Friday, April 22, 2011

Jane Eyre

Do we really need another movie adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's book, Jane Eyre? Apparently we do.

You probably know the story: A quiet and young governess, who has spent most of her life in a torturous institution for wayward children, becomes the governess to a man who's hiding a terrible secret.

Only in this version, as in no other, the words -- the dialogue, really -- takes flight. Other adaptations have sought to insert action here and there, because, let's face it: Jane Eyre is rather static and wordy. But, also let's face it: that's a good thing.

So there's no extra action inserted. And the wardrobe is very period. Jane's outfit, in particular, is rather drab. When you picture a girl walking out of the orphanage with one or two dresses at most and no income, wouldn't that be the case?

And that's as it should be. The magnificent countryside, and those stately mansions, all decorated in such detail, are eye candy.

The acting is wonderful. You may remember Johnny Depp's recent Alice in Wonderland. His Alice was played by Mia Wasikowska, and she's our Jane here. Not too old, not too brazen. Just right.

Michael Fassbender, as Rochester, is also spot on -- he's not introduced until about halfway through the movie. The build-up teaches you to expect an older, brooding man, and he's all that, but he's also a sensitive man with a hollow soul, looking for some intelligence in the world, and maybe even a kindred spirit.

Jane Eyre is a wonderful tutor as to how children were treated back then, and how few resources women by themselves had. You feel her reticence to trust anybody, because she really can't.

Thumb's up.


At 2:07 PM, Blogger Sheryl said...

I was somewhat reluctant to watch this since I loved the book so much. I must have read it 50 times in high school. But, I broke down and put in on my Netflix list and really ended up enjoying it. Having it told mostly in flash-back made it seem like there was more action than there actually was. Mia did a great job showing her just-under-the-surface spirit.


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