Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Period drama drama
You have two choices with bank holidays I think- get out and mingle with the crowds or stay local and enjoy some food, drinks and seeing friends. I went for a mixture and by Monday I was ready to do not very much at all.
It being a bank holiday the TV wanted to serve me up some period dramas- and I wanted to watch them, because I always want to watch them.
Yesterday was like Bronte-vision with the whole of the recent Jane Eyre being shown back to back during the day and the second part of ITV’s new Wuthering Heights on in the evening.
I think the Jane Eyre is absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed Wuthering Heights but never having read the book (I know, terrible isn’t it?) I don’t feel I can judge so well. Certain things about Wuthering Heights cannot be denied, that the Yorkshire moors looked as bewitching and beguiling as they possibly could and that Tom Hardy looked the same- and is a wonderful actor. The story felt rushed to me and there didn’t seem to be time to just let the characters be but that is something I would say about a lot of television and is probably the reason I should read the book.
Anyway the reason for my post is the watching of the dramas and the discussions of books we had and hadn’t read through up a difference of opinion in my friends and I. On my side there was the hopeless romantic who thought it didn’t matter that Mr. Rochester was disfigured and blinded when he and Jane Eyre were reunited because they had each other. On the other side of the room I found the question why do you like something so depressing? Something where people can only find love after terrible things have happened to them or where life is such a struggle.
It’s certainly true that the Brontes are different to Jane Austen who is the other bank holiday stalwart. However for all that Austen can seem lighter and the stories end happily for most of her characters they are stories about people being disinherited, shunned for being too poor or bearing seemingly unrequited love.
It’s also true that these great love stories are written by spinsters, should that matter? It doesn’t matter to me, in fact sometimes those who go without something can feel it more keenly when it’s found, or lost, or unreturned and perhaps have the time or inclination to articulate how that feels.
Ultimately it’s about if we want a story to be happy or sad, but I think also realistic. Life isn’t always happy and I like to see that in some of the books I read and films or TV I watch. That doesn’t mean I am seeking misery- I enjoy a Sandra Bullock film more it’s cool to admit too but they aren’t like real life- neither is Wuthering Heights I suppose though. Perhaps in the end whether you love something or not just depends on whether the story resonates with you or not.
Wuthering Heights picture courtesy of The Guardian.