Saturday, February 3, 2007

Jane Eyre—Part Two

In the second part of this Masterpiece Theater presentation, Jane's abandonment of Thornfield Hall for Moor House allows for some lovely scenery and fantastic cinematography. At first, her trip to the moors seems arbitrary and unexplained, but a flashback later in the show gives us more details of her decision, as well as a strongly affecting, very sensual scene between her and Rochester. Her "romance" with St. John (here a "half-cousin" instead of a cousin) is underplayed, which is a bit of a pity, since his righteous but incredibly annoying self (if you don't marry me, you'll totally go to hell) plays strongly against Rochester's not all that righteous but completely accepting of Jane stance in the novel. The script adds some extrapolation about the final fate of Thornfield, making Bertha Rochester the explicit perpetrator. And in the end, Rochester still has his hand, but doesn't seem to partially regain his sight, as he does in the book's coda. So, a few liberties taken, but overall I felt this was a satisfying adaptation.

However, I found it annoying that the episode descriptions and the trailers for this part gave away the plot twist regarding Rochester's previous wife. Yeah, I know, just about everybody knows the story, but still. It seemed like a cheap spoiler, and if you didn't know the story, the promos would have taken a lot away from it. Maybe I'm just extra annoyed because it seems like spoiling shows in the promos has become a network hobby.

And I'm still struggling with Rochester. I like the way the character is written, and I even like the way Toby Stephens plays him, but he just doesn't look right. Maybe that's shallow of me, but I still think they needed somebody more imposing. With really big shoulders. Hey. it's in the book. "Considerable breadth of chest," it says. Go read it.