Jane Eyre another 18th century classic is readapted once again
Jane Eyre grasps the dreariness and solitude of the heroine's existence in what is the latest theatrical adaption of the classic novel. Set in Victorian era England and telling the story of the heroine's life from the perspective of an abused orphan, and her position as a governess for the wealthy and moody Mr. Rochester whom she leaves and later returns to. This version is not a blockbuster Hollywood love story as some adaptations have been in the past, such as Emma and Pride and Prejudice, but rather shows a darker side of the classic. Director Cary Fukunaga, from Sin Nobre fame, is an interesting choice to tackle this 18th century masterpiece. Fukunaga succeeds with this film and shows how he can be a versatile director of different styles.
Filmed in Derbyshire, England, the film moves quietly and slowly, sometimes even at a snail's pace that is used to build up suspense, which makes the film boring at times.
Breakout actress Mia Wasikowska, who is mostly known as Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, is a Chloe Sevigny look alike and stands out in her portrayal of the classic Jane. Her performance is extremely reserved and without expression which captures the true essence of Jane in the novel as a woman who is intriguing and subtle. This contrasts well with the character of Mr. Rochester, played by Brit Michael Fassebender, who exerts passion, frustration, and brings his tormented character to life by dealing with his demons and his love for the reserved and hard to figure out Jane.
The film uses flashbacks to show Jane's full life, however the focus lies more on the love story between Jane and Rochester rather than her life growing up which is really essential to understand her character. The plot becomes confusing throughout the film because it is uncertain whether or not Jane is interested in Mr. Rochester. The stagnant performances are unsure but seem to fit with the repression of feelings and passion known to Victorian England.
The film accurately captures the darkness, dreariness, and loneliness that the heroine faces pushing the audience into feeling for her.
Jane Eyre seems more fitting for a Masterpiece Theater crowd than patrons looking for a fun night out on the weekend. Fans of period pieces will enjoy the scenery and costumes while a general movie going audience might want to pass for something more upbeat and fun.