‘A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he’s hiding a terrible secret.’
Jane Eyre is possibly one of the most adapted novels in the English language, it seems that every few years a new movie or TV series is released, allowing us to see many different interpretations of Charlotte Bronte’s classic.
Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre is a welcome addition to this stable of adaptations, communicating the core story of Jane’s journey without running overlong or getting bogged down in back story. Like many adaptations, this film has decided to focus on Jane’s time at Thornbury rather than her harsh upbringing by her aunt and the nightmarish boarding school she is sent to. The core parts of Jane’s history are still told, but usually in flashback to underscore what is happening at Thornbury. In fact, the majority of the film is told in flashback, using Jane’s time with Rivers as a framing device for the rest of the story. This is an interesting method to use, and it allows the film to open with a brilliant silent sequence showing us the anguish that is to come for Jane.
All of the performances in Jane Eyre are great, particularly Mia Wasikowska as the strong heroine Jane and Michael Fassbender as the dangerous Rochester. The pair have a great chemistry on-screen, and manage to show the passion lurking beneath the surface without breaking the chaste and proper role they are forced to play. Special mention also goes to Judi Dench and Jamie Bell in their supporting roles. By the end of the film we really feel like we know all of these people, and we are invested in their journey.
The locations are also very impressive, and filmed beautifully, but there often seems to be a haze over everything to communicate the troubled situations within these great halls. Fukunaga adds an interesting horror feel to much of the story, adding some great tension to the story and putting the audience in Jane’s shoes as she begins to understand that there is something dangerous lurking in Thornbury. This is a great addition to the story, and makes it much more involving. Also used to great effect is the weather, which seems to reflect Jane’s state of mind throughout the movie.
Overall, Jane Eyre is a great adaptation of the novel, staying true to the essence of the story without getting bogged down every detail. If you haven’t read the book before or seen one of the many adaptations, this is a good place to start. It’s definitely worth checking out, Jane Eyre is a classic for a reason.
What I Liked – Interesting horror aspect. Great use of lighting to convey mood. Good performances all round.
What I Didn’t Like – Some parts felt a little rushed.
Rating – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)