Every book is a new journey to embark on. I mainly read romances, but I dabble in other genres too.
I didn't plan on doing this, but I thought since I was reading Jane Eyre I might as well buy the movie with one of my Christmas gift cards. I remember seeing ads for the movie a few years back, and I've been wanting to see it ever since so why not do it now?
First the book.
The following reviews contain spoilers.
Jane Eyre will be one of those classics I'll be appreciating more and understanding better through multiple readings. It's definitely a keeper for my shelf.
The writing was beautiful and descriptive. Sometimes it got long and turned dull, but those moments were minimal.
There were some points where the writing struck me. One was the scene where Jane is in the garden and tries to avoid Mr. Rochester. I specifically remember that Jane smells the scent of his cigar before trying to flee from him.
Sweet-brier and southern-wood, jasmine, pink and rose, have long been yielding their evening sacrifice of incense. This new scent is neither of shrub nor flower. It is--I know it well--it is Mr. Rochester's cigar. I look round and I listen. I see trees laden with ripening fruit. I hear a nightingale warbling in a wood half a mile off; no moving form is visible, no coming step audible; but that perfume increases. I must flee.
It's a small detail, but it stood out to me, and as a whole I found that chapter vivid and beautiful. I had such a wonderful time picturing it.
The story itself resonated with me a long time after finishing it.
I did have trouble comprehending Mr. Rochester. His actions were confusing, and it was hard to tell exactly what he was feeling. I suspected he liked her, but his actions didn't make it seem that way. The way he treated Jane when he had guests over was peculiar and kinda mean. However, I liked how he wasn't perfect. He's ugly and not the easiest person to get along with.
I liked Jane a lot and found her admirable. I loved how she was independent and strong-willed. When she made the incredibly hard decision to not marry Mr. Rochester after learning about his secret, I was impressed and proud of her.
I was glad that Jane went back for Mr. Rochester in the end though. The ending was incredibly moving. Instead of Jane being dependent on Mr. Rochester, Mr. Rochester became dependent on Jane. It was hard not to feel bad for him, but he definitely made up for his sins and needed Jane more than ever at that point.
Mr. Rochester's secret of marrying a mentally ill woman and hiding her away reminded me of another novel, Darkness and Daylight.
In Darkness and Daylight, Arthur naively marries a woman out of young love, but his wife soon becomes mentally ill (loses her mind and attacks people). Arthur while trying to keep this marriage a secret falls in love with another woman. But unlike Mr. Rochester, Arthur doesn't want to desert his wife. He stays loyal to her and takes care of her. He resists with all his heart not to be involved with the other woman. Also unlike the mentally ill wife in Jane Eyre, the mentally ill wife in Darkness and Daylight is a full character and actually does stuff and take action.
What a coincidence how I happened to come across a novel that has the same "I'm secretly married to a crazy wife" trope. o_o
Anyway, the part where Jane finds out that John St. River and his sisters were her relatives made me tear up. It was a huge, incredible coincidence that Jane happened to stumble upon their house, but I was glad it happened. Jane wasn't alone anymore! She had family!
You know, I initially rated this 4 stars, but writing this review made me see how much I loved this book so I upped it to 5 stars.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: I bought it.
Amazon: 4.2 out of 5
Goodreads: 4.06 out of 5
Now for the film!
When I was buying Jane Eyre (2011) at the store, the cashier remarked that this was a good movie.
I wish I could give her a high five, because it was absolutely fantastic! I loved it!
Now did it adapt the book perfectly? I would say no. The biggest issue was that it trimmed so much of the plot that it left out some key points. The biggest one for me was that it failed to mention St. John and his sisters were Jane's cousins. It completely omitted it, and it was one of my favorite moments in the book.
The ending was also very sudden. It ended on a highly emotional note, which was absolutely touching, but I wanted at least a few minutes more between Jane and Mr. Rochester.
Ultimately the movie took a minimalist approach to the plot, but it was elegant and poetic and stayed true to the spirit of the book. I like liked how the spooky and dark atmosphere was played up.
Mia Wasikowska was great as Jane Eyre. Her acting is subtle and not very expressive. Some might say she was wooden, but I thought her approach suited the character. When I was reading the book, I thought Jane was reserved person, someone who full of passion but doesn't really show it.
Michael Fassbender made an excellent Mr. Rochester. He's is a little too handsome for it, but I don't think that's a big deal. He definitely got Mr. Rochester's grumpiness down as well as his softer side.
One of the scenes I liked between Jane and Mr. Rochester... I liked them all, but something about this one stood out to me.
Wasikowska and Fassbender had good chemistry, but there needed to be more scenes between them. The romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester is a little sudden and rushed, and I can imagine people who haven't read the book be wondering how in the world Jane and Mr. Rochester fell in love with each other.
Adele was adorable, but her background wasn't fully explained so again those not acquainted might wonder what's up with her.
I liked how there were number of scenes where you see Jane just walking by herself. It shows how independent she is.
Michael O'Connor, who won an Oscar for his costume design in The Duchess, designed the costumes for Jane Eyre, and once again they are splendid. I especially loved the last bonnet Jane wore at the end. It's soooo pretty.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: I bought it.
IMDB: 7.3 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Amazon: 3.8 out of 5