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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Good Old Love Story

Dark,handsome heroes who sweep pretty maidens off their feet have been the mainstays of romantic fiction for a long,long time

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: December 24, 2011 3:30:08 am

Jane Eyre

Reliance Home Video and PVR Pictures Home Entertainment,Rs 499

Dark,handsome heroes who sweep pretty maidens off their feet have been the mainstays of romantic fiction for a long,long time. Much before Mills and Boon,those canny gentlemen publishers who began their famous cookie-cutter series (whatever happens in the beginning and the middle,the end is always a happily-ever-after) which flourishes to this day,there were the Victorian ladies who created immortal lovers. Jane Austen’s Darcy and Elizabeth,who fought and squabbled and then fell in love,just like good Bollywood couples. And Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester,for those who prefer their romance spiced with a touch of Goth.

Director Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of the Bronte classic Jane Eyre manages to be both authentic and a fine,engaging watch. The dimly-lit interiors of the imposing residence of Mr Rochester,Thornfield Hall,the natural shaded light of the moors,the superb re-creation of the fears that can assail very young children,and their vicious,hard-hearted mentors,is done to perfection. But the real star of this show is Jane,as rendered by the very skilled Mia Wasikowska: she makes of the mousey yet spirited governess a complete delight.

The story of an orphan ill-treated by her aunt,cast out to a school where girls are mortified and humiliated,has universal,continual appeal. Jane grows up as a subdued young woman in search of a good position,and fetches up at Thornfield Hall whose master is the good-looking but forbidding Edward Fairfax Rochester. How the two strike a relationship,given that they belong to different parts of the house,and social hierarchy,and how we start looking at them as possible equal partners,is done minus flourish but with feeling. You transfix me,says Mr Rochester,played by man-of-this-season Michael Fassbender,you rare unearthly thing. And you shiver in delicious anticipation: ooh,this is going to be good. There is a dark secret,and darker clouds,after that,a silver lining. And a love that hopefully lasts forever.

The film released just a while back in India,but it came in so fleetingly that most of us missed it when it was in theatres. So it’s nice that it is out so soon on DVD. Bonus features include a brief segment with the director and the lead actors.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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