a little disappointing was that her fiesty comments to her cousin and aunt as a child are either made away with or changed completely... Grrr

    Cristina: I actually popped out to the ladies and had missed some of this scene!

    He is wearing a shirt, but it is unbuttoned... ;)

    If you have any other questions - please feel free to ask! :)

  4. Thank you for explaining, Laura! :)

  5. The fire scene is more passionate? Details, please! They don't do anything outrageous, do they? And while I'm on the subject, how in the world do they put out that fire? It looked HUGE in the trailer. I would think it would be hard to extinguish such a blaze...

  6. I was wondering if it is yet known if the gypsy scene, in the libary is to be included in this adaptation. Although it seems doubtful (i suppose who can blame them!)it was my favourite scene in the book and was disapointed when it was missed out of the Zeffirelli version and had a small hope that someone was brave enough to attempt it. However, i suppose it may be difficult to retain the next 'Mr Darcy' if he has been dressed as a women. Thanks for the reveiw of the screening...can't wait until the 24th!

  7. Hello Rosie,

    I'm afraid I wasn't there so can't answer your question, though I think the gypsy scene should have made it into it.

    I don't see how this is detrimental to Toby Stephens's image as the new Darcy. It's not a whimsical addition and the ladies might find it - and do find it in the book - such a cute gesture on his part to try and see into Jane's heart. It's not as if he spends the whole series wearing skirts :P

  8. Thanks for your reply, fingers crossed that the scene is included.

  9. yes, the gypsy scene is included...

  10. yes, the gypsy scene is included...

  11. Thank you for that :) Rosie will be happy to hear that!

  12. Wow! Thanks alot, can't wait to see it!

  13. Anyone has more details about how the gypsy scene is realized and how close the dialogue is that to the book?