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.
.....now this pleb is going back to the Sons of Anarchy.....................