11 December 2011

Jane Eyre: Marianelli Moves Again

The 10th movie-version of Emily Bronte's Jane Eyre was released in March of this year. As an avid Bronte fan, my first inclination was to snub the film with a yawn and a self-righteous comment. Little did I know that this film has something deliciously new to offer. Even if you have seen all ten of the previous Jane Eyre films (I admit I have seen at least three of them), and read the book numerous time, this film still has something new and exquisite to offer: An emotionally bewitching musical score. This film directly aligns with what Victor Hug once said, "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

Although there are a number of lengthy flashbacks, the film's plot sticks to it's roots (slight spoiler alert!). It focuses on the life of a plain-looking, soft-spoken young woman who grew up in a dismal and dismissive world. As she moves into adulthood, she becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she finds herself falling for the cold and mysterious Mr. Rochester. Dark secrets of the Rochester household begin to unfold and Jane realizes her love for Mr. Rochester must go unrequited. She flees Thornfield Hall and finds solace in a young minister's home with his two sisters. A surprise event grants Jane the promise of a comfortable life. A proposal of marriage is made by the young minister. He is
crushed when turned down by Jane. Her heart still in Thornfield, Jane finds herself wandering to see how it fairs. She is shocked at the state in which she finds Thornfield and Mr. Rochester. The film ends with the emotionally gut-wrenching reuniting of Mr. Rochester and Jane, exposing their intense love for one another, to which they have been clinging.

Although this story has been watched and read numerous times before, the exquisite intensity of the parallelism between Jane Eyre's character and the nondiegitic sounds of the music create an enigmatic and emotive experience during sound reproduction. As Corrigan and White's (2009) book entitled, The Film Experience states, "Music is a crucial element in the film experience; among a range of other effects, it provides rhythm and deepens emotional response" (p.204). Jane Eyre is an emotional musical experience. I speculate that it may be the lack of expression from Jane Eyre as a character that invites clear mood-indicative underscoring to connect more effectively to the audience than even the verbal or visual elements.
Though the music in this film is used as a tactic for transition as in other films, unlike other films, most of the vocal, and sound effects seems to maintain a lack of honest emotion, and the music seems to expose what is internally occurring within the characters. Corrigan and White (2009) state in, The Film Experience, "Film music encourages us to be receptive to the information being conveyed by the visual as well as by the other acoustic dimensions of the film" (p.205). However, in opposition to this concept, it seems that the music from this film expresses what the visual and other acoustic dimensions can not.
In relation to the underscore of this film, it is important to mention the composer, Dario Marianelli. Well known for composing music for V for Vendetta, Pride and Prejudice, Eat Pray Love, Atonement, and many other films, Marianelli is a wizard at his work. The winner of three Emmy awards, this master composer takes the classical form of film underscore to a new depth and taps into an exquisite emotional parallelism. Similar to the effect it has had on other films, Marianelli's magnificent music brings this Jane Eyre to life in a new way. Ultimately, do not watch this film expecting to be disappointed, do not watch it expecting to be surprised, simply listen to this film and expect to be moved.

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