Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekly Inspiration: Jane Eyre

Last week, something fabulous happened: "Jane Eyre" came out on DVD.  It had been in my Netflix cue since I saw it at the E Street Cinema earlier this year, and I was thrilled when it arrived in my mailbox.

Before I go into what I love so much about the new version of the film, I should probably tell you a little about my history with the original.

As it is for most kids, watching the Orson Welles 1943 version of "Jane Eyre" was an annual Halloween delight.  Wait, what?  You mean to tell me you DIDN'T watch "Jane Eyre" on Halloween after you came home from trick or treating?  What sort of sad, depraved childhood did you have?  Anyway, when I was a kid, Sarah, our best friend Erin, and I would go trick or treating in Erin's neighborhood, then come back to Erin's house and settle down with our candy, popcorn and Diet Coke for Sarah and me, pretzels and Ginger Ale for Erin, and watch "Jane Eyre."

Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine in the 1943 version of Jane Eyre
I don't know how the tradition got started, but I can remember at least three years where we performed our little ritual: the year I was a spider with a purple hat and some guy asked if I was a Purple People Eater (I was devastated); the year we went as Fifties girls in poodle skirts and cat-eye glasses; and the year Erin went as Cleopatra and Sarah and I went as her "attendants."  For some odd reason, "Jane Eyre" scared the bejesus out of us.  Well, maybe it's not that odd.  First off, it was black and white, which just makes everything scarier.  Then you have Lowood School and the terrible Mr. Brocklehurst (what a great name for a villain!), where Jane's only friend in the world, Helen Burns (played by a young and already beautiful Elizabeth Taylor), dies of typhus in the same bed as Jane.  Yeesh!  Add a creepy mansion, a handsome but cruel master, and a nut-job living in the attic who occasionally goes roaming around in the night, and you've got the makings of a real horror movie.  Am I right?

Peggy Ann Garner and Elizabeth Taylor as Jane Eyre and Helen Burns
At some point in college I read Jane Eyre, but I have to be honest, the novel hasn't stuck with me nearly as much as the film.  I keep meaning to reread it, but first I have to get through the teetering stack of books on my nightstand.

But then, in March, something wonderful happened: Cary Fukunaga decided to direct a remake.  And then something even more wonderful happened: A casting genius chose Michael Fassbender to play Mr. Rochester.

Well helloooooo, Mr. Rochester.
Now, I already knew Michael Fassbender was a good-looking chap from seeing him in "300" and "Inglourious Basterds," but I didn't realize his full potential for hotness until "Jane Eyre."  Mia Wasikowska, who you may remember from Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," was also a brilliant casting move.  She somehow manages to be plain and beautiful at the same time. 

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre
Unfortunately, John does not seem to share my enthusiasm for this remake.  Perhaps it's because he never saw the original, or read the book, or just isn't into the whole Gothic romance thing (I can't fathom why not, but there it is), but during what I consider the (dare I say) sexiest scene of the film, John turns to me and says, "I'm just not buying that she's into him."

Excuse me?  Are we not watching the same film?  Who WOULDN'T be into him???

Sigh.  I suppose shouldn't hold my breath for John to pull off a line like, "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. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly."

Still, it's not all bad.  Once I buy the DVD, I'll be able to watch Michael -- I mean Jane -- any time I please.

No comments: