Unwatchable Jane Eyre

September 17th, 2012

Remember a while back when I raved about Zeffirelli’s film of Jane Eyre? I mentioned at the time that I had requested the 2011 film by Cary Fukunaga from the library and was eagerly awaiting its arrival. Well it came, and I set out to watch it, with a surprisingly willing husband in tow.

Jane Eyre Poster

I don’t know what I was expecting. Fantastic, meticulously accurate costumes? Ramped up sexual overtones? A well-developed St. John character? At least the latter seemed a reasonable hope, considering that the actor playing St. John received a co-star’s billing.

Alas, whatever else the film had to offer, its sadly stilted dialogue (a fault that seems to plague most historical literary dramas of recent years, case in point, the most recent Pride and Prejudice fiasco) and jerky scene-shifting made it utterly impossible to watch. We turned it off about a third of the way through and could never bring ourselves to try again.

For the record, I actually liked the costumes, but only from an aesthetic point of view. They captured the edginess of the 1840s, but more in spirit than historical or literary accuracy.

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