Jane Eyre hits theaters nationwide today. I have to admit that when I saw the film, I hadn’t read Charlotte Bronte’s literary classic on which the film is based. After Wuthering Heights (which I really enjoyed… just found painful to read), I hadn’t read anything more from the Bronte sisters. But now Jane Eyre is high on my list.
After seeing the trailer for this movie, I was completely confused as to the type of genre this film fit into. It seemed that there was some sort of supernatural creature afoot… yet it also had a hint of Jane Austen. I was wrong… yet right. This take on Jane Eyre finds itself aligned with the opinions of many of those who have read the literary classic. Jane Eyre’s love interest, Mr. Rochester, is a little bit creepy.
Jane Eyre (played by Mia Wasikowska) had a horrible childhood spent in boarding school with less than loving teachers. After being recruited to be the governess to Mr. Rochester’s (played by Michael Fassbender) child – things start looking up for Miss Eyre. She quickly develops a bond with the child… and not to long after that a bond with Mr. Rochester (wink, wink). Mr. Rochester commences trying to woo Miss Eyre, which only goes so far considering that there is a skeleton (or maybe a more lively version) in his closet. Not knowing how to respond or feel about the matter, Jane finds herself leaving the estate and wondering the countryside.
There’s no question that Jane Eyre is an enduring literary classic, and it’s not hard to see why so many filmmakers have tried to translate it to screen. This latest effort though seems incomplete. Perhaps it’s partially the way in which the story is told – non-chronologically, but I couldn’t help but feel that we weren’t being allowed to emotionally connect with the characters. When we meet Jane at the beginning of the film, she’s already left the estate and is weeping without an end in sight. We haven’t been allowed to see the pain that has brought her to this point. For the first quarter of the film, we jump back and forward between what is supposed to be present and then what was her childhood. Thankfully, for those of us who are not familiar with the classic, we get a hold on what’s going on when we get about half way into the film.
It’s a fantastic story though, and the casting was superb. Michael Fassbender was able to be creepy… yet incredibly sexy and tempting at the same time. Mia Wasikowska managed to come across as a plain Jane – which in real life she is anything but. Hair and makeup certainly helped here, but Wasikowska managed to retain an innocence throughout the film that translated to the audience feeling just as unexperienced as she was.
My only complaint was that it felt too edited, especially in the beginning. I think if the story had been told in order, it would have had a much greater effect on the emotions of the audience – especially those of us who are new to the world of Jane Eyre.
Review By: Emma Loggins