I’ve never read the book Jane Eyre, and I’m betting I never will (I’m still trying to finish the final Harry Potter book). Thankfully, Director Cary Fukunaga has pretty much ensured that I’ll never need to crack open the classic book.
And that’s a good thing because the film is quite good.
The performances are wonderful and Fukunaga turns 19th-century England into a thing of dreary beauty.
When we first see Jane (Mia Wasikowska) crying as she runs along a wet cliff of rural 19th-century England. She is found and taken in by a clergyman (Jamie Bell) who, along with his sisters, nurses her back to health. Cutting back and forth from her miserable childhood to her present day, we see why Jane is so strong (bull-headed?), resilient and sad.
She eventually takes on work as a governess for a young French girl at a huge rural estate. The estate belongs to Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender) a man who is adept at hiding his secrets. The two eventually grow to trust each other. Is something more brewing? Well, you’ll have to see the movie. I can’t spoil it for you. Geez!
Having only seen Wasikowska in two films so far – Alice in Wonderland and The Kids Are All Right – I was surprised at how great she was as Jane. She brings a quiet strength to the role that is perfect.
Jamie Bell, as the clergyman John Rivers, looks like he was born to act in period films. His side burns alone authentic him like no one else in the cast.
Michael Fassbender (the future Magneto) keeps you guessing as Rochester. Is he a good guy who is struggling to get out of his mean demeanor? Or is he just the jackass that Jane thinks he is?
And Dame Judi Dench… well, she’s just perfect. I think it’s mandatory to have her in all British period films, isn’t it?
This film may not be for everyone but I suggest you give it a shot. Great acting, scenery and a classic novel put on film, what’s not to like?