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Jane Eyre – Review

Jane Eyre - Review

The moment you see Jane running through the Moors breathless you are sucked into her world. Jane Eyre is played by Mia Wasikowska, in another stellar performance (The Kids Are All Right,) proving she is one of the leading actresses of her generation. Jane Eyre’s story has been told on films many times and now we have a great version for the 21st century written by Moira Buffini and directed by Cary Joi Fukunaga.

Jane has no parents and is banished from her mean aunt’s house (played by Sally Hawkins) to a boarding school where they expect to rid her of any personality, sense of self or individuality. The school clearly failed. Jane is sent to be a governess to the ward of Edward Rochester in a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Mr. Rochester is played by the smoldering Michael Fassbender and as soon as he hits the screen with Mia’s Jane, the sparks begin to fly. Buffini’s script keeps Jane a pace with Rochester and you get sucked into their bizarre courtship.

When Jane fully comprehends and processes that it is she that Edward wants to be with and not the empty headed doll with expectations of marriage, my heart lept for all the plain Janes of the world who get their guy for their brains instead of their birthright or beauty.

Jane’s devastation at Rochester’s betrayal is heartbreaking and she flees him and the situation. But she cannot escape her feelings and after time does not heal her heart nor temper her feelings, she realizes she must return to see her beloved Rochester.

It doesn’t matter what time period it takes place in, a good love story with good acting, a good script and good directing is timeless. And this one definitely qualifies.

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What a muddle. This film’s script is so choppy that I defy a newbie to Bronte’s Jane Eyre to describe what St. John’s relationship is to Jane Eyre, or what connection the mysterious visitor to Thornfield Hall (he of the bloody neck who must be protected from that evil dark-haired lady) has to the story. And what of Adele? Can the viewer who has not read the book describe why Jane Eyre is her governess? Bet not.

The chemistry between Fassbender and Wasikowska is 2 or 3 out of 10 at best. And Dame Dench as Mrs. Fairfax? While she is superb, she is no Mrs. Fairfax.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I was with this film adaptation. Moody? Yes. Dark and murky? Yes. Modern? Yes. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte? No.


I loved this movie! I haven’t read the book yet (*blush*), but now I really want to, so I can get a better picture of the dynamics at play.

Without giving too much away, I was heartened by Jane’s act of resistance toward Rochester, a resistance grounded in Jane’s own agency. I can imagine few contemporary stories that would allow such a thing. Even now, Jane Eyre is ahead of her time.

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