Jane Eyre, One Day - femine heroes

Just as I finish reading Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’ prequel to Bronte’s masterpiece, I see a trailer for Cary Fukunaga’s new film adaptation staring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

There is something strangely timeless about a plain Jane catching a big (rich) fish - just see the hype over One Day, released this week starring Anne Hathaway. Of course Hathaway is no plain Jane and neither is Wasikowska. However, the latter does have something less ‘Hollywood’ and polished about her.

I recently read an interview with Wasikowska, which stated, quite plainly, that she was the highest grossing actress in Hollywood last year?!

Exactly.

I had only seen her in Burton’s Alice and Wonderland and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are Alright. I had no idea she’s been silently racking up a long line of excellent character roles in the previous 12 months. Not bad for someone who’s only 21.

She’s an interesting character also, which is maybe why I’m more interested in this adaptation than any other. In the interview, she revealed that at 14 an injury ended her ambitions to be a professional dancer. Undeterred she decided on acting as a future option, from her own initiative she contacted various agencies in Sydney, pestering until one took her on. It wasn’t until she was 18 that she got her break outside Australia and the rest is history. She doesn’t do LA. She still sleeps on the sofa when she’s back at her parents’ house. What an intriguing character.

Much like Miss Eyre.

Bronte was revolutionary at the time to write about a thinking, moral, individualistic woman who, through her own hard graft, evolves from humble orphan to become a compassionate, mature lady. She’s not a gold digger, but she does end up filthy rich. Something I think Bronte grants the character as a kind of divine blessing – in a ‘good things happen to good people’ way.

I’m yet to see One Day but I have read a fair bit about it. Hathaway said the reason it works out between her character Em, and love interest Dexter, is because of the perfect timing. If they had met one day too soon, she wouldn’t have known her own self-worth and Dexter would have walked all over her. It’s an interesting concept, which makes you reflect on your own relationships and their timing.

Mr Rochester in the closing scenes in Wide Sargasso Sea, and the start of Jane Eyre, would have munched up and spat out Jane with little bother. It’s only once Jane listens to her own instinct, follows her own strict moral code and walks out on him that she understands self-empowerment.

Why it annoys me, is because her ultimate goal, even though she’s achieved so much, is to get a ring on her finger, (something Mad Men quite frequently comments on through the character of Peggy).

Jane is an interesting character, constantly balancing earthly happiness with moral duty, and I think Wasikowska is an sympathetic choice to play her - having been so fiercely determined and independent from a young age – all things combined, this looks promising as a period drama.

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