Jane Eyre 2011 – A new take on an old classic.
For a lot of us, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is something we have been pressured into reading as a youth. The first time I read it, I was thirteen or so, and found it quite a challenge. However, through the complex idiolect and out of date colloquialisms, I found what millions of others found in the heart of the novel: a timeless love story.
And yes, it is soppy, but the romantic partnership of Jane and Mr. Rochester is one which has set the standard of “true love” for the best part of two centuries.
And what is it that is so timeless about this particular story? The power of social stigma? The Byronic protagonist and the one woman who doesn’t fall at his feet? The idea of forbidden love as a whole? Or not the setting, the background and the attributes of the characters at all, but the underlining theme. It is hard in life to find love and hold on to it- something which audiences understood then, and still understand now.
So what does the film offer which previous adaptations do not?
First, the attractive cast has to be mentioned. With Michael Fassbender as the brooding Mr. Rochester, and Mia Wasikowska as “plain” Jane Eyre, the two leads are certainly more attractive than Bronte described. However they have been cast well, and the attitudes portrayed remain loyal to the original.
The scenery is breathtaking for a film set in England; I found myself in awe several times at the sheer cruelty, bleakness and wildness of the Yorkshire Moors. With beautiful tinting and camera work, it really is a treat to view on the large screen.
When it came to the ending, I found myself feeling anxious: how much hope would they give the viewers? How would they tie up the story?
Personally, I find endings to be the most important part of a film from a viewers’ perspective- if I am spending two hours of my life on a film, I want to leave feeling satisfied. I can leave happy, sad, disheartened or in tears; It’s not about my mood, it’s about the sense of closure.
Jane Eyre didn’t disappoint me on this note, it didn’t take you to the point where the book ends, but it ended neatly.
I would recommend this for fans of period drama, and other films such as: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, The Duchess, Vanity Fair, Young Victoria etc.
It’s a classic, and when it becomes available on DVD I’m sure it will be one of my “fall back films” for a rainy day.