Top Ten Tuesday- Favorite Covers of 2020 (so far)

15 Sep

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a Cover Freebie, so I am highlighting my favorite covers out of the books I have read so far this year. In no particular order…

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

1. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

2. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Girl at War by Sara Nović

3. Girl at War by Sara Novic

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

4. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno- Garcia

Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

5. Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

6. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

7. Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

8. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

9. A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Emma Adaptations- Changing Opinions

10 Sep
Emma

As I am still trying to gather all of my thoughts together in order to properly review the new Emma, I thought I should share my impressions of the other Emma adaptations. You may ask why I thought this necessary, as I had already written full reviews of all of them. Well, you see, the new Emma movie got me into a Jane Austen-y mood and I decided to reread the books/rewatch the movies. After all, it’s been something like 10 years since my last marathon. I haven’t been reading the books in chronological order this time, and so far I have gotten through Emma, S&S, and P&P (but only the book of the latter thus far).

My opinion on Sense and Sensibility have remained pretty much unchanged (except that I found the book a bit more on the depressing side this time, similar to my original feeling about it). I have also found that each time I reread Jane Austen, my ranking of Emma and Pride and Prejudice seems to flip. This time, I ranked P&P above Emma, last time it was reversed, and before that it was reversed, etc. But what really struck me this time was how differently I reacted to the various adaptations of Emma on this most recent viewing! I looked back at my older reviews and thought it was only fair that I shared these thoughts. I gained a new appreciation for a couple of the versions that I previously didn’t care for. And another version had just the opposite effect. There was only one that I did not change my opinion on. So, which was which? Here we go…

Emma Poster

To start with, I thoroughly enjoyed the 1972 miniseries this time. Last time, I rated it only a 5/10. I was especially surprised with how much I ended up loving Doran Godwin in the role of Emma, when she was previously my biggest “negative” about the series. I thought she really captured the book character. I already loved Mrs. Elton in this version, but this time she stood out even more. I would rank her now as my favorite Mrs. Elton. All in all, I would change my rating to an 8/10.

Emma Poster

Sadly, the next adaptation did not end on such a positive note. In fact, I could barely make it through (I left the room several times while watching). Which version was this? The Gwyneth Paltrow theatrical film. It was so disappointing! This was the first adaptation of Emma that I ever saw and I used to love it! Yes, it was the “chocolate box” version and it has its flaws, which I acknowledged, but I always had a good time watching it in the past. I was definitely not expecting to have the negative reaction that I had. I made my husband watch it with me and I genuinely thought he would enjoy it too (he typically is not a fan of “old-timey” movies). Unfortunately, I ended up siding with him on this one. The film did not stand the test of time for me- I thought it was way too cheesy. My earlier rating was an 8/10. Now I would only give it a 6/10.

Emma Poster

And on the flip side again, I developed a newfound appreciation for the ITV Emma starring Kate Beckinsale. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I liked Jane Fairfax a lot but overall, I didn’t like a lot of the other casting (especially Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley) and I thought it was too short. This time, I found myself really enjoying it. I also really came to like Kate Beckinsale in the role of Emma. I’m still not fond of Mark Strong’s Knightley, but I didn’t even hate him nearly as much as I used to! Sadly, this version’s biggest failing in my eyes is still the too-short run time, which prevents it from achieving true greatness. Old rating- 6/10. New rating? 8/10.

Emma Poster

And, last but not least, we come to my favorite version- the 2009 BBC miniseries. After my shocking heel face turn reactions to all of the older adaptations, I was actually nervous when I pressed play on this one. Would I end up hating it this time?  My husband was definitely getting tired of Emma, and I expected that he wouldn’t be able to make  it through the whole series, considering he barely made it through the two shorter, 1996 versions. Well, most surprisingly of all, I did NOT have a drastically changed reaction to this one at all! On the contrary, I found myself savoring every minute of it, and my husband actually really liked it too! I still find Romola Garai’s mannerisms to be a bit jarring, but I actually liked her performance even more than before. I noticed that she actually did portray some of Emma’s snobbery from the book that I hadn’t recalled them including (for example, chastising Mr. Knightley for not taking his carriage like a true gentleman).  Old rating- 9/10. New rating? 9.5, just for good measure.

