October 10, 2011

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre
is a film made by Cary Fukunaga based from the well loved novel by Charlotte Bronte. It is a very good and fresh adaptation of the novel by a young director. He has managed to capture the essence of the love story of the novel as well as highlight the gothic thriller aspect of it which is seldom seen in previous adaptations.

This version starts with Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) fleeing Thornfield Hall. Not knowing where to go, she roams around the moors and finally collapses at a doorstep where she is found by St. John Rivers (Jamie Bell). What follows is a series of flashbacks which recalls how she got to this point. A young Jane is shown living with her aunt Mrs. Reed (Sally Hawkins) which detests and mistreats her often locking her in the haunted "red room". She is then moved to Lowood School for Girls where she is furthermore mistreated by the prude headmaster Mr. Brocklehurst. During her stay here, she managed to develop a friendship with another girl Helen Burns. She eventually becomes a teacher and is hired as a governess at Thornfield Hall by it's keeper, Alice Fairfax (Judi Dench). She is to be in charge of educating Adele Varens, ward of Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Hall.

Upon their first night meeting, the brooding Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender) mocks and demeans her but Jane is able to hold her own with her quick wit. Soon Mr. Rochester is intrigued and while Jane starts to develop feelings for him too. We soon see a growing intellectual bond as well as sexual tension between the two. Meanwhile mysterious things (fire in the master's room, a woman screaming) happen around the house until finally Jane discovers Mr. Rochester's secret and flees the house.

Usually in previous versions, Rochester comes out stronger than Jane Eyre but this version, they are equals so it is credible that they would be attracted to each other. Mia Wasikoska plays her with appropriate inner turmoil as well as integrity. The gorgeous Michael Fassbender is brooding and mysterious. He makes Rochester very sexy (yes I know I had to say it) and appealing. Judi Dench is always wonderful while Jamie Bell is enjoyable (since Billy Elliot actually) as St. John.

I am also very impressed with how the director chose to light his scenes at Thornfield Hall with mostly candle light or by fire light. I suppose it was so noticeable to me since it provides an eerie feel to the scenes. That and the use of a violin during crucial points of the movie makes it more mysterious. I think I may just have to get the dvd of this classic!


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