87. Jane Eyre (2011)

You transfix me quite.

Directed by: Cary Fukunaga
Written by: Moira Buffini
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell

As one of the most compelling and well-respected works in classic literature, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is brought to the screen by Cary Fukunaga and a wonderful cast that includes the likes of Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska, the rising and effortlessly good-lookin’ Michael Fassbender and even Judi Dench, in a supporting role as the kindly old maid, Mrs. Fairfax.

Jane Eyre (Wasikowska) has lived her entire life being bullied, abused and treated unfairly. With her own aunt (Sally Hawkins) sending her away to a disciplinary school, and having never had the opportunity to love and be loved in return (wait… Moulin Rouge?), Jane takes her strong will, sharp intellect and gentle nature to the house of Mr. Rochester as a governess to a young child left in the mysterious man’s care. But as the romance and lust between Rochester and Jane grow over time, dark secrets and deceits that come with Rochester’s past begin to haunt the two lovers and their chances of being together.

Gothic Romance gets much needed sunlight

While the much-loved Gothic romance is thrilling and deeply engaging in its original literary form, its sumptuous visual representation on screen, with the talents of Wasikowska and Fassbender, give it a refreshing sensibility that isn’t simply a period drama. As the narrative is told through flashback, Jane Eyre beautifully pieces together events with an appeal to memory, sensual detail and a psychological attachment to love that is so prevalent to Jane’s character and her experience.

Wasikowska and Fassbender also deliver Bronte’s written work with passion and dramatic power as their performances and their chemistry onscreen offer a subtle but intensely powerful portrayal of a literary romance that is as beautiful as it is dark.

Despite the fact that the film will probably get the same complaints that all novel-to-film adaptations will get, regarding how far it is from the reader’s own imagination, the stunning cinematography employed in this film cannot be denied. As the film takes full advantage of bleak Yorkshire moors, creepily large and lonesome mansions as well as the natural forces of wind and rain to tell the story, this is one Jane Eyre adaptation that is highly atmospheric and transfixing.


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