I don’t know what has come over me. It barely feels like the same person wrote the old reviews of the 1972 and 1996 adaptations. I guess it shows how much tastes really can change over time. I’m curious to know if anyone else has experienced such a jarringly different reaction (whether positive or negative) to something they either loved or disliked in the past?

Top Ten Tuesday- Books for My Younger Self

8 Sep

I am back with another Top Ten Tuesday, after skipping last week’s because I couldn’t think of enough to say. If you are unfamiliar with TTT, it is a weekly book meme hosted at http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/ . This week’s topic is Books for My Younger Self.

I specifically included books/series that I have read within the last 10 years, as an adult (specifically, age 23-33), that I think I would have enjoyed a lot more if I had read them as a teen. Some of these were books that I actually did like to some degree, but not as much as I believe I would have if I had been younger. This was due to various reasons, such as my changing taste in books, maturation, fatigue from certain themes/tropes, etc.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Murder Most Unladylike by Robin  Stevens The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Renegades by Marissa Meyer Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes The Awakening by Kelley ArmstrongPrincess in Pink by Meg Cabot
  1. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
  2. Any children’s series by Rick Riordan- I really did like some of his books, but my enjoyment and interest started to wane as the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus series wrapped up.
  3. The Bhinian Empire series by Miriam Forster
  4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  5. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
  6. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  7. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  8. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
  9. The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong
  10. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot- This one is a bit of an anamoly- I actually did begin this series as a young teen and I was obsessed with it at the time. However, I abruptly stopped reading the series after the 4th book, when I lent some of them to my friend, who ended up moving out of state and never returned the books. I ended up buying/rebuying most of the series at a used book fair years later and decided to continue it. They have definitely not had anywhere near the magic for me now, compared to 18 years ago!

Emma 2020- First (Second) Impressions- Parallels with Prior Adaptations?

20 Aug

Emma 2020

This is by no means a full review of this film, but I plan to get to that soon. This new Emma movie has inspired me to do a Jane Austen re-read and re-watch marathon (it’s been so many years since the last time!). I’m currently re-reading Emma, and once I finish, will rewatch the other adaptations and then this one again (with the commentary).

I finally saw this version for the second time a couple weeks ago (the first time did not really count as there were too many distractions). Overall, I did enjoy it, but it is sadly not my favorite Emma adaptation. The film was visually gorgeous, but I didn’t care for the music. Hands down the funniest scene, though, was the shot of Mr. Woodhouse sitting behind all of those screens in the beginning when Emma and Knightley were arguing. I laughed for a good 10 minutes after that.

What really stood out to me, though (and maybe it is just my imagination) were all of the elements that seemed to be inspired by prior versions of Emma. For example, Bill Nighy’s Mr. Woodhouse was reminiscent of the character in the 1972 miniseries- very skinny and actually quite spry and nimble (such as the scene where he jumps down the stairs in the beginning). Like the Kate Beckinsale version, the film also placed a heavy focus on the class system and just how rich these characters were- always showing all of the servants doing all of the hard work to make all of this possible. This characterization of Emma also focused on her snobby side, especially in the beginning. And the Harriet Smith character was a bit more intelligent and less silly than some other versions as well, and gets engaged to Robert Martin before she finds out Emma and Knightley are engaged. (although in this one, that was Emma’s doing so a bit different). It also was a big deal to show Emma “reconciling” with Robert in this one, as she shakes hands with him at the end of the Beckinsale version.

