Friday, 22 February 2013
in which Rochester is super hot and a scratched DVD is 'a bad thing'...
Helen: What shall we watch? You choose.
Me: Oh. I dunno.
Helen: Have you still got the list [yes, we do have a list of films we want to watch. We like to call it organisation.]
Helen: What about Magic Mike? Matthew Mcwotshisface.
Helen: Or Jane Eyre?
You can see how we might have had a problem. Anyway. We're literary girls at heart so obviously we plumped for Jane Eyre, which was always going to be fine with me - have you seen Michael Fassbender? Super hot. Also, I might be the only person I know who likes Jane Eyre.
Helen does not like Jane Eyre.
She thinks Jane and Rochester are both unlikeable characters which you know, is fine; I'm not the boss of her, she is entitled to her own opinion and besides, I kind of agree with her. They kind of are unlikeable, although I feel a little bad for Jane. She's not exactly had the easiest of times has she? [Neither has Rochester but you could argue he brought it all on himself.]
The thing is, one of Helen's favourite books is Wuthering Heights and if we're going to talk about unlikeable characters well, surely that book is a good place to start. Wuthering Heights, you know, the one with Heathcliff AKA the meanest man in literature. Maybe. [I feel a debate coming on: who is the meanest man in literature? Fun.]
Don't get me wrong, I like Wuthering Heights, it's a really great book and the characters are all really well developed and the imagery is wonderful but let's be honest, great epic love story it is not. It's always seemed to be more about revenge to me than anything else. I really struggle to excuse Heathcliff's absolute asshattery as coming from a place of love. He's bitter and twisted and needs some anger mangagement, frankly. Yeah, it's all really terrible when Cathy has a total personality transplant and then winds up dead, but does that make it fine to keep the other Cathy a prisoner at his house til she agrees to marry someone she doesn't want to marry? Does it make it fine for him to do all of the bad things [which I shall not list because it would be akin to writing out the whole book.] I'm going to say no. His being a bit of a psycho for the best part of the book kind of makes people forget about the whole awful life he had prior to the psycho - the parts that are meant to make him seem like a victim - and just make him, well, a little bit frightening. He's a super character and mistreated and misunderstood and broken-hearted he might be, but he's not likeable. He hardly has you swooning.
I mean, I get that Jane is the kind of character you just want to shake and I'm absolutely not denying that Rochester is a bit of a dick but I don't know, I can totally see Jane Eyre as a love story more than I can see Wuthering Heights being the same...
Rochester kind of reminds me of Darcy a little bit, in a way. He's kind of arrogant isn't he, and he's all brooding and domineering which is exactly how Darcy comes across at first and the way Darcy is with Lizzie; the way she is with him in return actually, I can see a little of that in Jane and Rochester. Lizzie is headstrong and opinionated generally ,which makes her perfect for Darcy, whereas Jane is seemingly more quiet and submissive, but still, she stands her ground with Rochester even when it means turning her back on him. I love the courage she has in her own convictions. She loves Rochester so much and she knows he loves her and it would be so easy to just be with him, but she has beliefs and self-respect and she refuses to be his mistress, refuses to live in sin, even though doing so means losing him all together. Good girl Jane. I'm not saying they're the same, as if I would ever, but I can defo find things that are at least similar and that makes me like Rochester and thus Jane Eyre a little more. P&P is my favourite. & the whole love story of it all, Darcy, oh, he struggles in vain IT WILL NOT DO and that's not all that different to Rochester falling in love with Jane, not even caring that she's 'just' a governess, being prepared to turn his back on all the ladies who society would describe as a 'better match' because he loves her and she is all he wants. *swoon* There's a moment in the film when he's realsing he's fallen in love with her and he's all sexy and brooding and 'you have transfixed me, quite.' It pleases me.
Yes, alright, I hear you. It all goes downhill after a while, what with the crazy wife in the attic and the pretending to be a gypsy to try and convince Jane she's fated to be with him - s'all very odd that bit and isn't in the film - and the half dragging poor Jane off to marry him right quick before anyone can tell her about his other wife [the crazy one, in the attic.] None of that is either romantic or socially accpetable and okay, like Heathcliff he is a bit of a dick but this, kids, is why there is only one Fitzwilliam Darcy. Darcy has no secret wife in the attic and he's not got anger issues a la Heathcliff and he looks like Colin Firth. Win win win.
Anyway, I have digressed. The film. S'all good. I think perhaps Helen and I weren't taking it as seriously as we might. When do we ever. We laughed a lot and God knows it isn't a comedy - poor Mr Mason gets attacked in the night and we were too busy being mean and giggling to offer him any sympathy. Not as mean as Jane though, she just leaves him bleeding on the sofa whilst she goes peering behind a tapestry. Not cool, Eyre. There was the token IMDB moment [the kid from Billy Elliot plays St. John if you were wondering] Judi Dench is awesome as Mrs. Fairfax and Rochester is an attractive man. I don't know what it is about arrogant obnoxious men but you'd choose Darcy over Wickham or Bingley any day, right? - and what is there to say to Fassbender really other than to congratulate him on his face? It was a nice time. Until 15 minutes before the end when it stopped.
Here's the thing. When a DVD stops before the end, it's not ok. So we grumbled and we laughed and it turns out the DVD was scratched so went upstairs to try in on the DVD player up there - no luck- and tried to download it from LoveFilm - no luck - and eventually gave up and resigned ourselves to a fate of never knowing how it ends, which is the worst thing.
Except of course we've both read the book. It ends like this: Jane goes back to Thornfield only to find crazy Bertha has burnt the place down and Rochester has moved [because nobody wants to live in a burnt out house, right?] Jane goes looking for Rochester because she loves him reals bad but Rochester [probably still looking fine] is blind - because of the fire. Bad times. Jane and Rochester are reunited, Jane doesn't care if he's blind [maybe she likes him better, maybe sees them more as equals since he has to depend on her a bit and she's always had an issue with his superiority, I don't know, I'm not going that deep] and it's all lovely.
Reader, I married him etcetera.
BUT, if we hadn't read the book then the above would have been an accurate description of our fate. Ian probably would have gone all Heathcliff crazy if he'd been there.
It's made me want to read it again actually, as an adult rather than a 16 year old girl. Probably I should do that.
In summary: Fassbender is hot, Helen still doesn't like Jane Eyre, I still think Heathcliff is an asshat, we both found the Yorkshire accents more amusing than probably intended and Darcy is a king among men.