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Monday, September 18, 2006

Other Voices on the Jane Eyre Preview.

The preview crowd who were present at the screening of the BBC's new mini series are out in force now and the message boards are showing the response to the first two episodes has been very positive so far- no didgruntled Bronte enthusiasts so far. Here's a survey that I hope will be of interest (thanks go to Liz for inadervent the tip):

Most reviews are in harmony with the following, by AnnetteG:

Sandy Welch has done a wonderful job with it - I thought it was an intelligent and imaginative adaptation. It has quite a Gothic feel. With four hours to tell the story, she doesn't have to rush things. The house-party is dealt with at length, and we also have time to see the developing relationship between Jane and Rochester in several conversations. And we're promised quite a bit of screen time devoted to Jane's stay with the Rivers family. Jane's childhood is dealt with fairly quickly, but it's done so well and so atmospherically that we get what it was all about without having too much detail.

In the Q&A afterwards, Sandy said that the first episode was originally too long and had to be cut, so some Lowood scenes were lost. But the producer promised they'd be in the DVD as extras - one of them is the scene where Helen's hair is cut.Ruth Wilson as Jane is superb - she has a very expressive face that shows emotions subtly but effectively. I found the scenes after the fire very touching and then heartbreaking - first as she realises that she is in love with Rochester and thinks he has feelings for her, and then as she finds out he's gone off to the Ingrams' the next day and is likely to marry Blanche. Sandy has included that wonderful scene where she draws a rough, monochrome self-portrait, and then a coloured portrait of what she imagines the beautiful Blanche Ingram to be like. And I liked Toby Stephens more than I thought I would. He's not a favourite of mine but he gives a nicely layered performance and I'm looking forward to seeing how his character develops in the rest of the drama.

The adaptation has also gone over well with those who dislike the book:

There's a wonderfully imaginative opening sequence, and the style of filming is much more active and creative than in many period dramas, with some fast cuts and extreme closeups, and sequences on hand-held camera, like those we saw in 'North and South'.I have nothing but praise for Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens as Rochester and Jane. I hadn't thought Toby Stephens an obvious choice for Rochester, but I think he's excellent, investing the character (who I've never really taken to in the novel) with a sense of humanity, despite his initial brusqueness. Ruth Wilson gives a wonderfully nuanced and subtle performance as Jane – she reminded me a little of Anna Maxwell Martin in ‘Bleak House’

I always find Rochester a cold fish in the book but Toby Stephens breathes considerable warmth and humanity into the part and Rochester's tender concern for Jane does subtly emerge and develop and you can see why they make a good couple. Sorry, reading this back, I realise I sound a bit luke warm - but usually I want to attack Rochester with a boathook and pack Jane a bag, so the fact that I didn't on this occasion makes this practically a love letter!
I was certainly won over by Toby Stephens' Rochester and thought Sandy had really managed to convey her view of him as an essentially sympathetic man, something I struggle with from the book. Here he seems a tortured soul, but with great charm, and the relationship between him and Jane is very well delineated and has tremendous warmth.


Laura said...

After reading some of these comments, I feel that I may have been overly harsh.

Perhaps I judged too quickly...

Liz said...

Excuse the inadvertent tip! I wasn’t sure how often you visited those boards. (Did you notice they have a Jayston thread now? ;-) )

It is particularly nice, as you say, that the non-fans have been won over as well.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore the 1973 version with Michael Jayston and have always thought it the best, but I think at long last this may be a worthy successor, I really like the look of Ruth and Toby and the trailers have impressed me so far! Can't wait to see the whole adapation.

Brontëana said...

to laura:

A first impression is all you have to go on right now. It could be worse than it seems too ;) I really did not care for the gruffness from the episode one preview clip until I had seen it several times.

Brontëana said...

to liz:

Actually, I never go there. I only have a password at all because now and then someone will direct me there. I did notice the Jayston thread. ;)

It is odd too. Perhaps because we get to see what Rochester tells us happened in his past? The lack of sympathy that people have for him often surprises me: he makes one elementary mistake in his life, and is too rash to 'keep cool.' When I read Charlotte's intention that she had wished to create in him a 'man who is radically better than most men' I thought she did that, indeed. I'll be glad to see how they've brought this out onscreen!

Brontëana said...

to anonymous:

I certainly hope so!

mysticgypsy said...

What is the C19 forum? Have I got the name right?

Brontëana said...

to mysticgypsy:

Try this. But you need an account to view any posts.

Anonymous said...

Had a look at the C19 site and it is predominantly people raving about the TD version and not liking much else. It's all a bit one sided, although I have noticed an MJ thread has started, Hurray!