In addition,, the look of the film reminded me of the Gwyneth Paltrow version- with all of the light, bright, and pastel colors. Also, like the Paltrow version, I didn’t feel that the Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax storyline was handled well enough (although comparatively speaking, it was an improvement to that one). It also was quite obvious that Knightley had the hots for Emma, like Jeremy Northam was obvious in the way he looked at her (at least to me!) And, as in the Paltrow version, I thought Emma’s hairstyles were quite unflattering (although in a different way- Gwyneth’s hair always looked so tight and uncomfortable. In this one, the placement of the curly ringlets just looked silly and kind of “off” as a Regency hairstyle).

I didn’t really notice quite as many parallels with the 2009 version, but there were a couple things- the fact that Emma, Jane, and Frank had all lost parents and that their situations ended up being so different was commented on a couple times. Both of them really highlighted the aspect of Emma’s growth and development- in the 2009 version, Emma started as very immature and unladylike; in this one, the focus was on how haughty and snobby she was at first.

So, what does everybody think? Did any of you get any similar impressions? Am I just imagining it, lol? After all, I know some of this is inevitable, since they’re all based on the same book, after all. None of these were meant to be negative criticisms- just interesting. I haven’t seen any of the older versions in some years, so when I rewatch, I will have to see if I still feel the same way and/or notice fewer or more things! Let me know what you guys think.

Top Ten Tuesday- Books I’d Like to See Adapted

19 Aug

I am once again rearing my head after not posting in years. I have had the writing bug for so long, but just never seemed to have the time. I can’t promise that I will be able to post regularly, but I’m not going to let that bother me. Why not? It’s my blog so I can make the rules.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl- http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/. So many times in the last couple years have I read certain TTT topics and wanted to add my two cents, but it would always be too late. For once I have caught one on time!

Here is my list, in no particular order:

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  1.  Evelina by Fanny Burney–  Jane Austen was a fan of Burney’s books (it is believed that the title “Pride and Prejudice” was taken from a quotation in Cecilia). Most are set in the Georgian era, so slightly before Austen’s books would have been set. I have read all of them, but my favorite is the first one- Evelina. It is an epistolary novel, and by far her shortest and funniest. The other books have good plots and characters, but they are far too long and could be quite melodramatic. Still, with a talented screenwriter, any of them could be trimmed into an enjoyable miniseries. So I will give honorable mentions to Cecilia, Camillaand The Wanderer as well.
  2. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte- A much more realistic governess tale than Charlotte’s Jane Eyre. I think fans of Jane Austen in particular, and those who like period dramas but not the typical Gothic Bronte works (Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights) would really enjoy it.
  3. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte- I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I liked the love story, but the writing made me enjoy the book less. It also included Charlotte’s usual prejudices of anything un-Anglican or un-English. However, those are also things that a talented screenwriter could smooth over.
  4. Ruth or Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell– Other Gaskell adaptations have been well-received, so why not take on one of these lesser known books?
  5. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- This is really a comedy of manners set in a world very similar to late 19th century France. There is a paranormal element, but it is very small, and it would really be a period drama with a minimal fantasy element. It shouldn’t require too much in the way of special effects.
  6. Anything by Georgette Heyer- That’s right, anything. I have no idea why no one has been adapting these books! Some particular favorites that I would particularly enjoy would be Regency Buck, Venetia, The Talisman Ring, Sylvester, and The Nonesuch. 
  7. Lady Helen series by Alison Goodman- Paranormal series set in Regency England. This would be amazing if done right.
  8. Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier- A Beauty and the Beast retelling set in medieval Ireland. This book was amazing, and is probably my favorite fairy tale retelling ever!
  9. Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab- A paranormal series set in Regency England. I have so far only read the first book, but the world-building (or perhaps I should say “worldS-building,” as there are multiple Londons in this series) was incredible. I would love to see it on screen.
  10. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym- A comedy of manners set in 1950s London. Austen fans would be sure to like it. I just finished reading this book for the first time and thought it was hilarious. For whatever reason, I kept picturing the characters wearing Regency style clothing, and had to keep reminding myself of the year it was actually set.
  11. No Name or The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins- I cheated and added an extra one! Some of Collins’s other books (The Woman in White and The Moonstone) have been done a couple of times, but these are two of my other favorites of is. Both feature a female protagonist/detective character, unlike the other two I mentioned.

