Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Allow me to introduce. . . my Mr. Rochester


If there's one thing England is good at, it's releasing a million versions of classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, and Jane Eyre. That's not necessarily bad, however. I'm not necessarily picky about which film adaptation I watch of something. Although occasionally I do have a favorite. All of my friends know that I'm crazy about the 1940 version of Pride & Prejudice with Laurence Olivier, and I know full well that I'm the only one who loves it like this, which is fine. I still enjoy all the other versions, too. That's why they make so many, to please everyone!

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But when it comes down to Jane Eyre, there is only one version that has ever pleased me 100%. It doesn't matter that the filming style is horribly dated or that the men's hair has a distinctive poof to it that can only come from the 80s. The very first moment when Timothy Dalton strode onto the screen, my heart went pitter-pat and I was a complete goner. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Toby Stephens or Michael Fassbender in the role of Mr. Rochester. Both of them do fine work with their own interpretation and they don't terrify me like Orson Welles did in his 1940 version. I thought his chest would never end!

But the Rochester that works for me is hands down Timothy Dalton. Some of the Rochester's are too stern for my taste, with little amusement about their personalities. Remember how Rochester dressed as a gypsy to tease the women in his company and chase them away? That shows he had a sense of humor, albeit a twisted one. The only Rochester I've ever seen who actually expressed that humor is Dalton. There are moments when his eyes twinkle and his lips twitch and I just know he's fighting back a laugh while he's mercilessly teasing an equally playful Jane.

I know, many versions of Jane have her being very, very composed. There's nothing wrong with a composed Jane, but she and Rochester have a banter between them, a sexual tension as it were. The tension that works for me, the one Rochester where even I would have been tempted to yield to him, is Dalton. Those delicious, dark eyes. That tall, muscular physique. Those craggy features.

Tell me, why is temptation wrapped in so delicious a package? Rarely does Satan send along a temptation to something we can't stand. It's doubtful we'd be sinning by eating too much broccoli. It's always the cheesecake with bright red cherries that has us salivating and yielding to temptation when we know we're on a strict diet of no processed sugar or carbs!

I know that Dalton's Rochester works for me. I know he doesn't work for other women. I also know that I could potentially be in trouble if a Dalton-esque man ever waltzed into my life, wafting temptation under my nose. But at least God has forewarned me of possible temptation. It's helpful knowing that we will never be tempted beyond what we can stand. Jane is a beautiful example of resistance to temptation. Rochester tried his hardest to keep her by his side, even if it meant sinning. He didn't care if all of heaven stood against him! But Jane did care. We are told to flee from temptation and flee she did. Leaving him was the hardest thing she ever did, but with God's strength, she managed it.

Thanks God, for the reminder that in You we are stronger than any temptation Satan throws our way!

5 comments:

  1. "I thought his chest would never end!"

    HAHAHAHAHA.

    Dalton doesn't do it for me, but if Lex Luthor ever showed up, I just might consider yielding to temptation. ;)

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  2. You'd be in some serious trouble if Lex ever did put in an appearance. Along with a 1970s version of a certain vampire we both know and love. The fun thing about men is how they appeal to different women. Some guys got it and some guys ain't got it depending on who you ask. Daniel Craig ain't got it, but that's only according to me. I know women who thinks he's the livin' end! Now, 'splain that if you can. ;)

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  3. Oh, you know me too well! ;)

    You are not alone in thinking Daniel Craig ain't all that... I've never found him even remotely attractive, and in fact I think he is one of the ugliest men in the business. =P

    I think a great deal of my attraction to Edward Rochester is not really the actors playing him, but the character itself -- I'm drawn to him, I don't always approve of him, but I like him, and I like his redemption because Jane has the strength to say no to what her heart wants. That is really what makes it such a powerful story -- that Edward must be purified through sacrifice (trying to save his wife) in order to be worthy of Jane. It's a beautiful story -- and much more than just a love story.

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  4. Well, I'm required to read Jane Eyre in a class this semester so we'll see how I like the book. I'm sure it will be marvelous and reveal some aspects of the story which I might have missed before. Edward is intriguing and complex. Perhaps that is why I enjoy the character so much, because he is at once solemn and playful, like he were two sides of the same coin.

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  5. The thing you will be most struck by his how religious the book is -- all of the movies and miniseries pretty much strip Jane of her Christianity, which means that modern (non-religious) viewers really have no way to understand why she refuses to become Edward's mistress. It's a good read. Hope you enjoy it.

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