Screening: Jane Eyre

My weekend was filled with sunshine, a little thrift store shopping, and lots of movies. Saturday night I stayed in and was thrilled when I realized TCM was showing Mildred Pierce. The new HBO mini-series starring Kate Winslet has already drummed up plenty of buzz, but can it compare to the 1940s classic featuring the legendary Joan Crawford? That remains to be seen. I also rented Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. It’s a heartbreaking story, but a hopeful one. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

As luck would have it, Sunday the weather turned cold and quite dreary and was just begging for a good book or movie–or, perhaps, both. I had the opportunity to see the latest interpretation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and I am so glad I did.

Admittedly, I struggled through Jane Eyre in my 9th grade English Class and relied heavily on every high schooler’s savior, Cliff Notes, to pass the tests and papers covering the novel. But as time has gone on, I’ve often wondered if I should pick it back up and have another go at it. It’s one of those stories that continues to have new life breathed into it, and because it is a story many of us can identify with on one level or another.

In this, the 28th film adaptation of the novel, director Cary Fukunaga does an exceptional job grabbing hold of the viewer and not letting him or her go until the last moment. The movie simultaneously moves at a pace that reflects its literary origins while also keeping us engaged throughout, always wondering what the next turn or twist will be.

Mia Wasikowska, who you will recognize from Alice in Wonderland and The Kids are All Right, gives Jane such humanity throughout the film. You can feel her pain, her trepidation, her heartbreak. You live and breathe the emotions with her.  Similarly, Michael Fassbender gives an equally moving performance as Mr. Rochester. The torment he feels about the secret he carries and the love he has for Jane is palpable throughout.

The supporting cast, including Dame Judy Dench and Jamie Bell, round out an amazing cinematic adaptation of this classic novel. It is so beautiful. The cinematography is dark and brooding, until exactly the moment it should not be…it perfectly captures the emotion and tone of the story.

I hope you’ll make time to take in this film–it’s one you want to see on the big screen. Here’s the trailer to further whet your appetite:

This movie reaffirmed my desire to revisit the original source…I think I’ve just found my next piece of classic literature to dive into. I’ll have to do a side by side comparison once I’ve made it through the book again.

What are some of your favorite film adaptations of classic literature?

photos from Focus Features Films

1 Comment

  1. annarouth

    I love this review. Makes me very excited to check it out :)

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