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Not surprisingly, all of these would be a period drama of some sort. I swear I don’t read only classics or historical novels!

Best and Worst Books of 2017

15 Jan

I haven’t posted on this blog in years, but I read so many good books in 2017 that I wanted to write them all down somewhere. This may be the only post in years, or my last post of all time. I want to say I will keep this blog active, but I probably won’t. While the year was probably the worst year of my life- I struggled with hyperemesis gravidarum, had a baby and dealt with residual post-partum nausea and post-partum anxiety/PTSD…. The year also gave me my beautiful son, who will probably be my only child. I do have to say, it was a great year for reading. I didn’t read that many books (at times I was too nauseated to read), but there were a lot of books that I really enjoyed, especially compared to 2016, which was a sub-part reading year. So here were my favorites, and least favorites:

THE BEST

  1. Heart’s Blood by Juliett Marillier- A very loose Beauty and the Beast retelling. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much because I had a hard time with Daughter of the Forest, and it took me a little bit to get into this one as well. But once I got into it, it was so so good.
  2. The Dark Days Club/Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman- Regency and demon-fighting! Another page-turner of a series from Alison Goodman. I am so mad I have to wait for the third book!!!
  3. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner- I put off reading this book for a couple years as I had lost interest in the genre. I wasn’t expecting to love it so much.
  4. Half the World by Joe Abercrombie- I didn’t like it quite as much as Half a King, but it was still a good read.
  5. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin- A collection of three novellas set in the A Song of Ice and Fire World, about 100 years before A Game of Thrones. I liked these better than a last couple ASOIAF books!
  6. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn- I think I liked this more than Gone Girl.
  7. The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell- At times hilarious, at times almost depressing, this is a must-read for fans of The Room or The Disaster Artist movie.
  8. Ross Poldark/Demelza by Graham Winston- I read these before watching the BBC show…which I still haven’t seen. But the books were great!
  9. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini- Probably my least favorite of his books, but I still enjoyed it.
  10. Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett- I won an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway, which I’m really happy about as this was a fun little mystery about a has-been actress turned PI.

THE WORST

  1. More Work for the Undertaker by Margery Allingham- I have not liked her Roderick Alleyn mysteries as much as I expected to after the first book, which I loved. This was especially boring.
  2. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor- It was a mistake to wait so many years to read this sequel to The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I just lost interest.
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon- Maybe my expectations were too high, but I found this extremely boring. The series, at least the episodes I’ve seen so far, was pretty good though.

 

And that’s it for the worst. Everything else was at least mediocre or decent.

 

 

 

Best and Worst Films/Series of 2013

6 Jan

I feel like, all in all, I had a better year in 2013 when it came to movies/series vs. books. There weren’t that many that made my “worst” list so that’s definitely a good thing! I still have not seen Downton Abbey season 4 (waiting for the DVD release), in case you’re wondering why it’s not on any of the lists.

FAVORITES

1. Much Ado About Nothing- This was the 1993 version with Kenneth Branagh. I watched this shortly after reading the play for the first time to help my brother with an English paper. I really enjoyed the play so I decided to watch the film and loved it! The only low point was Keanu Reeves- I don’t know what they were thinking casting him.

2. Call the Midwife Season 2- Although the series really started to stray from the books (they had to, as they used up all the storylines), I’m always happy when a sequel is not a let-down. The one thing about this show that kind of bothers me (but not really), is that Jenny remains by far the least interesting character.

3. Berkeley Square- Purchased this series from Amazon after it kept popping up on the list of suggested items to check out. It’s about nannies in Edwardian London. It was a delightful soap opera slightly reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Very disappointed that it ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger but the series was cancelled due to poor ratings. Apparently it had scheduling conflicts when it aired so no one ever knew when it was on. Such a shame.

