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A couple of romance films based on 19th century novels. As far as the romance part goes, Pride & Prejudice easily takes this. There is plenty of build up for the love between Knightley and Macfadyen to reach a satisfying climax. With Jane Eyre, I liked the initial interactions between Wasikowska and Fassbender. He was intrigued by her "rare, unearthly thing"-ness, which I think was effectively conveyed. Knightley in Pride & Prejudice was another kind of "rare, unearthly thing"... I guess that's why Macfadyen wanted a piece. You know, both the guys in these movies are difficult personalities to warm up to, as well. There's some similarities going on here. Anyway, Jane Eyre as a character isn't quite as effervescent as Elizabeth Bennet. But Mr. Darcy isn't quite as interesting as Rochester... What I was getting at with the romance issue is that in Jane Eyre, I wasn't as drawn into the love story. Maybe it just doesn't have the same spark as in Pride & Prejudice. The end of Jane Eyre is much quieter and subdued, as is the build up to it. Maybe it's just a taste preference, but Pride & Prejudice just has a more joyous and twisty tale of love going on. (I will admit that the one twist in Jane Eyre is a big one, though. Just kind of abrupt, and it's resolved in a blah sort of way.)
As much as I prefer the story of 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Jane Eyre' is a much better film. The plot never feels forced and time is spent on character development as appropriate instead of rushing through the key elements of the story with some artistic camera shots thrown in in an effort to make the film feel like it's flowing naturally. The romance is a little harder to warm up to in 'Jane Eyre', but I feel that's a flaw in the story, not in the actual film: I've yet to see it addressed convincingly.
This P&P felt really modern to me, and not in a good way. It's a pretty film, but Jane Eyre is just as pretty, and to my mind it captures the spirit of Bronte better than Joe Wright & co capture the spirt of Austen. Plus, the P&P film just feels rushed, whereas Jane Eyre plays like a gorgeous elegy centering around its contemplative and passionate heroine.
I watched these as an outsider, without having read either novel, so I had no preconceived ideas about what should or shouldn't be in the films. I'm not sure what the "rushed" thing with Pride & Prejudice is all about, unless you mean rushed by the standard of the novel. The actual film didn't strike me as rushed. I'm probably a bit of a philistine in regards to this topic, though, and I'm fond of Keira Knightley, so I'm coming from an entirely different place than you guys. I thought Jane Eyre was a good movie, just not as entertaining as Pride & Prejudice. At least on the romance side, which plays a big part in both films. Whether either film captured the spirit of what the author intended doesn't factor in a whole lot in my case.
Understood. And if it's light, effervescence entertainment you're going for, an Austen adaptation is the way to go. I am NOT a Knightley fan -- at least, not anymore -- so that's probably another reason I don't like Austen as much. Besides questions of "the spirit of what the author intended", there are a lot of little historical inaccuracies (does Lizzie wear a single bonnet in the film?) that annoy purists like me but would in no way bother the average moviegoer.
Jane Austen was more stylish and flash with her pen than any of the Bronte chicks (with the big-ass caveat that I never actually paid much attention to the scribblings of the Bronte chicks). Pride and Prejudice is way more stylish and flash a film than Jane Eyre, which is OK, but does frequently stall with drabness in picture and atmosphere. The decision is simple. Interesting to hear KoP described as an "average moviegoer". As opposed to inner circle bibliophiles - or something - I guess is the implication, but still an unexpected description. What do I know anyway? Screw books.