Review: Jane Eyre
PLOT : A meek governess, Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) bewitches her employer, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Initially a cruel, dark-hearted man, Eyre is able to soften Rochesters heart, but demons from his past threaten their future together.
REVIEW: Director Cary Fukunagas film of the Charlotte Brontë classic is a more faithful and conventional adaptation of the novel than the trailers suggest- with them selling this as some kind of gothic horror tale. One of the most prominent images from the trailer, featuring Mr. Rochesters eyes going demonically black, is totally absent from the film, so take Focus dark and brooding ad campaign with a grain of salt.
Truth be told, Im rather happy that this turned out to be a more conventional adaptation, as Brontës story is a timeless classic for a reason, and theres no need to muck it up with a lot of hocus pocus. Conventional it may be, thats not to say this isnt a fresh adaptation, with this being at least as good as Joe Wrights film of Jane Austens PRIDE & PREJUDICE was a few years ago. Director Cary Fukunaga, coming off his indie hit SIN NOMBRE, turned out to be an inspired choice.
He gives the film an intriguing, realistic look which is more than a little reminiscent of the Stanley Kubrick classic BARRY LYNDON. The grey English countryside has never look more sinister, and the cold, uninviting look of the Rochester Estate complements its masters misery perfectly.
The two leads are also splendid. Wasikowskas having a good run these days, and shes makes a terrific JANE EYRE, with her giving her enough of a backbone, and a kind nature that makes it convincing when the hard Rochester begins to fall for her. For his part, Fassbender perfectly embodies Rochester- the cliassic Byronic hero. He joins a long list of actors that have made the role their own, with him comparing favorably to Orson Welles, which itself is quite a mean feat. Its yet another role that proves Fassbender will likely be one of the biggest stars around within the next few years.
Dame Judi Dench also turns up as the somewhat daffy housekeeper, whos sympathetic to Jane but also close-minded-enough to casually remark that she considers the rest of the household help simple-minded servants. Its a juicy, colorful part, and Dench is a joy. The great Sally Hawkins also puts in an appearance as Janes cruel aunt, and her cold-blooded, near sadistic nature is chilling indeed.
All in all, as far as these literary adaptations go, JANE EYRE is one of the best Ive seen in a long while, thanks to a modern, but faithful take on the material, and a fine cast. Its quite a good film, and well-worth seeing even if you dont normally go for this type of thing.
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