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Jane Eyre is the ultimate underdog story: she might be plain-looking, but she is determined and resourceful. Unfortunately, none of the movies I chose feature Michael Fassbender (sorry!) but I made sure there are enough interesting points to cater to even the most demanding viewer among you.
If you like Jane Eyre, you’ll like these movies too, I promise.
Jane Campion knows how to direct a period piece: it’s more about words not said, atmosphere, expressions, and voids.
It’s all about beautiful images and atmospheres
Visually stunning, Bright Star is the story of poet, John Keats, played by Ben Whishaw.
Like a theatre play, most of the action is confined within the walls of John Keats‘ house. He’s a dreamer, she’s a realist.
Keats and Fanny Brawne communicate through tiny pieces of paper, folded many times over, containing love letters – the prototype of modern text messaging.
A delicate and sensitive production, as beautiful as a painting.
Onegin is the perfect match to Jane Eyre down to a T. There’s whispered conversations, empty spaces, darkness and despair.
Fiennes is majestic and Liv Tyler plays Tatyana Larina, the ingénue who falls hopelessly in love with aristocrat, Eugene Onegin. But, alas, her social background is not a good match to his. St Petersburg is the icy backdrop for an impossible love affair, which is marred by tragedy and obsession.
“There can be no reconciliation”
Onegin is the film adaptation of Alexander Pushkin‘s 1837 novel in sonnets.
The dialogue is very powerful – the mind boggles as to how you could ever attempt to do justice to the original Russian version when translating it into English first, then onto the screen.
Onegin could be any celebrity of today: rich beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, going from party to party, but feeling an emptiness that no amount of entertainment can fill.
First of a “Ralph Fiennes double-bill” (more on him later), The Invisible Woman is directed by Fiennes himself and understandably, he takes the lion’s share of screen time.
Fiennes portrays Charles Dickens as the irresistible, larger than life, passionate character that women swooned over and readers adored. A self-publishing success story (yes, I am taking notes!) narrated through whispers in dimly lit rooms, with the very occasional burst of energy.
Narrated through whispers in dimly lit rooms
The “invisible woman” is the woman Dickens had an extramarital affair with, actress Ellen Ternan or Nelly (played by Felicity Jones) who was 18 when she fell in love with 45 year old Dickens.
Ralph Fiennes also portrays Dickens as an accomplished actor, and it’s like being at the theatre watching him on stage. Kirstin Scott Thomas plays Nelly‘s mother – it’s thrilling to see the original pairing from The English Patient back on the screen, albeit with completely different roles and dynamics.
Although the film lacks in pathos sometimes, it makes up for it with an authenticity.
Starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, The Immigrant is the story of two Polish sisters emigrating to the United States during the Roaring 1920s.
While one of the sisters falls ill and is detained, the other, Ewa (Cotillard) tries to start a new life but underestimates how difficult it is for a woman with no husband or the support of her family to survive. How can a young woman make a living?
“The American Dream is waiting for you!”
Ewa gets noticed for her good looks, but that doesn’t always work in her favour. Personally, I would have preferred Cotillard to be in each and every scene, as the male leads are somewhat weak and lack charisma.