Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jane Eyre

I've read Jane Eyre at least 10 times in my life- cover to cover. I did a full 3 pages of it as a dramatic monologue (memorized) in an eighth grade school parent's night. (I'm not sure the parents were as entertained hearing it as I was doing it). So I'm a tough sell. I've seen Jane played by Joan Fontaine, Susannah York, and the unnecessarily unattractive Charlotte Gainsbourg. Jane is supposed to be plain. Very plain- but not downright ugly. And luckily, that part is perfectly played by Mia Wasikowska (Alice from Alice in Wonderland). MiaW is the right size, too- tiny. Jane Eyre is formidable to put to film- it is long, laden with atmosphere and soaked in what would be seen as pure soap opera today. It cannot be too slick or the viewer will begin to groan.  Of all of the films made of Jane Eyre, this is the best. Hopefully everyone has actually read this classic- a bold touch of feminism before its time. If you haven't read it, then at least you should read the fascinating biography of Charlotte Bronte by Rebecca Fraser (it is published under two separate titles though it is the same book). The film is beautiful- the costuming and setting feel so authentic. I think it should be seem by anyone- especially those who loved Jane (and by extension Charlotte Bronte) and loved the story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It's not often you see a quirky animated film about a lizard (Rango) who, in chameleon like fashion, changes his colors and reinvents himself as the town hero. He goes from pet with a pet (a plastic fish), to a gun-totin' sheriff to town hero. There is a nod to almost every western ever made in this odd and yet delightful script. It seemed a little long, and ends the way a good western should. The kids in this audience shouldn't have enjoyed it at all- the humor was very adult in spots, and any homage to westerns would have gone totally over their short heads- let alone the Salvador Dali inspired snake. But they DID enjoy it. I guess the visuals were striking enough and certainly the good-guy-bad-guy theme was explained well enough that kids got it. It is a very clever, mostly funny flick. I just don't know how to explain it. It isn't cutesy- the animation is realistic, the eyes are creepy on every creature, and it shouldn't have been nearly as much fun as it was. But well, it is certainly worth the price of admission.