4. Lark Rise to Candleford- I watched the entire series and while it was all good, the first season was the best. Why is that the case with so many shows?

5. Catching Fire- Amazing adaptation. I may have liked it even more than the book.

6. Frozen- I could take or leave the 3D animation, but I was happy to see a Disney princess movie where romance is not the main focus (I haven’t seen Brave, but I’m told it’s similar in that regard).

7.  Saving Mr. Banks- I’m not a big Mary Poppins fan or anything but I loved this movie! Whether it was accurate or not I don’t know- but it all looked great and the performances were amazing!

8. The Call- I rented this really late in the year even though I had wanted to see it in theaters. Too bad that I waited! I really enjoyed seeing a thriller with women in the main roles.

9. Prisoners- It was a little too long but I was still glued to the screen.

10. The Paradise (seasons 1 and 2)- I had a few issues with this series (namely, the behavior of the lead characters at times) but I loved it all the same.

WORST

1. Man of Steel- I was really looking forward to this because it looked really good in all the trailers. But the movie was, sadly, pretty horrible. I didn’t have any problems with the acting, but I hated the storyline. And the fight scenes were awful- got pretty redundant once the 50th building was destroyed.

2. Olympus Has Fallen- I had no interest in this and only went to see it because my boyfriend wanted to. Unfortunately I have to let him pick the movies sometimes too. It was very stupid and cheesy, just like I expected. Did anyone else find it funny that the all-American hero was played by a Scottish man, and yet the North Korean terrorist was played by an American???

3. The Paperboy- Rented this because it seemed like an interesting story. It was not. I had no idea what was going on half the time and it was just….really bizarre.

4. Game of Thrones Season 3- What’s this? My favorite book in the series and the TV version of it is on my worst list? I did not hate this series, but it was, on the whole, a disappointment to me. As I said, it was my favorite book in the series so far. But I found the season to be on the boring and draggy side. It had a lot of good scenes in it, still, but I felt like the decision to split the book into two led to a lot of filler. Hopefully the second half (season 4) will be better.

5. Marvel’s Agents of Shield (first half of season 1)- I was really looking forward to this show because I love The Avengers and the related films. But the show has been a disappointment. I would actually like it a lot more if they got rid of the annoying and useless Skye because I like all the other characters.

That’s it for my least favorites. I didn’t hate the last two- they were just disappointments compared to what I was expecting.

Favorite/Least Favorite Books of 2013

3 Jan

First post in one million years! I don’t know if anyone even reads this blog anymore, haha. I don’t think I ever even made a favorites post for 2012……. Anywho, I set a really low reading goal for myself last year- only 50 books. That was mainly because for the first half of the year I was working 60+ hour weeks and had hardly any time for reading. I actually ended up reading 58, which was good, I guess.

To be honest, I don’t really remember any particularly standout books, either good or bad, offhand. I will have to go through my list and see…In no particular order…

FAVORITES

1. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis- Although the finale to the trilogy had a really ugly cover, the story did not disappoint. It was a highly satisfying ending! I just wish it could have had a pretty cover to match the first 2.

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer- While I didn’t like it nearly as much as Cinder, it was still very enjoyable.

3. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin- This was by far my favorite so far in the Song of Ice and Fire series! Unfortunately, I’ve heard the next couple of books aren’t that great so I’m afraid it may have peaked here.

4. Because it is my Blood by Gabrielle Zevin- The sequel to All These Things I’ve Done. I think I liked it even more than the first.

5. The Book of Lost Things by John Connoly- Seemed at first like a children’s story, but it was actually anything but.

6. Curtain by Agatha Christie- Her last Poirot novel, it was written decades before it was published. I read all of Agatha Christie’s books in the order they were published, and towards the end they definitely declined in quality. That’s why reading this was such a relief!

7. Endless Night by Agatha Christie- This was her 70th book out of 80 that I read, and probably the last really good one.

8. Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson- I liked this series much more than I thought I would when I began the first novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

9. Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth- I began this series at the very end of 2012, shortly after getting into the Call the Midwife TV series. I really liked all of the books.

10. Tie between The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham and A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh- After finishing Agatha Christie, I was desperate for some more cozy mystery authors. These two both reminded me more of Georgette Heyer than Christie but I highly enjoyed both and can’t wait to read the rest of their books.

As you can see, I cheated on a lot of the above- listing series and a tie. Haha! Now on to the flip side of the coin:

LEAST FAVORITE- other than the first book, I didn’t actually hate any of these. They were just not very good or they didn’t live up to the hype.

1. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- This book had been spoken really highly of in the YA booktubing community. The description sounded good, too. But I hated, hated, hated this book. Boring, poorly written, cheesy, etc. Reminded me of previous hated YA books like Graceling and The Naming.

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff- A steampunk Japan fantasy! But it was really disappointing and misused a lot of random Japanese that was thrown in.

3. Boundless by Cynthia Hand- It wasn’t bad, but definitely a disappointment compared to the first two books.

4. Reached by Ally Condy- I wasn’t crazy even about the first book in this series, Matched. I’m not sure why I even continued with it.

5. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith- I think the hype killed it. It wasn’t bad, but I would rate it maybe a 7/10. I was so excited for this being such a huge Harry Potter and mystery fan- of course a detective novel by JK Rowling would have to be super amazing, right? Instead, it was just “pretty good.”

6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman- It sounded really cool, but for some reason, I just wasn’t that into it.

7. Black and White by Malorie Blackman- An alternate reality where the white people are the oppressed race and blacks are the privileged. Like many of the others on this list, it was a really cool concept, but I wasn’t blown away.

8. Outpost by Ann Aguirre- I wasn’t crazy about the first book, Horde, and I liked this one even less.

9. NOTHING! Surprise, I couldn’t think of anything else.

Overall, 2013 was a very underwhelming year in reading for me. That’s largely due to the fact that I only read about half or fewer books than I have in the past few years. Hopefully 2014 will be a little more exciting.

Jane Eyre 2011

22 Jul

At long last, my review for the 2011 version of Jane Eyre is here! Is this the most delayed review ever, or what? My DVD was still in the packaging, despite having owned it for nearly two years now! Well, I didn’t watch it right away because I was trying to watch the Jane Eyres in order, and then my computer died… Anyway, I have actually seen the movie, just only once, in theaters. It was actually at an advance screening before the movie came out, so it’s been over two years. The theater I saw it in was not the greatest (it’s since been renovated) but there were few options as the film got a very limited release. I remember liking the movie and thinking the two leads were good, but being disappointed by several things (the flashbacks, the ending). I actually watched my DVD twice for this review- once to refresh my memory, and a second time with the director’s commentary on to take screencaps.

I had very high hopes for this film, despite thinking it was too soon for another adaptation. I mean, the 2006 BBC miniseries was released less than five years before this one! As much as I love Jane Eyre, I do think think there’s such a thing as adaptation overload. They could have adapted another work instead…but that’s not really on topic.

So, on my rewatch, did I think any differently? Yes, and no. Overall, my view on the film is that it is a disappointment. It could have been great but it did not meet my expectations. One of my main problems was the structure. The film starts out with Jane fleeing Thornfield and being found by the Rivers. Any scenes from before that point are flashbacks, occasionally coming back to a scene in the “present” at Moor House. I remember reading about this choice before the film came out and being hesitant, but I thought it might come out better than I expected. Unfortunately, it did not. The flashback structure was confusing for my friends who did not read the book. To me, it was just an annoyance. I get that they were trying to do something different, but it just didn’t work for me in practice.

