What we are left with seems rather like Jane Eyre if Jane Austen had written it. Austen, who died in 1817, was a witty, levelheaded product of the 18th century. She would have gotten along well with Ben Franklin. In contrast, the Brontës were the quintessence of the 19th century’s Romantic mood.
After the neo-Romanticism of the 1960s-70s, tastes have moved away from the Brontës and toward Austen. (The name “Emma,” Austen’s second-most-famous heroine, was merely the 448th most popular girl’s baby name in the 1970s. By 2003, it was the 2nd.) Thus, the new movie features much about the Austen-like topics of class and gender battles. Fassbender’s Mr. Rochester comes across more like a bigger, bolder version of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy than like Wuthering Heights’ demonic Heathcliff. Yet Jane Eyre is so expansive and lively a source that this rendition remains authentic and entertaining.
March 16, 2011
My review of the new movie adaptation of Jane Eyre is up at Taki's:
Read the whole thing there.