Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blow-by-blow dissection of Jane Eyre trailer


The long wait is finally over! The long wait for the trailer, that is. We still have to wait another 4 months or so for the film itself.

But in the meantime, the trailer offers plenty for us Bronteites and Period Drama Maniacs to pick over, examine, turn upside down, criticise, mull over, discuss, praise and protest.

Warning: some spoilers may be disclosed in the following post.

0:00 The first thing that presents itself upon viewing the trailer is the fact that the film has been rated PG-13 for "Some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content". Disappointing news for the more conservative among us, or for anyone who had been wanting to take younger sisters to see this.

0:07 Graves being dug, coffins being lowered into the ground; the typhoid epidemic at Lowood. Dark, sombre, suitably Gothic tone immediately established. . .

0:09 Jane running through a hallway at Gateshead, with a book in her arms. What would she be running from? John Reed? The young actress cast as the Young Jane looks remarkably like Mia Wasikowska. (A nice change - in many of the earlier adaptations, Young and "Old" Jane didn't bear much resemblance to each other at all - Georgie Henley and Ruth Wilson, Sian Pattenden and Zelah Clarke, etc.) Voiceover from Mr. Brocklehurst begins.

0:10 Is that our first glimpse of Thornfield Hall? Very dark and Gothic. Funnily enough, Thornfield (as a building) and the surrounding landscape are actually supposed to be very green and pleasant, but of course this is never portrayed in the films adaptations, because "Dark and Gothic" is supposed to be much more interesting and romantic.

0:11 Poor Helen Burns - identifiable by her red hair - being beaten.

0:12 Presumably Bertha holding a match and lighting the fire in Rochester's Room.

0:12 The "fire scene".

0:13 Jane running again.

0:14 Mr. Brocklehurst, looking very slimy and unpleasant. Nice bunch of flowers, though.

0:16 John Reed, looking appropriately sneaky and slimy - but what on earth is he doing with that sword in his hand!! As I recall, a book was his weapon of choice. . .

0:17 Jane in her beloved retreat - behind the curtains, in the window seat.

0:18 Jane, taken into the Red Room. Which of the two women is Bessie, I wonder? I wouldn't be surprised if they all but do away with Bessie's character altogether, partly because they don't have time to develop her character, partly because they want to make Jane's childhood seem as bleak as possible, with no kindness or affection whatsoever. Hm, I wonder if they'll do the same with Miss Temple's character?

0:19 Jane answering Mr. Brocklehurst.

0:21 Mr. Brocklehurst and the flowers again.

0:23 Jane in the Red Room.

0:24 This is random, but the red wallpaper kind of matches my blog's background.

0:25 So it's a sort of explosion of smoke that scares Jane in this version! Rather less creepy than that light moving across the wall in the dark, I should have thought, though perhaps more cinematically plausible and impressive.

0:27 Poor Jane, having passed out. She looks tiny on the massive carpet in the great big room.

0:28 Jane speaking to Mrs. Reed. So far, most of the dialogue seems to have been taken straight from the book. Always a good sign.


0:29 I'm really liking this Young Jane. In many of the adaptations, Jane as a child comes across as being almost a bit bratty, because they only show the scenes where Jane is, for the first time, speaking her mind and rebelling against Mrs. Reed. Hopefully this Jane will do a good job in portraying Jane's normal meek, subdued state, as well as her passionate outbursts.


0:30 What we've all been waiting to see! That seemingly incomprehensible piece of casting - tiny, fragile, beautiful Sally Hawkins as the large, robust, cruel Mrs. Reed!

0:31 First glimpse of Lowood - since the very opening scene, of course.

0:32 Mr. Brocklehurst giving "that" speech to the girls and teachers at Lowood. What a striking picture, of the light shining in on Jane standing on her stool, while all the other girls file past. Lowood doesn't seem as OTT gloomy and gothic as it did in the JE 2006, thank goodness.

0:36 The grown-up Jane running away from Thornfield and Rochester, though weirdly it is implied in the trailer that she is running away from Lowood, to Thornfield.

0:39 Jane as she is always pictured, always imagined - quakerish and bonneted. Interesting to note how the costume department once again included just a scrap of red in Jane's outfit, to imply that beneath the restrained exterior, there is a passionate nature lurking within. Remember that red neck-tie thingy that Jane wore a lot in JE 2006?

