Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga, 2011)

I wish I were a good writer. So that I could put on the page exactly what I felt when watching this film. But I shall try…

On Saturday afternoon I went to the lovely State Cinema in North Hobart with a friend to watch the most recent film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and my golly gosh how much did I love this film!

Most people know the story of young English orphan Jane who is shipped off by her aunt to a very punitive boarding school and who at 18 years of age, goes out into the world (still England) to work as a governess for the ward of the fiery, older and more worldly (been overseas), Mr Rochester. A man she falls in love with and which is requited but, alas, Mr Rochester is hiding a terrible secret.

Now, one could expect that this would be the usual period drama cliché. But this is not the case. In fact this is the best adaptation of Jane Eyre I have ever seen. Why, is this so? Well…
The cinematography by Adriano Goldman is breathtaking. The moors at once breathtaking and then haunting and gothic; the direction by Cary Fukunaga superb. I love the way the structure of the story was tweaked so that it flowed so well on the screen. The timing was beautiful and though I had seated myself with a full bladder I had forgotten all need by the time the film was into it’s 5th minute and I did not want this film to end. In fact, 2hrs later, I would, quite happily, have sat and watched more of the majestic scenery and some more fiery banter between Jane and Rochester.

Which brings me to the acting. Mia Wasikowska is amazing as Jane. The best Jane! She can look young and naïve and a child of 12 in one scene and in another a fiery independent woman. And she doesn’t even have to say anything. There is so much she can say with just a look.
And Michael Fassbender… He brings all the charm, temper, and fire you want in a Mr Rochester. It’s a superb bit of casting and the supporting cast which includes Sally Hawkins, Judi Dench and Jamie Bell is just great.

This film is thought provoking and beautiful. I want to go back and see it again. At times it was touching, you could feel Jane's turmoil and it wasn’t just me being a softy, I heard some teary sniffs behind me!

It made me think a lot about how lucky I am to be a woman in 2011 living in the developed world. I can choose my career, who to de facto or marry and travel where I choose. Jane is a 2011 woman stuck in 19th century England and when Jane is running along those moors without a house or carriage in site (and no mobile phone handy) it’s devastating to see just how isolating and cruel 19th century working class life could be. I highly recommend this film and can’t wait to get my own copy on DVD.


  1. What a wonderful review Patty. I am so curious to watch this film now. Can you believe I am probably one of the few people in western civilization who doesn't know the story line of Jane Eyre. I have never heard of either leading cast member and look forward to watching their performances.
    How many stars would you give it?

  2. Well I'm glad I didn't give the whole plot away then.

    I'd give it 4.5 stars. Loved it and want to watch it again right now!