By Mackenzie ’11
You might call me a Jane Eyre connoisseur. I’ve read the book four times, scoured the archives for remote film adaptations (I’ve seen seven out of the 18) and I even own a Jane Eyre costume (corset and all).
I am that bothersome person in the audience who yells “NO! That’s not how it’s ‘sposed to happen!” at the screen — you know, the one you want to strangle.
For those of you who also rejoice in a film adaption that is true to the original novel, you will not be disappointed in the Jane Eyre that premiered in theaters last week. Indeed this version is the most faithful I’ve seen, which is a breath of fresh air. The film only deviates from the book in that the narrative is not linear.
The film opens with a tear-streaked Jane taking flight from Thornfield Hall only to find herself lost on the blustery moors of the dark and barren English countryside. The story starts in media res and continues as a series of flashbacks and dreams that paint a picture of Jane’s life up to this point.
The film perpetuates a sense of Gothic melodrama, what with the dramatic settings and soundtrack and the gloomy lighting, and was blessed with an exceptional cast. I have dibs on Michael Fassbender and will ignore that pesky 16-year age gap and marry him as soon as I’m legal. He is Mr. Rochester. He adds a lethal sexuality, aggression, and wit to the brooding, Byronic hero. The pent-up sexual tension between Rochester and Jane is so wonderfully powerful that you’ll be tempted to yell out “Get a room, already!”(Oh, those frustrating almost-kisses!)
Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) gives a certain poise and radiance to Jane. She is mind-blowingly talented at revealing glimpses of the passions bubbling beneath the outwardly simple Jane. And what character can’t Dame Judi Dench play? Well, she probably can’t play a bikini model. That aside, she plays a Mrs. Fairfax that you can’t help but love no matter how she irks you.
Perhaps the best quality of the film is that laughter is not lost amidst the darkness and bleakness of the backdrop and storyline. Appealing to hopeless romantics for almost 200 years, Jane Eyre is a durable piece with an impact. On a Mackenzie scale, I give the film a 9/10 (and Michael Fassbender a 10/10)!