Bottom Line: Adaptation number umpteen. Maybe a bit sad it was overlooked.
Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring: Jamie Bell, Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender
There are only two ways to categorize classic literature when analyzing how it is adapted. There are those that have been adapted more than a few times (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and those that are still awaiting their first rendition (J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye). Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has taken the first category further than any other novel. Cary Joji Fukunaga’s (I won’t bother with that name) 2011 adaptation of the novel is the sixteenth motion picture rendition.
The plot revolves around Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska), our titular character, and a distinct personality. We briefly see her suffering throughout her childhood, the stage in which she was orphaned. The story is no less bleak once she becomes an adult. She begins working as governess for Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender), a wealthy man owning a grand house. With the undisturbed, empty, quiet state of the mansion, Jane Eyre begins to find herself falling strangely in love with Mr. Rochester.
Let’s start out with the most noticeable quality of JANE EYRE. It’s not quite vividly colorful, but especially for a period piece, the visual aspect is very well-done. Whenever filmmakers create a period piece, one of the most paramount points to work on is the coloration. When this is over- or underworked, the result is along the lines of THE HELP, a film that I would have viewed as flawless, had it not been ruined by its bright, cheesy visuals. An on-target example would be JANE EYRE. The lighting and contrast heavily expound upon the dreary, bleak tone of the film itself.
The performances may be the next best thing. In most cases, I would say, “We have Judi Dench; ’nuff said.” But we have a talented Jane Eyre from beginning to end. Mia Wasikowska develops her role robustly as the titular character, an in-depth, odd personality. Just look at one of the production stills and you’ll agree.
What brings JANE EYRE into a hole of sorts is its watchability. This isn’t at all the most enjoyable film, even with top-notch acting and visuals. It isn’t as boring as I expected (I expected something like the book, which I haven’t read, but have only heard to be a painful read), but it is incredibly slow, and it takes its precious time when attempting to process events. Recommended for some, but not all.