We Brits are a little bit hard on the crispiest and most colourful of the seasons. Each year we begrudge autumn as it paves the way for winter. We grumble as it emerges hot on the heels of our beloved summer. And we complain endlessly as the nights draw in and the days get chillier. But the poor little season has really got some good things going for it.
The arrival of the new A/W 2011 collections is always a welcome distraction from autumn’s chilly days, and an excuse to splurge on new coats and shiny boots. We can, with a small sigh of relief, fold up our summery outfits and hide them away until next year. However much we love them, skimpy summer clothes are really quite a lot of bother; we wait all summer for the perfect occasion to wear them, and it never quite arrives. Let’s be practical. Instead of sandals and sun dresses, we can embrace woollen jumpers and shoes that don’t leak and we’ll be much more prepared for the weather Britain throws at us.
Autumn also rekindles our love affair with black tights, a wardrobe staple and general life saver. At least in autumn we can reach for our trusty tights without a second thought, hide our pale British skin, give up our deluded attempts to fake tan and forget about having to shave our legs (in autumn, you need the extra warmth anyway…)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte’s iconic novel, has been dramatised countless times for both TV and the big screen. Almost every year brings with it another adaptation of this classic story and 2011 has been no exception. But what could have been just another copy-cat adaptation actually turned out to be pleasantly surprising. Bold, artistic and always true to its gothic roots, Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation is miles ahead of its predecessors.
Jane Eyre manages to tell Bronte’s story, but without blindly copying it. The film retells Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale of the orphaned and sorrow stricken Jane Eyre, following Jane through her childhood at the hands of her cruel Aunt, a spell at the strict Lowood boarding school and on to the life of a governess at Thornfield. But Fukunaga’s cleverly crafted sequences and reworked chronology make this well known story feel unfamiliar. The unusual starting point is one of the many things which set this film apart from previous adaptations. Jane Eyre surprises us by opening in the middle of the plot, with our protagonist escaping from Thornfield, running through the mist and attempting to seek comfort from the barren landscape.
What follows are beautifully filmed and skilfully shot sequences of the dramatic skyline and Yorkshire’s bleak and desolate moors – if for nothing else, this film should be valued for its artistic merit. These powerful scenes and the image of Jane, small against the enormity of the landscape, at crossroads etched into the heather creatively captures Jane’s desperate plight in a way no other adaptation has quite managed to do. After Jane is taken in by St John, brilliantly played by a very grown up and beard clad Jamie Bell, the film mainly resumes its familiar chronology. When the flashbacks begin the film feels a bit like you’ve seen it all before yet Fukunaga always manages to pull the unexpected out of the bag…..