“You examine me, Miss Eyre, do you think me handsome?”Posted: April 9, 2011
And I had to fight the urge to answer, “Yes, I do think you handsome, because you’re Michael Fassbender and not Mr. Rochester.”
When I first heard about the casting for the newest adaptation of Jane Eyre, I wasn’t so sure. Mia Wasikowska… eh, OK. Michael Fassbender is a fine, fine man, but that’s the problem – he’s too young and too handsome to play Mr. Rochester. Jamie Bell is too young and not handsome enough to play St. John. Sally Hawkins is too young and kind-looking to play Mrs. Reed. Judi Dench is a little too old and not kind-looking enough to play Mrs. Fairfax (aren’t there any other old British actresses left?) I could go on and on and on.
Mr. Rochester he’s not. *sighs dreamily* 😀
Then I saw the trailer, and I felt a little more confident, mostly because the movie looks great, so I was willing to give it a try. So, finally, this Thursday, I went to see it.
I should have listened to my first instinct.
The movie isn’t exactly bad, but it’s… I don’t know, blah. Is it because for me there is one and one version only of Jane Eyre, and that’s the 1983 one with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke? True, Timothy Dalton is too handsome to be Mr. Rochester too, but at least he has that dark, brooding look. Michael Fassbender is just… pretty. I guess my problem with this version lies mostly in the casting, because I don’t buy any of those actors as the characters. It gets a little better toward the end of Act 2, with the proposal and the discovery of Bertha Mason (by the way, Bertha? Too pretty and not crazy enough.)
But then when Jane comes back at the end, you know how Mr. Rochester is supposed to be all disfigured? Nope. None of that. They just gave him a beard and some milky contacts. So he looks part hobo, part Jesus. I know his being disfigured is not that important here, because that’s where the movie ends and Jane and Mr. Rochester never talk about St. John and how he compares to Rochester and how Jane still wants to stay with Rochester no matter what (but then again, Jamie Bell cannot compare to Michael Fassbender.) But come on! He was consumed by fire! At least give him a scar or something. It’s like they’re afraid of making him ugly.
Can’t blame them though.
Oh, but the movie did do one thing that at first I found jarring, but on second thought, I rather liked: it cuts out the entire thing about the Rivers being Jane’s cousins. They’re just a kind family who take her in, so when she inherits her money, she shares it with them. I like it, because in the book, this has always been the part that annoys me (and not just because St. John is such a douche) – it’s too big of a coincidence that she just happens to stumble upon her long-lost relatives.
All images courtesy of Enchanted Serenity of Period Films.