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Jane Eyre - Movie Review

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Jane Eyre - Movie Review

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4 stars

You’re groaning already.  I know you are.  Deep down inside, there’s a part of your soul that cannot believe there is yet another retelling, respooling, redux, retread deluxe (the KING SIZED) version of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  I’d love to tell you there isn’t, but then this review wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t be reading these words.  Yes, Virginia, there is another version of Jane Eyre and, believe it or not, it’s quite engrossing, revealing both the story’s inherent gothic nature and a 160-year-old celebration of the fertile relationship between the supernatural (cue the spiritual swelling of music) and horny teen girls.

To recap this version of Jane Eyre, Jane (Mia Wasikowska) – as the film opens - is running from the emotional and physical abuse of relatives and governess work for the secretive Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender).  Emotionally and spiritually drained, as well as quite confused, Jane is taken in St. John Rivers (Jamie Bell) and offered shelter from the storm – both inside and outside her being – yet the mood furrowed upon her brow will not dissipate; this is the key point for the audience to ponder.  What exactly is she seeking?  Turns out, her life as a woman is not the type of life she wants to live – especially not with the social trappings it provides and the longing that she contains within.

Directed by Cary Fukunaga, Jane Eyre is – firstly – a well-staged adaptation in that all those gentile trappings you’d expect from a period piece are handled with intelligence and emotion.  There’s literally little going on vocally, but the fierceness of what the camera captures upon Wasikowska’s face speaks loud and clear.  Underscored and effective, Fukunaga – along with gray-paletted cinematography of Adriano Goldman - brings forth the sheer insight of this teenage drama with wondrous vision and subtleties long since missing from the cinema arts.

Stripped to its essence by screenwriter Moira Buffini, the two-hour movie – while absolutely skeletonal in comparison to the 500-page book – is supported by its leads in fine performances that capture the emotion of the narrative like no other adaptation previously seen (granted, I haven’t seen them all…I’m insane, not suicidal).  The bone-chilling paranoia that develops within Jane from her romance with Rochester is handled with great finesse and fine-tunes the narrative into its grand emotional flux through sound alone and not artificial story devices.

Essentially, this adaptation exists to capitalize on the gothicly-minded teen girl craze that has transformed Hot Topic into Twilight-frenzy Central.  It probably won't work in bringing teens to its doorway, but - in all fairness - this is a passionate appeal to logic and real emotion as opposed to the inane madness of Red Riding Hood.  Certainly not the best reason to make yet another adaptation of Brontë’s work, but I applaud the results as this is the most adult-minded and sincere Brontë (on film that is) has ever been.

{2jtab: Film Info}

Jane Eyre - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content.
Director
: Cary Fukunaga
Writer
: Moira Buffini
Cast:
Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Holliday Grainger, Sally Hawkins, Tamzin Merchant, Imogen Poots
Genre: Drama; Romance
Memorable Movie Quote:
"Do you know, Jane Eyre where the wicked go off to death?"
Distributor:
Focus Features
Official Site:
focusfeatures.com/jane_eyre
Release Date: March 11, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Plot Synopsis: Based on Charlotte Brontë's classic novel, the romantic drama stars Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in the lead roles. In the story, Jane Eyre flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester. The isolated and imposing residence – and Mr. Rochester's coldness – have sorely tested the young woman's resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester – and the terrible secret that he is hiding...

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