Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My review of Jane Eyre

On a cool Saturday afternoon, I watched with a nearly full house at the Michigan Theater's 'Screening Room', Michael Fassbender's 'Jane Eyre', and to my relief, it was superb. It wasn't perfect, but for a smartly condensed version of a taunt Victorian romance usually smothered with tension and repression, it was very entertaining! Unlike previous film adaptations of Charlotte Brontë's novel, director Cary Fukunaga's 'Jane Eyre' had a supernatural aspect to it that made it more chilling, and made up for the film's more abbreviated feel to it. I also found it was effective in having flashback's to young Jane's life with her heartless aunt and at the boarding school that abused her. What this child endured made her very independent and very wise for such a young woman of those times.

It felt like forever until Mr. Rochester came onto the screen, and Michael's version of Mr. Rochester was very good - however, he looked a little too young for such a storied man who harbored a heavy heart and was not a happy person. When he and Jane had their first conversation, he asked, 'Do you find me a handsome man', and she said 'No'. The audience chuckled because it didn't seem natural. I reckon most if not everyone in the audience was well acquainted with this story and to have a man who looks like Michael Fassbender ask if you find him handsome, is like asking if you find an elephant to be a large mammal. But never the less, I enjoyed the sarcastic attitude of Rochester - he was snarky and mean-spirited, but not in an evil way, just someone who has been hurt and doesn't trust people and he doesn't care if they like him back. Meanwhile, Jane held her own against him and the chemistry between Mia and Michael was believable.

Because the movie was condensed, I felt that their relationship, or love for each other flourished a bit too soon; but then again, it's a two-hour film, not a five-part mini-series. Mia Wasikowska was outstanding as Jane Eyre, this girl has a long future ahead for her and I will not be shocked if she wins an Oscar before she's 30! I can now forgive the Michigan Theater for only putting Mia's name up on the marquee as she truly carried the film. Mia did an excellent job in showing the emotional toll of the betrayal and resentment that Jane experienced as a child, and was once again being experienced as a young adult. As soon as she finds out Mr. Rochester's dark secret and runs away and almost loses her mind, you really felt her pain. And Michael - his eyes are so expressive, he's so emotive and believable as Rochester. There were moments in the film, especially in silhouette where he was beautiful. He thus far is the handsomest Mr. Rochester. We don't see the events that lead up to how Thornfield Hall is destroyed, but Jane came back to find Mr. Rochester, and in the end, it was lovely see how this adaptation brought them together again. Love doesn't care about social status, and both Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre had loveless lives and were meant to be together.

Grade: A-

1 comment:

MLM said...

Hi Simone, after seeing the new "Jane Eyre" film, I finally picked up the novel and read it in two days, swooning and crying throughout. I think Fassbender nailed the essence of Rochester both emotionally and physically, even though Rochester is described in the novel as bit older, with dark eyes, and "not handsome." Rochester is a Byronic male figure: brooding, passionate, intense, very masculine, yet also very perceptive and intelligent. His attractiveness to Jane comes from his potent presence. Fassbender was all these things through body language, voice, and the intensity of his eyes.