Friday, March 25, 2011


Guest blogger Liz Parker is back from an advance screening of "Jane Eyre". Is this latest screen version of the classic book by Charlotte Bronte just another boring rehash or something new and wonderful? Let's read what Liz thinks...

First off, I will be judging this "Jane Eyre" movie adaptation solely on the movie itself; not compared to the novel, which I haven't read (but now want to), or any other movie or TV adaptations of it, of which there have been plenty. I knew the basics of the plot before seeing the film, but not the entire story, and between the cinematography, acting, and story, I ended up enjoying "Jane Eyre" very much

The movie begins with what we later find out is almost the end; Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska, "The Kids Are All Right") running through the rain, becoming soaked in her frock and hooded cloak. She finds refuge in a nearby house, where St. John Rivers (Jamie Bell, "The Eagle") and his sisters take her in and nurse her back to health. The film then returns to the beginning of Jane's life, where she is an orphan living with her aunt, who does not want her and sends Jane off to a cruel boarding school. When she is older, Jane becomes a governess for a little girl, who is the ward of Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender, "Jonah Hex"), who flat-out tells her that he does not enjoy the company of children or old women (referring to the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, played by Judi Dench), but that he may possibly enjoy Jane's company. Jane finds herself attracted to him, and Mr. Rochester her, but he has a big secret that she doesn't yet know, which will impact any chance of a future she has with him.

The cinematography is gorgeous in the film, which was mostly filmed in Derbyshire, England, and the classical soundtrack meshes perfectly with it. I really liked that the film showed Jane's life partially in flashbacks, as it helps to show the audience who she is in the present and how she came to be that way. As far as the acting, we have a strong set of characters here, that are played well by Fassbender, Wasikowska, and Judi Dench; my only complaint is that the chemistry between Jane and Mr. Rochester wasn't that great - they are fine when they are just talking to each other, but when it comes to romance, it wasn't as believable as it could have been. The film also injects humor throughout it - for example, the first time Dench's character sees Jane and Rochester kissing, her eyes get big as saucers, and she blatantly stares at them - which was a nice contrast between the otherwise serious nature of the movie.

Yes, see this film. It cannot simply be dismissed as a "chick flick" - it is far too complicated for that. Although this is the first movie adaptation of "Jane Eyre" I've seen, I ended up really liking it, and I will probably read the original Charlotte Bronte book in the near future. Anyone can enjoy this film, and I hope that moviegoers do go and see it, regardless of any preconceived notions they may have.

"Jane Eyre" is in theaters today, March 25th.

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Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films
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