Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jane Eyre - DVD Review


Starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Fassbender, Judi Dench, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins and Simon McBurney.
Directed by Cary Fukunaka.

Somehow I've made it this far in life without ever reading or seeing a filmed version of Jane Eyre. (I hear the musical's good.) But now I have.

It begins and ends with Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) as Jane, and she does amazing work here. There are times her face blanks out and she is truly plain Jane. And then we can see her heart breaking by the smallest twitch of the lip or blush of the cheek.

I enjoyed getting enveloped in the foggy moors of 19th century England in Bronte-land, where everything's restrained and proper, but underneath, there's those pesky emotions dying to get out. Jane has the typical Dickensian childhood. Orphaned, abandoned, raised in a strict and heartless school, but once free as an adult, she acquires valuable employment as a governess for the wealthy Mr. Rochester.

Something felt missing, and my wife explained how the movie trimmed most of God out. Jane's faith is what sustains her, what motivates her, what drives her, at least on the page. The movie gives Jane that solid character; it just doesn't clarify where it comes from. She's Jane Eyre. Enough said. Regardless, I found it a fine introduction to the story, which is understandably classic.

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