11 August 2013

Jane Eyre (2011)

Jane Eyre (2011)
  • Director: Cary Fukunaga
  • Based on novel by Charlott Brontë
  • Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Mia Wasikowska – Alice in Wonderland, Defiance, The Kids Are All Right
    • Michael Fassbender  – Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank, Hunger
    • Judi Dench – Hotel Marigold, My Week With Marilyn, Cranford, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Ladies in Lavender, The Shipping News, Chocolat, Tea with Mussolini, Shakespeare in Love, Mrs. Brown, 84 Charing Cross Road, A Room with a View, Macbeth
    • Jamie Bell – Billy Elliot, Defiance, King Kong,  Hallam Foe, Undertow, Dear Wendy
    •  Sally Hawkins – Never Let Me Go, An Education, Little Britain, Vera Drake
  •  Why? A classic and favorite novel
  • Seen: other versions many times. This version: August 10, 2013 with Hal and YW in our read-book-watch-film circle. 

Could Hal be right that this film is better than the book?  It’s a classic! Is one allowed to say that??
Well…yeah.  And he’s probably right. YW said she is disturbed by the religious tone of the novel while I manage to ignore that with my usual, “That’s the way they talked in those days…” Hal is disturbed by the novel’s, Jane’s, class snobbishness; she may just be a governess but she’s morally superior to, well, everybody, in upper class or lower.  That’s harder to ignore.
The good news is that this film tones these two aspects way down. Both Jane and Rochester are indeed more likeable here than in the novel.  Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are in fact the best J and R I’ve ever seen. They and Judi Dench and dear Billy Elliot all grown up as priggish missionary (he’s hardly recognizable!) justify this umpteenth remake of the film.
At times I think that not only were the authors of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights sisters but the directors of the two movies must be too – the same slow, dark, atmospheric, deliberately suppressed passion – but that’s not logical. The novel WH has nothing suppressed about its passion but is wildly and savagely dramatic and Andrea Arnold’s film (reviewed earlier on this blog) was a shocking break with that.  Fukunaga (who probably isn’t even Arnold’s brother, much less sister) does this Jane Eyre to fit the novel perfectly.
And yes, improves on it. Almost as much as Thursday Next did.  And if you don’t know who Thursday Next is – Google her! Without her Jane Eyre would be a dreary flop and this film would never have been made.

4* of 5

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