I think that the film could have benefited from about 10-20 extra minutes of run-time. A lot of the explanations and backstories are cut out. What really bothered me about this is that it looked like more things were actually originally filmed, but left on the cutting room floor. The DVD confirmed my suspicions on some of this- plenty of deleted scenes on it should have been left in the film, IMO! I do not know why some of them were cut. (I will get into some specifics in the character section below).  Because I saw the film with several people who did not read the book, I know that a lot of it was confusing. And for me, even though I knew the backstory, I was just irritated not to see it! One major thing I felt they should have done with extra time would be to show more buildup to Jane and Rochester’s relationship. Some of their scenes together are great, but they needed more of these before they actually got engaged to show and explain their growing attraction more.

The Characters

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre

While the actress is not actually plain, I think they made her look the part well enough. They had her use a Northern Accent, which I thought was an interesting choice (however, John and Mrs. Reed do not have this accent, so I’m not sure where she picked it up from…) She actually looked small enough and close to the right age. I found her acting, however, to be underwhelming. I thought her performance was too restrained. In the proposal scene, in particular, I thought she held back too much. I don’t want Jane to be over the top, but I wanted a little more passion. A lot of focus in this version seemed to be put on Jane wanting freedom and developing into a woman, but I could have done without the scene of her examining the painting of a naked lady. Not that I had any issues with the picture, but the scene accomplished nothing (that time could have been better spent elsewhere) and this “nude image” was part of the reason the film got a PG-13 rating.

Amelia Clarkson as Young Jane

I really liked her performance. One of this film’s high points to me was actually Jane’s childhood. Given how limited the time was, I think they definitely made the most of it! Cary Fukunaga, the director, stated in the commentary that it was intentional- Jane’s childhood is essential for shaping her into the person she later becomes. The scenes at Gateshead and Lowood, though minimal, were well-done. I’m still not sure why she has a Northern accent, unless she picked it up from the servants? Speaking of the servants, we actually do get a peek at Abbot and Bessie, who act true to their book characters. Unfortunately, it’s just a peek- an understandable cut for time.

Ewart James Walters as John Reed

He has a small part but it was done well. His scene of finding Jane in the window reading was kept very close to the book.

Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Reed

Her performance was very understated and softspoken. Very subtle. I didn’t have too much of a problem with that in itself, but because her time was so limited, I don’t know if it was really the right direction to go.

Simon McBurney as Mr. Brocklehurst

Like Aunt Reed, I think he could have played up a little bit more. It’s not that I had a big problem with his performance, but because his role was so small, I think it should have been a bit more dramatic.

Freya Parks as Helen Burns

I think Lowood was very effective given how little time it was given. Helen was very cute and innocent, and although her piety was not as extreme as in the book, for once it was actually not cut altogether! I loved her death scene. It was very touching and haunting at the same time- Helen’s eyes are open after she dies. I don’t remember a typhus outbreak but Helen did seem to die of consumption. She does actually mention going to God after death! I’m so thankful they didn’t completely alter her personality.

Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester

Of course, yet again, Rochester is anything but “not handsome.” I don’t even remember if that line was kept in, despite just having rewatched the film twice. He also gives his character a hint of a Northern accent. Although my favorite remains Timothy Dalton, I liked his performance as Rochester, and I thought that he and Mia did have good chemistry. He was a little more understated than some of the others to have played the role, but not too much so. Unfortunately, as I stated above- there was not enough build-up to them falling in love.

After the fire

Rochester was very sexy in this scene and I could really feel the tension between him and Jane. There is also an added touch of Jane’s hand shaking the morning after during her lessons with Adele. They should have put in some more scenes!

Begging Jane to Stay

The scene after the botched wedding attempt, in which Rochester is begging Jane not to leave him, is probably my favorite in the movie. This and the fire scene proved that the two actors had great chemistry, which makes me even more disappointed that we didn’t get more scenes leading to them falling in love.

Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax

I have to admit that I’ve never not liked Judi Dench in anything I’ve seen her in. Mrs. Fairfax is no exception. Like the book, Jane mistakes her as the lady of the house. While she does give off a certain regal air, I’m not sure how Jane could have thought she would be mother to Adele, given her advanced age.

