Visions and Shadows: Jane Eyre (2011)
Due to some recent turn of events, the weekday matinee is back in my life. Yesterday I attended a mid-day showing of Jane Eyre, and what a dream it was. The film, directed by Cary Fukunaga, dives straight to the heart of the novel. Part love story, part horror show, Jane Eyre is the unforgettable tale of a young woman searching for (and creating) her place in the world.
Mia Wasikowska stars as Jane, a bright and willful young heiress. We first meet Jane as she’s fleeing from a dark castle with only the clothes on her back. She traverses the unforgiving terrain and is brought within an inch of her life by the elements. In a series of flashbacks, we learn her “tale of woe,” which features dead parents, a heartless aunt and a horrifying boarding school. Jane preserveres, and soon lands a gig tutoring a young French girl for the brooding land owner Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Rochester, all mood swings and mutton chops, takes a liking to Jane, whose gaze is most direct. Jane saves Rochester from a mysterious fire, and soon the pair develop some serious sexual tension.
Rochester alternately encourages and toys with Jane’s affection, and his dark secret is revealed in the third act. The film’s script, adapted by Moira Buffini, does an excellent job of distilling the action and keeping the pace brisk. The cinematography, which focuses on the starkly beautiful natural setting, reinforces the stories spooky tone and sense of danger. Neither stuffy nor simplistic, Jane Eyre is a triumph, proving that Bronte’s story, despite its lack of sexting and potty-talk, remain as relevant as ever.