Oh dear, I’m a puddle this week because I have fallen in love… with Mr. Rochester! Or is it with Toby Stephens? I’m not exactly sure, but Toby as Rochester is a very, very lethal combination.
I’ve been anticipating the arrival of the Jane Eyre DVD for weeks now, and last Friday it came. Squeeeee…
Of course I had to view it in one sitting, and never had 4 hours gone so fast. I was entranced by Jane, could wholly empathise why she fell in love with Mr. Rochester because – bloody obvious really – because he’s HOT. Irresistibly hot (not just mildly so). I’ve never had the hots for a screen Mr. Rochester before, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Really, the whole series was beautiful. What made this version by far the best version of JE I’ve ever seen? Well, aside from Mr. R being hotter than a thousand suns, it was also because Jane was portrayed as being much more his equal. Sure, that’s how it was in the book and what the majority of versions probably attempted to portray, but strangely enough only this version succeeded. In the versions I’ve seen, Jane was too annoying or too insipid to the point where I couldn’t see how Rochester could ever fall for her the way he did. And since this is Jane’s story, if I didn’t like her then the whole story didn’t ring true.
That’s why Ruth Wilson was an absolute genius. Being just out of drama school and then pulling off a performance like that was incredible. She had a knack of being able to communicate what Jane was feeling just by her expression, and with great subtlety. She gave Jane real strength, so that I could definitely see what attracts Rochester to her.
As for ‘Tobes’, did I see anything beyond the hotness? Of course I did, I’m not so shallow! His Rochester seemed more real to me too, perhaps due to the starker, pared-down dialogue, perhaps because he truly showed Rochester in all his complexity – strong, damaged, humorous, stern, and passionate. You can see him gradually opening up to Jane, see how he really grew to love her. My favourite scenes of course involved the two of them – their first two interviews when Rochester was so stern and cynical, and yet you could see his vulnerability, and how he empathised with Jane when she told him of her childhood. They empathised with each other even then and it was great introduction for things to come. I was so inspired by these early scenes that I’m writing a little vignette about it.
Then of course there’s the fire scene that I wrote about before, but the most touching for me was the reunion, when Jane returned to find Rochester wasn’t, well, the man he used to be. That scene never failed to make me cry when I read it, and its effect on screen was exactly the same.
Making me a virtual puddle…