0:41 What on earth?? So Mr. Rochester sort of sneaks up on her and frightens the heck out of her, rather than galloping past until the sight of Jane spooks the horse? Probably it won't really be like that in the movie, but that's how they make it seem in the trailer. :P Oh, and where's Pilot? They can't leave Pilot out!! They'd better not!! Gorgeous atmosphere though - mist, dead leaves, bare trees - very wintry and bleakly beautiful.

0:42 The familiar "Necessity compels me to make you useful" scene.

0:43 Thornfield Hall. I think those two figures at the far right of screen are Jane and Rochester, running in together to escape the storm, just after the proposal scene. You can just hear a roll of thunder. Voiceover by Judi Dench/Mrs. Fairfax begins.


0:49 First look at Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax.

0:50 I'm guessing this scene is after J and R have known each other some time, since R doesn't appear to be limping. Our first proper look ar Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. He doesn't look quite Rochesterian to me. Perhaps because he isn't dark enough. Oh well, maybe he'll grow on me. . .

0:55 Nope, sorry, he doesn't look like Rochester. Something just isn't right!

0:58 I hope they left out a big chunk of dialogue for the trailer, because if this is how the dialogue goes in the movie. . .

1:00 We have passed the 1 minute mark! :-D I think this is Jane arriving at Lowood.

1:03 First glimpse of Bertha.

1:04 Jane speaking to Rochester of seeing Bertha tear her wedding veil.

1:09 What does he say here? I can't make it out. It sounds like “You've transfixed me quite”, which is bad English.

1:10 Is it just me, or would Jane never wear a dress even this low-cut?

1:13 After the fire. It seems they've pushed this scene forward several hours – it appears to be dawn, rather than the middle of the night.

1:17 Rochester exercising after he hurts his ankle, I suppose. Beautiful tree!


1:18 Yes! Yesss!! *fist pumps* Blanche Ingram is a brunette, as she is supposed to be, rather than a blonde, as we had feared! :-D Imogen Poots looks nicely snooty and stuck-up. Gorgeous dress.

1:22 Another striking dress. Now what is going on here, in this scene? Another set-up of Rochester's, to make Jane feel jealous?


1:24 What do ya'll think about having a red-headed Jane? To my knowledge, Mia Wasikowska is the first ginger Jane in the history of Janes. Has there ever been a blonde Jane, does anyone know?

1:26 Jane after she has run away from Thornfield. But then, what is the building? Another possible expanation could be that this is a dream sequence. Remember that dream Jane has just before she sees Bertha tear her veil in two?

1:27 Now this is intriguing. It appears that in this film even the staircase leading to Bertha's room is concealed. Just to add to the sense of mystery. Whose bedroom is this supposed to be? Rochester's?

1:32 Proposal scene, proposal scene! :-D What do you think of Mia's delivery of that famous line?

1:36 Jane running away.

1:37 Rochester discovering that she is gone. Now, this is different to how it is in the book!

1:40 Beautiful photography once again.

1:41 Bertha lighting the fire – again?

1:42 It's that concealed staircase again!


1:44 First glimpse of Jamie Bell as St John Rivers! He's nowhere near good-looking enough, IMO. No offense to Mr. Bell.

1:44 Proposal scene again! That seat running around the tree-trunk looks like a halo with the light shining on it. It looks quite odd, actually – must be made of very thin board.

1:45 Jane destitute after running away. Knocking on the Rivers' door, perhaps?

1:46 There've been a couple of shots of Rochester riding on horseback – just to show how strong and manly and stuff he is, I suppose.

1:47 Jane running away. You can see the anguish on her face. Oh and once again, just that hint of red – this time, her bag.

1:48 A fly – on a Bible – I think.

1:48 St John again.

1:48 Eww! I mean, awww. . . J and R just after running in from the storm at 0:43.

1:49 No idea what this is. Who's the little boy? Unless it's the grave scene from 0:07.

1:49 Jane springing on John. Go Jane!!

1:50 Jane running. . . again. . . not precisely certain where she's running to/from, or if it is indeed even Jane. The clothes seem to be too pretty and frivolous. . . hang on, perhaps it's after the “wedding”, and they're running from the church back to Thornfield? No, that doesn't seem right, either. . . I give up. . .

