HOLLYWOOD – Hi there, sisters. Steven Seagal here. Star of such films as Under Siege, Above the Law and Beside the Point.
Ha ha, I made that last one up. Anyway, as anyone will tell you in the business, film making involves a lot of hanging around. Some people use the time to goof around, overs take drugs to numb the pain – and yes, I’m looking at you Morgan Freeman. Me, I like to read my way through the feminist classics. Today, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre!
The Bronte sisters lived in a remote village in Yorkshire, England and wrote books under intentionally ambiguous pseudonyms. Jane Eyre tells a semi-autobiographical story of a young girls growth and development into a woman. Something of an outcast, she is mistreated by her extended family and harshly dealt with at school. But despite this, she challenges her position and particularly the Byronic Mr. Rochester who is the father of her new charge and with whom she falls in love. Of course, Bronte’s reformist agenda is challenged by the suppressed revolutionary anger represented by Bertha Mason, the Madwoman in the Attic, who leant the title to that classic of feminist literary criticism by Gilbert and Gubar.
Given the context of its time, the book must have been a revelation, although now the plot seems to be the template for a thousand inferior romantic fantasies: ‘I married him, reader.’ As such it has a historical resonance rather than offering the feminist of today useful insights. as for bone crunching action, there are very few fights and no Akido whatsoever. Actually there are no fights at all. No Karate, no Kendo and no Judo. The one exciting scene – a fire and a suicide and a maiming – happens off page so to speak.
So to cap off.
Feminism: problematic but gripping: 8
Martial Arts: little or none: 2