“Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.”
I’ve always been a fan of Jane Eyre, in a vague sort of way, perhaps because Jane is really quite practical for a Victorian heroine, and because there is after all something rather satisfying about her rags-to-riches love story. For those who don’t know, Jane is a maltreated orphan who is sent away to a brutal boarding school and, having survived that, becomes a governess at the decidedly Gothic Thornfield Hall, where the dark and brooding Mr Rochester has a secret to hide.
And this evening the BBC showed the new (well, 2011) film adaptation of Bronte’s novel, which I hadn’t yet seen. And I do like a good adaptation.
In all fairness, the film was reasonably close to what I remember of the book, apart from the interesting device of having Jane remember all the Thornfield business from the safety of the Rivers house, and missing much of the horrors of Lowood School (although every film adaptation does that). But, for me, it also lacked atmosphere: the creepiness of Thornfield, with its nightly noises and its dark corridors, the starkness of the Yorkshire moors, the almost Puritanical religiousness of the Rivers house, all reduced to a kind of uniform emotionlessness. Main characters, too, felt undeveloped: Blanche Ingram never actually seemed to pose a credible threat as Mr Rochester’s potential bride, Adele’s vanity and frivolousness was completely absent, and poor old Richard Mason hardly got a look-in.
Jane Eyre was just mediocre. Not horrifically bad, but not very good, either. And certainly not a patch on the original.