1:51 Can this be – the library scene? Or is it just after she arrives at the Rivers'?

1:51 Bertha slapping Rochester!

1:53 Who was that leaping off the fence? St John? Well, it has be either St John or Rochester, since they're pretty much the only men in the book.

1:53 Fire scene again!

1:56 Naughty, naughty screenwriter! Making up dialogue that wasn't in the book! This must be after Mr. Rochester has been blinded.

The verdict: I think this will eventually rank at about the mid-point on my list of Jane Eyre adaptations. Better than the 1997 JE, possibly also better than the the 1996 one. Not as good as the 1983 one. Maybe on par with JE 2006, though that version will always have an advantage over this one because of its length – twice as long, twice as much time to develop the story and characters.

From what I've seen, I'm really liking both the young Jane and the grown-up Jane in this version. Mia Wasikowska has a wonderful, child-like quality about her. It'll also be nice to have a Jane who is roughly the right age – Jane Eyre is supposed to be 18, Mia has just turned 21.

On the hand, I'm less than convinced by Michael Fassbender's Rochester. We'll see. . .

The cinematography looks absolutely stunning. This will be the most visually impressive JE to date. I wonder who's composing the score? *Goes off to check IMDb*

Alright, I couldn't find out who the composer is, but I did discover a couple of other interesting tidbits from IMDB – Harry Lloyd fans, Harry plays Richard Mason! And Tamzin Merchant (Georgiana in P&P05) plays Mary Rivers. Also, have a look at the list of filming locations. Looks like it was almost all shot on location in Derbyshire (including Chatsworth, aka Pemberley). I'm guessing Chatsworth was used mostly for the interior shots of Gateshead.

I also found out what that bothersome “nude image” is – according to the IMDB forums, we very briefly see – don't laugh – Mr. Rochester's rear.

~Thanks to Charleybrown for screencaps of the trailer!


Edwardian Rose said...

Probably won't see this one, at least not until way after it's on DVD. Anyway, it still looks like an interesting adaptation that's trying to appeal to a contemp. audience, like the 2005 PandP did. I just can't keep from looking at Mia without thinking, "Alice!" instead of "Jane!" ;) She sure seems very young. Very appropriate, too, as other versions always seem too old for Jane Eyre.

The Editrix said...

Haha! I haven't seen Alice in Wonderland yet. When I do see it, every time I see Alice I'll probably think "Jane"!

Enbrethiliel said...


Excellent live blog! Before I read your analysis, Elise, I wrote in the combox for the trailer that Mia's delivery of that famous line was spot on. You can really hear Jane's disgust at the double standard that makes Blanche Ingram admired and someone like herself marginalised--and her disgust at Mr. Rochester for giving into it when he should know better! Wonderful!

PS--We get to see his what??? *tries desperately not to laugh*

PPS--I'm blaming Colin Firth for that! ;-) Seriously, though, I hope it doesn't become a tradition/convention/trope!

Marian said...

*facepalm* Why do they have to add stuff like that? Completely unnecessary. Honestly, there's no good reason why Jane Eyre shouldn't have a PG rating.

Great post! I think I missed a lot of the trailer...I'm going to re-watch it now. :)

Miss Laurie said...

Elise, thanks so much for this blow by blow! I totally missed many of these points on my first couple viewings of the trailer!
Many of the characters look very good, especially Blanche Ingram who is brunette!! I'm uncertain about Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, mostly because she is now fused with Cranford in my mind and I also think of how old she is in real life and it's just not quite believable in my mind to have her running a whole large household like that (much as I love Dame Judi!).
There had been a ginger haired Jane before, ever seen Jane Eyre 1970? Susannah York was a much more "mature" Jane with redish hair (My video: I do like the look of this Jane Eyre, she is very young which is perfect! I do wish Sinjon Rivers was a bit more handsome in this, I do love his character in the book.
I am not at all put out that Mr. Rochester isn't very handsome in this one, I think Toby Stephens (and even Timothy Dalton) were too good looking (despite the awful hair they gave Toby!). I'm sorry but when Jane says he's not handsome she means it, it's not outward appearance that draws her, it's his character (not that he has to be portrayed as an ugly man). I think this actor is "if not quite handsome, was very near it" as it were (one of my favorite Northanger Abbey quotes).
Tamzin Merchant!?! Cool! She'll do a lovely job as Mary I'm sure!

