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Film Review: Jane Eyre

Apr 23, 2011 11:45AM ● By Wendy Sipple

Jane Eyre is the newest of many film adaptations of the famous book published in 1847. It’s not hard to find modern day books and films, like Twilight, that borrowed heavily from this original gothic romance. The movie follows the life of Jane Eyre, who is an orphaned child sent to a boarding school that revels in the mistreatment of the children.

Despite her circumstance, Jane is intent on making a life for herself out of nothing. Jane finds work as a governess for a rich man’s ward at the isolated Thornfield Manor. There are rumors of the estate being haunted and strange screams echo in the halls as she tries to sleep. When Mr. Rochester arrives at the estate the strange occurrences increase. Jane also finds herself falling for her imposing employer. Mr. Rochester finds himself attracted to Jane as well but a dark secret keeps the pair apart.

Although Jane Eyre is a classic book and has had several adaptations made into movie form (perhaps the most famous version starring the late Orsen Welles in 1944) I must admit that I had not seen or read Jane Eyre previous to viewing the most current release. I was expecting a period piece and was pleasantly surprised to find a movie buried in atmosphere and intrigue. My attention was captured from start to finish and the twists in the story were truly twisted and caught me by surprise. The film maintained a tension, not only in atmosphere, but also between the relationships of the characters. This kept the audience in high alert.  

The movie’s lead was played by Mia Wasikowska, who did a fine job. The supporting cast was strong too, highlighted by Judi Dench. The scene stealer here however was Michael Fassbender. Certain actors have a certain something special that just allows them to stand out; a charisma and a presence. The last actors who had that screen presence in my opinion were Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood. I think the heir apparent may be Michael Fassbender. His mere presence in a scene added an intensity that oozed from the screen. After seeing his performance here I eagerly await his big budget film debut in June’s X-Men First Class

Cary Joji Fukunaga directed Jane Eyre as his second feature film and did a marvelous job. It’s easy to see he will have a long career. His ability to pace the movie without losing the tension while servicing the romantic drama displayed a lot of skill. The set designers deserve some recognition too as the manor/castle along with the surrounding woods took on personalities of their own which greatly added to the tone of the movie.

Jane Eyre was a very strong film that featured a crew and cast of what I believe will be future stars. They showcased their talents with great effect. It’s a shame that Jane Eyre won’t find a mainstream audience as I think the younger generation would enjoy this film quite a bit. If you are looking for a romance film with an edge you won’t find many better than Jane Eyre.

FILMS LIKE JANE EYRE : Edward Scissorhands, Romeo and Juliet and Twilight

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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