Valentine’s Marathon: Jane Eyre (2011)

Jane Eyre is the classic written by Charlotte Bronte and this here is the newest movie adaptation.  I have never read this book before although it is sitting on my bookshelf and it will be done soon. I had no idea what to even expect of it but the box said that it was “a love story as fiercely intelligent as it is passionate.” Sounds like something awesome, no?

jane eyreDirector: Cary Fukunaga

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench

Most classics, people already know how it goes or at least have a general idea, but seeing as I didn’t know anything about the story except for that it was written by Charlotte Bronte and that this is something of a gothic novel. Here is the story. Jane Eyre Mia Wasikowska) was orphaned when she was young and her father put her under the care of her Aunt, Mrs. Reed.  She was bullied by her cousin and her aunt found her to be a burden and eventually, at a young age, sends her off to a boarding school.  She gets punished for being rebellious in her actions and not always conforming to the ways at this school, there she befriends another little girl, Helen who dies in front of her.  When its her turn to leave this school, she leaves and finds herself employed as a governess at Thornfield Hall.  It’s there she meets Mrs. Fairfax (Judi Dench) who is the housekeeper.  When she finally meets the master of the house, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender), she is treated as an equal.  Mr. Rochester is a man with dark moods which matches Thornfield Hall which is said to be haunted with a dark haired woman where screams can be heard and strange things occur throughout the night.  Thornfield Hall seems to have its share of secrets.  However, despite all that, a connection starts to draw Jane and Mr. Rochester together.  When things start to go out of hand, Jane decides to seek refuge and eventually gets saved by St. John (Jamie Bell).

jane-eyre lighting

As I haven’t read the novel, this will be seen as a standalone movie.  However, I will say one of the most captivating aspects of this movie is its lighting.  It stays true to the gothic style that the classic has.  At times in the movie, I actually felt an eerie feeling that you’d feel in a horror movie.  It made me sit at the edge of my seat and wonder what was going to pop out of the dark.  Its not just a love story but also a thriller because of all the secrets that are hidden in Thornfield Hall.  In most of the scenes the lighting is usually from either natural light of the outside or when inside, its from the light coming through the windows or candle light and lanterns. This helps set the tone of movie.

Jane Eyre Film

Aside from that, the two main characters are just amazing.  Mia Wasikowska is an beautiful actress and she portrays a simple and plain girl who hasn’t felt much (or any) love in her life.  She questions the nature of love and she ends up finding it in the rarest place.  The last time I saw Mia Wasikowska was in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  As much as many people did like the movie, I did appreciate her performance there.  She played this role perfectly.  As for Michael Fassbender, I know him from last year’s Prometheus as well as 300 and X-Men: First Class.  His role as Mr. Rochester definitely was great.  He showed how Mr. Rochester was dark and deep.  At times, he would be blunt and direct with his sentences however, his desire to understand Jane Eyre was also shown.  He showed that even though she was just a governess, he respected and confided in her.  When they finally fell in love, you could feel their chemistry.  Michael Fassbender can act with his eyes and that is one of the greatest skills of an actor (in my opinion).  He emitted his passionate love for Jane Eyre and you can just see the strong emotions in his eyes.

jane eyre rochester

I’ve already reviewed two classics in this marathon.  This one is completely new to me.  The first thing I did when the movie finished was to watch the deleted scenes and then leaned over to my bookshelf and pulled out Jane Eyre and put it in queue for the coming novels to read.  This movie is just that great.  Its an epic love story with dark secrets and unexpected turns filmed in an natural lit setting which gives off the gothic dark mood that I presume the novel is set in. I highly recommend this movie.  Its just a beauty to watch.

For those who have read this Charlotte Bronte classic, is it supposed to be dark? What do you think about the adaptation if you’ve seen it?

Do you think that movies that use natural lighting that makes every set a bit darker to be a effective means to set a suspenseful and eerie scene?  What do you think about Mia Wasikowska and/or Michael Fassbender?