Yes, and I will echo the sentiments of Enbrethiliel, the Colin Firth P&P (root cause Andrew Davies) is to blame for film makers putting in "wet shirt" scenes. I honestly never knew that was supposed to be a "romantic" scene until finding that other ladies thought it so. Seems more and more than not content to see Mr. Darcy bathing his arms and chest we must now endure a scene of him getting out of the tub (as it were, just an example) to make the fan girl ooh and aww! When will film makers realize that period drama fans love to see their heroes in full Victorian dress, and that a top hat or greatcoat are much more attractive than anything they might take off?!? Sorry, just my little rant! ;)

Thanks so much again for this post, it was lovely! :)

Andrew said...

I don't think the music used in the trailer is appropriate. The music seemed more suited to Inception. Jane Eyre is not a story with building tension. I never felt anything like suspense reading the book.

Personally I don't really like the story that much, although I like the book for beauty of language and captivating dialogue. I think this movie will probably be a quality production, hopefully better than the other Jane Eyre adaptations I have seen and I will watch it regardless.

But I wish we could get a Mary Barton, or a Ruth, or a Lois the Witch or a Shirley with the same quality as Wives and Daughters, the latest Little Dorrit or Bleak House.

Lastly I agree with Edwardian Rose. I think Mia ... - can't spell her surname :) - is a very appropriate for Jane. She manages to straddle the thin line of being plain but somehow still attractive. She has the look of someone with character and the character gives their face a charm and the desire of knowing their story. Someone who would grow on you and become more beautiful as you knew them. Lastly she has look of someone earnest, sincere, integrity that is Jane.

Charity said...

Overall, I like the look of it. I love gothic stories and it's fun to see them take it in that direction and make it eerie.

Not sure about Mia. She's kind of... well, emotionless in "Alice in Wonderland." I loved the movie, but she proves rather bland on screen much of the time, so I hope she can handle a complicated person like Jane Eyre.

I don't have any problems with Michael as Mr. Rochester, though... although wow, did they ever "ugly" him up, as he's usually much more handsome than that.

Judi Dench. SIGH. Must she be in everything now?

Anonymous said...

I am just about to watch the trailer, but thank you ever so much for the blow by blow!
But I must just mention how gorgeous the poster looks - the style is a surprising composition of paler tones, but I love the way Rochester’s face is blended into Jane…the subtext is fascinating, the idea of them being one etc. I would have expected it to be dark, to reflect the gothic nature of the story, but it still works very well I think!
Just a short note, I’m now off to watch the trailer.


P.S Mia's hair (in the poster) looks very similar to Ruth Wilson's in JE 2006. Maybe it was just a popular style at the time - and I've just unwittingly revealed my lack of period styling knowledge! - but it was just something I noticed. That and the use of the one item of red is very interesting! I wouldn't dare call it copying but it definetely is interesting illusions to an earlier adaptation :)

Barbara said...

I think I prefer the film with Samantha Morton and CiarĂ¡n Hinds!

Stephanie Ann said...

We'll all have to critique it once it comes out. :D

Jane said...

Actually that last line is in the novel:

"Everything in life seems unreal."

"Except me: I am substantial enough--touch me."

"You, sir, are the most phantom-like of all: you are a mere dream."

Or close enough anyway.

Elinor said...

I went and saw it on the 25th! it was really good, I liked it just as well as the 2006 adaptation the only disadvantage it had was that they to try and fit 770 pages into an hour and a half so they had to cut a few scenes that I really missed:-( but I understand and it was really cool to see it on the silver screen, I actually made a victorian dress to wear there:D
speaking of clothes the costumes were really good, there it has an advantage over the 2006 adaptation, and Adelle's clothes didnt look silly, frouffy but not silly.
anway I really liked all the actor's Mia, Michael, Dame Judi ect.

I don't know why it says there's a nude image, there most certainly is not is not, it's very appropriate you could take younger sisters to see it:-)

1:53, that's Mr. Rochester, it's when she comes back to Thornfield after going to Gateshead.