“The cinema is showing Jane Eyre,” says Imogen, her voice full of longing.

“Would you and Charlotte like to see it?” I ask.

A big smile spreads across Imogen’s face as she answers, “Yes, please!”

“You could come with us!” adds Charlotte.

I look at the girls’ eager faces. They really want me to go along and I think, “Why not?”

I’ve only seen two movies on the big screen in 19 years. I used to be the willing volunteer who stayed home with the baby or toddler while the rest of the family headed out to the cinema. Then later, I just got out of the habit of movie watching.

So I am off on an adventure, off out on a mother-daughters outing.

In the car on our way to the cinema, we discuss Jane Eyre. Imogen and I have both read the book, but Charlotte hasn’t. I wonder whether she will like the movie. She is a discerning and sensitive viewer. Not many movies make it to her approved list. Will the cruelty that Jane suffers as a child make her feel unsettled inside?

I think back to my own childhood when I first read Jane Eyre.  I remember how my heart ached as I shared the young Jane’s story, the cruelty she suffered at the hands of her aunt and the adults at the school. How could anyone treat a child so unjustly? And I cried. I cried not only for the fictional Jane, but for all defenceless children who are subjected to injustices as they grow up, myself included.
I wonder: will I cry during the movie? Will Charlotte? We check our pockets for tissues before leaving the car and then we head into the cinema.

We buy tickets and popcorn and ice cream and juice. The girls’ eyes open wide as I hand over the unaccustomed treats. We stream through the theatre door with… just 8 other viewers (all female)… no problem finding a good seat. The lights are dimmed, the screen comes alive and we whizz back in time. For two hours we are absorbed in Jane’s story.

Later on the way home:

“Did you enjoy the movie, Charlotte?”

“Yes!” she replies emphatically. Jane Eyre has her seal of approval.

“The scenery was breath-taking. What did you think of the costumes?"

"The dresses were totally different to those in Pride and Prejudice although the two novels were set quite close in time. And the house… the sets were spectacular. Very atmospheric.”

“Did you notice the painting of Queen Henrietta Maria on the wall in Rochester’s house?”

"And that painting of the man standing grandly... I've seen that one before."

“The actress who played Jane Eyre was a bit solemn, don’t you think? But then again, I don’t suppose there was a lot in Jane’s life to smile about…”

“The music…Did you like the music? I thought it was stirring.”

I ask Charlotte if she wants to read Jane Eyre and she nods enthusiastically but adds, “After Vilette. Immy and I are reading Villette out loud together.” And then we talk about Charlotte Bronte’s other novels, and those of her sisters, Anne and Emily. Somehow I think we are embarking on a Bronte phase.

I look at my Bronte-girl daughters. I am delighted they are so passionate about these classic stories. But I am even more thrilled that the books are providing us with so many enjoyable mother-daughter moments. 

Sharing opinions and discussing, reliving and enjoying, laughing and crying together: isn’t this a fantastic way to learn?

Please share:

Imogen's story, Watching Jane Eyre

Charlotte's story, Risking Jane Eyre

Post a Comment

  1. ooh, this is exciting for you, a lovely memory to have with your girls.
    I hope one day we will enjoy Jane Eyre. I wasn't sure as to whether to take Brid or not.
    Maybe I could now after reading your post.
    God Bless,

  2. It was a beautiful movie, Leanne. I was only concerned that Charlotte would be upset by the cruelty shown to Jane as a child. I thought I might cry too! But we both coped. The movie didn't dwell on Jane's childhood as much as the book.

    I guess there are lots of themes to discuss: how marriage is 'forever', deception, forgiveness, contrition, love, how we make mistakes...

    Thank you for stopping by!

  3. I'm looking forward to having a Bronte period, when the girls are a little older. I've read biographies of the family and they seem very interesting. Do you think their books are all melancholy?

  4. Hi Vicky,
    I do remember "Wuthering Heights" as being melancholy. A gothic novel? I can't remember much about the others though I have read a few. I will have to reread them. They are very different to Jane Austen. Charlotte told me that the Brontes disapproved of Jane Austen. They didn't take her writing seriously - too frivolous!

  5. ....ooohhhh....your daughters are reading Villette aloud to each other. Can I please come and listen?

    I SOOOO enjoyed Villette! I read it for the first time last year.

    (And I just finished Persuasion, by the way, partly because of your blog!)

    Yes, I think I'll ask Anne if she'd like to go to Jane Eyre with me. She's not read the book, but maybe this would spark the idea to try it.

  6. Hi Amy,
    I read "Villette" a while ago but I can't remember it all. Perhaps I should listen in on Imogen and Charlotte's reading out loud sessions too!

    Like you, I have just finished "Persuasion"!! I kept getting distracted by other things until Charlotte said, "Mum! You HAVE to read it!" I enjoyed it once I got into it. Now it's onto "Sense and Sensibility".

    I really love sharing all these classics with my daughters. I hope you enjoy watching the movie "Jane Eyre" with your daughter, Anne.

    Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Dear Sue,
    What a delightful post about a special day with your daughters. I've been enjoying all your posts lately (maths, Gilbert and Sullivan, the animated movie which I have yet to see but enjoyed as a gift for Andy). I love that Sue Elvis Writes!

    So, Jane Eyre. I, like you, see very few movies, but maybe dh and I need to get out and see this one. I have a question for your girls. I'm curious if they have seen the recent-ish Pride and Prejudice with Kyra Knightly (you probably mentioned this on the Jane Austen post). Now that they are getting to know the Brontes, do they agree with my husband Tony's thought that this version of P and P was almost as if the Brontes had written it? We thought it was a nice combination of their style and our dear Miss Jane's (Austen, that is, not Eyre). Perhaps it was Jane Austen meets Jane Eyre!?

    The image of you surprising the girls with treats at the show is priceless. What a marvelous way to learn about the wide world...

    with love and gratitude,

  8. Hi Suzie,

    I love sharing with you. Thank you for reading my posts!

    I have just read out your comment to the girls, about Jane Austen meeting Jane Eyre. They think Tony has a point but wonder if P & P is melancholy enough pass as Bronte. Now we all want to get out our copy of the Kyra Knightley version and watch with Tony's words in mind!

    Yes, go and see "Jane Eyre" with Tony. You will enjoy it. But maybe Tony will be the only male at the cinema. Everyone at our screening was female!!

    God bless!

  9. I couldn't help adding to this! I loved the scenery and costumes of the Kiera Knightly version. I thought it was a beautiful movie to watch but i was disappointed in the change of storyline, at times. From memory, I think the Bentleys are poorer in this version and, also, I missed the beautiful language of Jane Austen. Some of the conversation was modernized to the point where it seemed out of place, though, the fact that they had to condense it might explain some of this - but not all. Perhaps, the BBC version has set an almost impossible bar line for me;-)

    I can see where it might be likened to the Brontes, but I think you're right, Sue - in my mind, it's not melancholy enough to be truly Bronte-esque!

    I love these thoughts and ponderings!:)

  10. Hi Vicky,
    your comment has made me want to watch the KK P&P even more! I love the BBC version. I guess it is very difficult for any other version to compete with this one. I shall watch out for the points you mentioned. Thank you for your comment!


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