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 Rochesterís heart, but demons from his past threaten their future together.
REVIEW: Director Cary Fukunagaís film of the Charlotte BrontŽ 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. Rochesterís eyes going demonically black, is totally absent from the film, so take Focusí dark and brooding ad campaign with a grain of salt.
Truth be told, Iím rather happy that this turned out to be a more conventional adaptation, as BrontŽís story is a timeless classic for a reason, and thereís no need to muck it up with a lot of hocus pocus. Conventional it may be, thatís not to say this isnít a fresh adaptation, with this being at least as good as Joe Wrightís film of Jane Austenís 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 masterís misery perfectly.
The two leads are also splendid. Wasikowskaís having a good run these days, and sheís 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. Itís 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, whoís sympathetic to Jane but also close-minded-enough to casually remark that she considers the rest of the household help ďsimple-minded servantsĒ. Itís a juicy, colorful part, and Dench is a joy. The great Sally Hawkins also puts in an appearance as Janeís 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 Iíve seen in a long while, thanks to a modern, but faithful take on the material, and a fine cast. Itís quite a good film, and well-worth seeing even if you donít normally go for this type of thing.