Lo and behold, the BBC recently opted to adapt another Jane Eyre – with Ellen Page, this time, as murky Jane. I saw Juno over the winter and, for at least an hour, I was completely smitten. What a bright, wonderful, multifaceted, colorful, sly, smile-on-your-face movie; I was taken and head-over-heels in love with Miss Ellen for the duration of a beer and a bowl of cereal, and for probably a little in the morning inbetween my waking and plaque-attack.
It is no secret that I harbor a bone-deep animosity for the Brontes, and especially Jane Eyre. I find it takes itself a little too seriously and is soap-operatically bogged by the weight of its own smug: of course, it must rain all the time; the love interest is tall and dark like the shadow of his past; all is despondent and dead – save an inheritance at about £20,000 because her pap bit the dust. Sure, there is a lot worth discussing in some highbrow, beatnik, all-in-black-and-thick-rimmed-glassed English-4400 course over an inordinately expensive coffee, but I never understood why one might read it voluntarily.
Bronte’s 1847 novel tells the love story of a governess and her master, Edward Rochester, with Gothic flourishes. It’s among the most-filmed English novels of all time, with well over a dozen productions reaching the big and small screens, including BBC-produced miniseries in 1973 and 2006. Among the actresses to play the title character over the years are Joan Fontaine, Susannah York and Charlotte Gainsbourg. [Steven Zeitchik]