Romy Settbon Moore as Adele Varens

That’s Sophie in the background. She appears to have a unibrow and reminds me of Freida Kahlo… Anyway, I thought this Adele was really cute. She was close to the right age for the character (only 8). She spoke only French in the movie, but could understand English. A deleted scene that I was really angry and confused about was Rochester telling Jane his history with Celine. Why in the hell was that cut? It was barely a minute long! Did the filmmakers just want audiences to believe that Adele was Rochester’s daughter? Leaving that explanation out was a mistake because the audience doesn’t know why Rochester has the attitude he does towards Adele.

Imogen Poots as Blanche Ingram

Finally a brunette Blanche! She looked the part, but her role was really too small for anyone to really look at her as a real rival for Jane. She did sing, but Rochester did not. The gypsy scene was cut as well. I wish they could have just put in another couple short scenes with her!

Harry Lloyd as Richard Mason

His wound from Bertha’s bite is quite deep and gory. Unfortunately, the scene of Jane “tending” to him is one of the worst in the film. She helps him for all of a second before going to listen at the wall, not knowing there is an inner panel behind the tapestry where Bertha is. The whole time she was listening there I kept thinking, “Mason is gonna bleed out!” Thankfully the doctor arrived in time.

Adult Georgiana and Eliza

They are not named and have no lines (and are not shown as children) but I thought it was neat that we at least got this peek at them.

Valentina Cervi as Bertha Rochester

She looked the part, I guess, but I didn’t find her menacing enough. I suppose they didn’t want to make her too crazy so as not to be offensive, but she just didn’t have enough of a presence. Grace Poole was there, but just in the background and I think had one small line. There was no blaming of Grace Poole for any of Bertha’s doings, which I felt to be a mistake.

Jamie Bell as St. John Rivers

He looked the part! I had no issues with his performance, really (but he didn’t have a Northern accent). Rosamund Oliver was cut but St. John hinted at having loved someone. My complaints about the Rivers have entirely to do with the script- for one, as I mentioned above- I was not a fan of the flashback structure. But the Rivers, for whatever reason, are not Jane’s cousins in this! I guess they wanted to get rid of the cheesy coincidence from the book, but I had a major issue with it. It makes no sense to me that Jane would share her fortune with them. Yes, she was grateful for what they had done for her, but Jane in the book also gave them the money because she felt it was unfair for her to inherit everything. In the movie, it makes me feel like Jane is trying to buy a family. I don’t know if anyone else felt that way or it’s just me.

Holliday Grainger and Tamzin Merchant as Diana and Mary Rivers

Their roles were quite small but they did a good job with what they were given. One thing I thought was weird was that Diana seemed to be the only one of the three siblings to have a hint of a Northern accent. I know I’m no linguist so maybe I just didn’t hear it?

Conclusions

This film did do a lot of individual scenes right. It was pretty to look at and gave off a dark and moody feel. But it still was a disappointment to me. I want a director’s cut!

My Rating: 7/10

Excuses

7 Jun

I have been inactive on this blog for a long time, I know. I have not updated my Youtube account in about the same time because, back in fall….my computer died. If anyone remembers, back when I started this blog, I had a lot of computer issues. Since I use my computer to watch DVDs and take screencaps, that was a problem. I got a new computer and everything was fine and dandy…until it got messed up (after the warranty expired). So now I only have my old crappy laptop. I used my webcam for my vlog (I have a digital camera, but its sound quality is bad) so I haven’t been able to record any videos. After that time, until recently, I was working 60+ hours a week anyway, so I had no time. Now I do have some time, but it hasn’t been financially in the cards for me to replace my computer. I could technically use this one just to type reviews with no pictures, but it’s difficult to type on. I could borrow someone’s computer, but I don’t want to use someone else’s for so long. I was hoping I would have a new laptop soon, but things just haven’t been working out.

Did anyone even miss me anyway?