Sunday, September 11, 2011

My thoughts on the new Jane Eyre movie...

Jane Eyre was never my favourite book, and Emily was the sister I identified with the most, but this take on Charlotte Bronte's novel was quite mesmerising - especially for the setting. The camera work was very good - Thornfield was perfect, and the lighting was almost ethereal, despite being all natural.

I'm kind of divided over the casting of Mia Wasikowska, the Australian actress, but I'm not sure if my problem was with her or the way that the people behind the scenes chose to interpret the character. Mia has something other-worldly about her, but I always pictured Jane as very human. The way the character was portrayed was just a little too meek and subdued I think. She didn't seem real at times.  There's no doubting her skill as an actress, and it may not be her fault that I didn't really perceive her as the Jane Eyre from the book. 

In the book, there is much more evidence of Jane's ambition and frustration at the world around her: 

"Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do" - Jane

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself" - Jane

"And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you."

This side of Jane doesn't shine through so much in this adaptation and I think it is such an integral part of what she is...
On the other hand, Dame Judi Dench was perfect and added some much-needed comic relief at times. And, I have to say, Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester was a genius move. He was complex, sardonic and mysterious - grisly and worn but handsome. There was evidence of this undercurrent of passion, that is masked very well at times in the book, but Fassbender portrayed him with a subtle vulnerability which made him seem less harsh and austere. 

There were some things I found a bit odd - bits of it were quite scary but they weren't the parts you'd expect. Jane's childhood, in particular, was haunting and violent while the revelation of Bertha in the attic felt a bit of an anticlimax, especially since it is perhaps the most terrifying part of the book. 

On the whole, it was by no means perfect, but it was new take on the story and characters and was filmed beautifully. It would be interesting to hear what other people thought of the casting...?


  1. I agree, I think it was a good film overall, BUT!!! - my friends and I are a bit picky with details, and so we couldn't get over the fact that Mr Rochester was friends with Richard Mason, Bertha's brother, in this version. WHY?! Why would he be friends with the man that is imprisoning his sister?!
    Also, I wasn't very satisfied with the ending; it felt very cop-out, like the (British) ending of Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley..!
    I really enjoyed reading your review!
    P.S: Also, has it ever been revealed that Adele is Rochester's love child? And what's your take on Rochester - is he a great guy, or a not-so-great guy? (Tbh, I'm in love with Heathcliff, so I'm probably not the best person to ask!)

    1. I also remember being irritated by the ending of Pride & Prejudice although I loved the film over all! I think Rochester can be seen in both ways, some see him as a misogynist - but I don't, I see the best in him - there's a lot of goodness and passion in him (like Heathcliff) - for example, the fact that he is crippled because he ran back into the burning house to save his mad wife who had tried to kill him earlier.