Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 10 out of 10
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell
Genre: Drama, Romance
Runtime: 120 minutes
Jane (Wasikowska), a young woman near death, finds herself at the home of St. John Rivers (Bell) and his sisters. They take her in and save her life, only asking who she is and where she comes from. She calls herself Jane Elliot. Flash back to about fifteen years previously, and the story of Jane Eyre begins. Raised by an aunt who hates her, and sent to a boarding school where she is abused, Jane eventually is able to free herself from the torments of her childhood, and becomes the governess to Adele Varens (Romy Settbon Moore), the illegitimate child of Edward Rochester (Fassbender), her dark, brooding employer. Jane catches his eye and softens his heart, but soon learns that Rochester harbors a very dark secret; one that threatens all he holds dear.
As an English major and a lover of Gothic literature (Jane Eyre falling into this category), I was thrilled beyond belief to see that there was a Jane Eyre movie coming out. In fact, I've been waiting for months for it to come to theatres! And Fukunaga's interpretation did not disappoint! Besides a stellar cast, the plot was well adapted, and the cinematography was perfect. I especially love what they did with Jane and Edward's relationship. Reading the book, I always had a certain image of Rochester, but after seeing the film, I feel as though I've softened a bit more toward him. That's to say, I've always loved the character, but Fassbender breathed new life into him, and only made me love him more.
I think that my biggest disappointments had to involve the few places in the film where the original story was deviated from. For example, I had been looking forward to seeing the infamous "Gypsy" scene, but it was sadly omitted. Also, I was a bit annoyed that the ending did not completely hold up to that in the book (although, I still thought that they did a wonderful job!)
Finally, my last complaint has to do with my favorite character: Rochester. Fassbender's Rochester is too attractive! One of the main characteristics of Jane and Rochester is that they are not very attractive. Jane is supposed to be plain (and while Wasikowska is beautiful, they managed to make her "plain" enough). But Rochester is supposed to be almost ugly; and as a female college student who went with a group of gal-pals, I can honestly say that this Rochester was handsome! (of course, that's not a bad thing, per se...more of literary purist complaint than anything else).
This is a must-see film for all English majors and anyone who has ever loved the works of Charlotte Brontë! Also, if you happen to be a Mr. Darcy fan-girl, you might want to check out Rochester; he's my personal favorite ;) Even if you are not acquainted with the book, but happen to love a good drama, then you'll have to check this out! If you don't know much about the book, however, please, please, please don't look up a summary! You'll enjoy this so much more if you're completely surprised! Of our group of four girls going to see the film, one of us was completely uninformed about the plot and storyline. Her reactions were among the best, since everything was a complete surprise!