Jane Eyre

(2011)

Genres: Drama, Romance

Review: Jane Eyre

Transcript for Review: Jane Eyre

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Our next film is yet another adaptation of the classic novel "Jane Eyre." Now there's been no shortage of movies based on Charlotte Bronte's tale of romance and woe -- most notably, Orson Welles co-starred opposite Joan Fontaine back in 1943. But it hasn't been brought to the screen in quite a while, and this version shakes things up by messing with the narrative structure.  Mia Wasikowska is quietly intense as the title character, whose rough life as an orphan leads to her work as a governess at the imposing Thornfield Hall.

Clip 3 -- Just the housekeeper

CHRISTY:
That's Judi Dench, who's part of the excellent supporting cast, as Mrs. Fairfax. She runs the place with a mix of pride and vague disapproval of its master, the volatile Edward Rochester. Michael Fassbender plays the iconically tragic character with all the necessary wit, ferocity and torment.

Clip 1 -- I would do anything for you

CHRISTY:
Society would seem to dictate that Jane and Edward can't be together. But it's their pasts that are really keeping them apart -- their secrets, and the walls they've built up for themselves. Still, each sees in the other a much-needed kindred spirit. So when they finally admit their feelings, their words come out in an emotional torrent.

Clip 5 -- Why must you leave

CHRISTY:
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga tells the story mainly in flashback -- we first see Jane fleeing Thornfield Hall in hysterics -- which creates tension from the start, even if you know the tale. Fukunaga's last film was "Sin Nombre," a visceral, violent story of Central Americans traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States. While that might make him seem like a weird choice for such classic literary material, both films are about people looking for a place to belong, and they share an intimate immediacy. "Jane Eyre" is anything but lush -- and that's what makes it beautiful.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
You know this film is very handsomely shot, it’s got a great cast, Fassbender is a very good Rochester, however I feel like there’s a void at the center of it and I’ll tell you why.

CHRISTY:
Ok.

IGNATIY:
I think this is a film with a lot of choices with absolutely no decisions made and I mean that in terms of the filmmaking.  What I mean is that, say, you know I pick this shirt.  That’s a choice.  Getting married is a decision and so, filmmaking should also be a decision and when I look at this movie all I see is just a lot of conceits and no real plan.

CHRISTY:
Now they decided to make it stripped down and muted and it could have been melodramatic and it’s not and because it is so low-key for a long time, those bursts of emotion pop out more.

IGNATIY:
You know this movie is fascinating to me, it’s almost like you take this novel, you know, Jane Eyre which is very, often very angry, you know it’s got all this social critique…it’s a really strange, this whole weird gothic romance going on and then you turn in into the most kind of distanced, blasé material imaginable.

CHRISTY:
It’s not blasé at all.  It builds all this tension.  You say it’s gothic and they play up the horror here more than you might expect and there are some truly suspenseful, frightening moments that happen.

IGNATIY:
I don’t think so.  The only sense I got from this is that you know, bad stuff sometimes happens and then good stuff happens and that’s the end and no real idea or even moral weight or anything besides that.

CHRISTY:
It’s just, the filmmakers make choices, the characters make choices too, nothing here is haphazard.

 

IGNATIY: 
Well, alright.