*Spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk if you are a newbie to the novel or its various screen reboots.
There is a reason that Jane Eyre has been given the label of a “classic novel”. Charlotte Bronte‘s story of a young woman who defies all odds and creates her own happiness is a tale that we can all learn from.
The 1997 TV movie stars Samantha Morton as the title character and Ciaran Hinds as Edward Rochester, Jane’s mysterious employer, and love interest. As in the novel, Jane is an orphaned young woman who must make her own way in the world. Employed by Rochester as the governess to his ward, their attraction is electric. But he has a past that she knows nothing of. If it is revealed, the truth could endanger their future together.
There is one scene that rubs me the wrong way. After it is revealed that Rochester is married, he tries to convince Jane to stay. Hinds is a little too physically rough on Jane as the character for me.
Born Reggie Dwight in 1947, his early years were not exactly sunshine and roses. His parents, Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Stanley (Steven Mackintosh) don’t have an easy relationship. The ruptures in their marriage extend to the relationship with their son. Stanley is cold and demanding. Sheila is slightly more maternal, but I wouldn’t describe her as the ideal mother. The only person who genuinely loves and supports the future rock star is his grandmother Ivy (Gemma Jones).
As a young man, Reggie starts to build a career as a musician. That career becomes a reality when he meets Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). But as often happens, success gets to Elton’s head. While his career thrives, so does his relationship with John Reid (Richard Madden). Adding to all of this is his growing addiction to alcohol and drugs.
This movie is interesting, especially in the sub-genre of music biopics. The narrative can be described as musical-like, with the songs driving the narrative. Instead of lip syncing to pre-recorded songs sung by the real life Elton John, Egerton does his own singing and is surprisingly good.
What strikes me is that the narrative underneath the music is the story of a man who is fighting lifelong demons of mental health and self esteem. His story, regardless of one’s sexuality, is a reminder that one can overcome one’s demons and live a full life.
Helen Fielding’s heroine in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones is an every woman. Bridget is on the wrong side of 30, single, smokes and drinks too much, flirts with her boss and is far from modelesque.
Published in 1996 and made into a movie in 2001, Bridget makes the rest of us feel better about our lives.
I’ve seen the movie several times over the past 13 years. I just finished the book.
I enjoyed the book, but as often happens when books are made into movies, changes are made to either characters or plot. Pulling from Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, Fielding has written a very funny and realistic picture of what it is to be a modern single female adult.
The movie is extremely funny. Surprisingly, Renee Zellweger, an American actress, fits in brilliantly with the English cast. Whomever the casting director was for this movie, they must have had the Janeite community in mind. Colin Firth (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice 1995), Hugh Grant (Edward Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility 1995), Gemma Jones (Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility 1995), and Embeth Davidtz (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park 1999) were all perfectly cast.
While I recommend the book, the movie is that much better.
P.S. I’m adding the fight scene, well, just because Darcy never had the chance to properly clock Wickham in the face in Pride and Prejudice doesn’t mean he can’t do it in Bridget Jones Diary.