Monday, March 28, 2011

For Your Pleasure: Edward Fairfax Rochester

True fact:  Michael Fassbender is the sort of actor who can make adult characters skieving on teenage girls seem almost socially acceptable instead of just plain creepy.  I'm just going to put that out there and let that sink in.  He did it in Fish Tank, he does it again (hardcore) on Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre.  And, alright, so maybe in Fish Tank it doesn't turn out great, but I'm pretty sure that there's still a fair amount of like pent up teen dream lust at work in that absurdly charged dance rehearsal scene.  I swear to god that none of this is perhaps as pervy as it sounded just now.  What really matters is that Fassbender just has this magnetic sort of bad intentioned look about him.  When he plays Magneto in X-Men: First Class this summer, I'm sure we'll catch him and his jaw (there's something about his jaw, just watch it) contemplating the deflowering of Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.  Which will, of course, mean that millions of teenage girls will want to be Mystique, as they'll quite probably want to be Jane Eyre.  As Mr. Rochester, master of Thornfield Hall, Fassbender puts in a performance that could easily snatch the swoony spotlight away from that scene in that snore fest Pride and Prejudice miniseries where Colin Firth emerges from the lake.  Pfft.  I mean, really.  Rochester is a melodramatic, Byronic hero.  He's broody and bitter and angry and feisty and dark and terribly mysterious and his hair is full of secrets and he's mercurial and sort of unnerving and he doesn't like children and he doesn't like insipid conversation and he makes snippy, clever comments and when you drop all of that in a dimly lit manor house and dress it in a well-tailored nineteenth century suit and a pair of riding boots, well, all of that makes him fabulous.  I'll be honest with you: I feel that in writing this I'm conforming to the sort of stereotypical female la la romanticism that's allowed Charlotte Bronte's work to live on for so very long. You know: that flowy shirted mystery man who serves as out and out fodder for a million overtly romanticized fantasies of gothic life on the moors.  I mean, I've always had my issues with the novel itself and personally was always quite dubious of the melodrama on the page.  Somehow, though, the movie wipes those doubts away.  I mean, if Rochester doesn't much like kids and also believes that an orphaned governess is most certainly his equal, that sounds pretty good.  Oh shut up...

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