For Movie Monday this week I watched Jane Eyre, the 2011 version directed by Cary Fukunaga. Although Jane Eyre, the novel by Charlotte Bronte, has been turned into several miniseries, movies and made for t.v movies this version takes a fresh look at a classic.
I haven’t read Jane Eyre in quite awhile, and I didn’t really like it when I did read it. The plot in the movie stays close to the novel, so my problems with the movie are mostly the same problems as the novel. I greatly dislike Rochester’s character, and the idea that Jane would agree to marry some guy that she doesn’t know that well, especially a guy that isn’t even nice to her. Maybe some women want the proposal to be something of a surprise, but I’m pretty sure it’s the location or the timing that’s supposed to be the surprise- not the fact that they guy actually likes you. During the proposal scene in the movie you almost get whiplash as Jane goes so quickly from “What, you like me?” to “Sure, I’ll marry you!” This is paraphrased, of course.
Other than the looney tunes romance, this movie is absolutely brilliant. Mia Wasikowska portrays Jane Eyre beautifully with a quiet strength to her character. Judi Dench is wonderful as Mrs. Fairfax, my favourite scene with her is when she is showing Jane to her room, and Jane thinks that she is the owner of the house. I also love the interaction between Jane and Mrs. Fairfax near the end when Mrs. Fairfax is explaining what happened to the house, and tells Jane that she would have helped her.
This is such a beautiful movie- the moors alone made me want to visit, and the historic house that they film in is breathtaking. The lighting that they use (lots of candles, fireplaces, etc) feels very natural and complements the scenes well. Some of the scenes are very dark in terms of lighting and I really like that because it felt more realistic. I’ve seen historical movies where they’re inside at night and it completely feels lit by electricity, too bright, too much direct light but in Jane Eyre the lighting felt very authentic.
Jane Eyre is such a haunting tale and that fact really shines in this movie. It feels very gothic and tragic, but not as creepy as the trailer made it out to be. The trailer of the movie really makes it feel like you’re going to be watching a horror movie, but I think they crammed in all of the scariest and creepy bits of the movie into it, and possibly some of the deleted scenes, which are available on the dvd. I watched Jane Eyre by myself late at night and the deleted scene “Rochester Pleads with Jane to Stay” almost gave me a hear attack! (check out this clip at 0:09, and 2:31!)
This movie manages to stay fresh while staying true to the original story. It’s the kind of movie that you turn on the commentary and re-watch immediately after watching the first time, or at least I did. 5/5.