Saturday, 10 September 2011

Jane Eyre

It may be hard to believe but I do have a real soft spot for costume dramas but quite frankly I have an even softer spot for Michael Fassbender so whenever the two collided in the form of Jane Eyre I was always going to be there on opening night.

PLOT:  Orphaned Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) spent the majority of her childhood in a strict girl’s school but after graduating she goes to Thornfield Hall to tutor the ward of Mr Rochester (Michael Fassbender).  The two become close friends and although Jane believes Rochester is more interested in a more socially acceptable suitor he proposes.  On their wedding day Rochester’s secret is exposed and threatens their relationship. There is repressed sexual tension.  There are crazy wives.  There is Jamie Bell.  There are sweeping violins.  They all live happily ever after.  END PLOT

I have to admit I read Jane Eyre as a kid but I read the children’s version of the classic.  I am a reader but the Brontes and the Austens of this world have never held my interest therefore I found myself sitting between two avid fans who I am sure used the term “pleb” to describe me as a term of endearment.

The story was told out of sequence with flashbacks of Jane’s childhood interweaving with the main story.  This didn’t work as well as it should have and made the film feel very disjointed, especially for the first half hour however by the film settled down and the main Jane/Rochester story came to the fore I was fully invested.

The film had the look and feel of a period piece but it was nothing special.  I appreciate that giving the film a Hollywood gloss would not have been appropriate but at no time did the scenery, costumes or the set stand out and in this regard it was quite forgettable. 

Mia Wasikowska is excellent as Jane and portrays Jane’s unflinching goodness and strength very convincingly – she turned out to be a strong and capable lead.

Michael Fassbender charms his way through proceedings with ease and towards the end when Rochester’s secret is unveiled he upped his game and performance.

There was a real size difference between Fassbender and Wasikowska and whenever Rochester was dragging Jane to and from the wedding I was seriously worried he was going to break her!

Jamie Bell and Judy Dench are as strong as ever and helped to strengthen the supporting cast.

Jane Eyre was very character driven with the heroine being in every scene and as a newcomer to this character I found her quiet strength and resolve very genuine and likeable.  The film gets a respectable 7.5/10 – performance wise you would be hard pressed to find a fault and it will be an addition to the dvd collection upon its release but there was just something missing to elevate it into a truly spectacular adaptation. this pleb is going back to the Sons of Anarchy.....................


  1. Probably because my coursework for my English lit degree required I read a lot more Brontë and Austen than I ever wanted, it takes a lot more me to get interested in any film adaptations.

    That being said the two leads in this drew my attention, Fassbender is a really interesting actor to me. Might be a rental for me at some point, nice write up K :-)

  2. I've somehow never got as far as reading any Austen novels. I'm really reluctant to see this becasue of that fact. I think I'd sit through it wanting to compare and feeiing frustrated that I couldn't! This will be a DVD rental one day.
    But I have read Bronte's Wuthering Heights about 20 years ago and still haven't seen an adaptation! 19th Century romances hold no real appeal for me as such.

  3. Daniel: the other two thirds of the trio would love your degree as they know the Austens inside out! I am with Brent on this as 19C romance novels do not appeal at all!

    It is definitely worth a look on dvd as Fassbender is very good in it.

    Brent: I've accepted the fact that Jane Eyre is a book I will never read but as a film on its own it is very good. The performances are very strong.

    D: Thanks for reading!

    K :-)

  4. Well, let me say I was forced to read them, a lot. I never enjoyed them and have lived quite contently knowing I'll never have to read another one.

  5. I'm with Daniel there. You never enjoy a book you are forced to read it. I didn't do well in English at school and hated the rubbish boks we had to read. And yet I love literature and read voraciously.
    This film had a two day run here!! It was here Thurs and gone Fri! i was contemplating seeing it because the only alternative was The Change-Up. whilst I like Jason Bateman alot Ryan Reynolds is just bah material to me.

  6. Agreed - reading for school always seemed like such a chore!

    The Change Up poor you - it is not my idea of comedy at all. Ryan Reynolds really irritates me now and Jason Bateman's films are usually poor which is a pity!

    We had Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy this weekend so I can't complain :-)