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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Mia Wasikowska
Michael Fassbender
Judi Dench
Jamie Bell.
Directors
Cary Fukunaga.
Screenwriters
Moira Buffini.
Running Time
120 minutes

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Jane Eyre
Girl power circa 1847


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Plot
A new interpretation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic romance about a self-assured governess (Wasikowska) who falls in love with her new employer, Mr. Rochester (Fassbender) — a man burdened by a terrible secret.


Review
Jane Eyre
And so anotherr spin about the Brontëan moors: windswept, rain-sodden, winter-chilled. While not intent upon a reboot, Sin Nombre’s Cary Fukunaga certainly aims for a primal climate, shooting Victorian Yorkshire like a nuclear wasteland — the opening scene discovers Mia Wasikowska’s distraught Jane stumbling across what appears to be the outskirts of Mordor. The interiors are, if anything, gloomier. The abiding sensation is one of dampness, a visceral demonstration of what it is to live without central heating. This is Brontë recalibrated by Sergio Leone — meandering chit-chat is out, smouldering glances and lunar landscapes are in. It could double as a horror movie.

As plain, thinky Jane, Wasikowska matches her director’s sullen vibe with impressive restraint. She has that rare knack for slipping out of her good looks for something sterner, inward — a kernel of displeasure at a patriarchal world. How well she embodies Brontë’s proto-feminist ideal: fierce and unflappable, hair pinned tight as a skull cap, mouth pursed equally furiously when supping tea or clambering through the wild. A woman trying to fill mind and soul, to exercise her freedom to choose, trading dialogue with stuck-in-the-mud yokels like Judi Dench (the homespun housekeeper), Jamie Bell (the clergyman whose love is spurned) and Sally Hawkins (the hideously priggish aunt). If the movie had stopped at constructing an emotional treatment for Jane through a modern prism, it would have been a minor triumph.

Opposite stews Michael Fassbender: smile askew, eyes aflame, hair afopping, and tunic Byronically agape. Few of today’s leading men possess the carnal charisma of this Irish Method rogue. There is something untamed about him, as if he might rip off his breeches and howl at the moon — making him a peculiar choice as Rochester. If you stuck to the book’s fustier vision, you’d cast Paul Giamatti. But this being the movies, why not pep up your Rochester with a hefty dose of Heathcliff? Simple: it cheapens Jane’s attraction to cliché — our heroine developing a crush on the handsome grump fetchingly lit by crackling firelight. For all the depth of the visual palate, the romance is starkly black and white.

Strange, too, if playing Rochester as rock star, that the script gives so little emphasis to the book’s darker mysteries. The midnight screams, the secret room, the skeleton in Rochester’s closet — the fun bits — feel like an afterthought. Their discovery holds no impact, no tragedy. The film sets a forceful Jane up against an unforgiving universe then turns its nose up at going full Brontë.


Verdict
There’s no question it’s stunningly mounted, and Wasikowska makes a much stronger Jane than Alice, but the romance is overripe and the climax underdone.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Jane Eyre
Empire Star Rating

RE: Jane Eyre

When dealing with a classic story, it's as well to get certain lines in the screen adaptation correct. Jane Eyre is my favorite book, movie,and musical. I loved Mia and Michael as Jane and Rochester. ... More

Posted by marykate30 at 11:03, 30 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Jane Eyre

Fassbender could have been a good Rochester, but this adaptation lost its direction at the very beginning, perhaps at the screenwriting. Wasikowska isn't bad by all means, just she is simply not Jane Eyre. There are beautiful shots and a few intriguing dialogues, but that's all. ... More

Posted by szoni at 10:56, 22 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Jane Eyre

Disappointed with it. Didn't feel there was any chemistry between Jane and Mr Rochester. Didn't like the attempt to inject a bit of humour in it via Ms Dench and didn't get a sense of unease that comes with living in a house with a madwomen in the attic. Tried to hard to be 'different'. Will be interesting to see how the new Wuthering Heights compares. ... More

Posted by moehat at 01:16, 26 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre's impressive, but not captivating enough to be one of great adaptations. It's always been difficult for the screenplay to capture enough of the blend of romance versus menace from Bronte's story. The chemistry between Fassbender, the steamy-eyed rogue Rochester, and Wasikowska as the stern yet beguiling innocent governess, was an interesting mix however. Their moments of interaction were very entertaining to watch, and I wish the "happy time” montage was a little longer to make their ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 11:37, 20 September 2011 | Report This Post


Great Cinema

I like films not books and this is a film based on a literature master piece but I never read it but I wasn't all so ignorant as I had seen bits only bits of the t.v series. This film is great cinema a beautiful story, beautifully shot and containing beautiful language, not forgetting the beautiful acting. One scene stands out for me, while she is running away she looks out into endless bleakness of the Yorkshire moors and collapses she is like a bird that needs to fly away. Any way that's like... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 18:39, 09 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: A great Jane and a reasonable adaptation

Agree with the review while there are some pretty good performances.  I felt that the film lacked a heart.  There was no real passion to it.   However it looked beautiful.  My favourite version is still William Hurt's with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane. ... More

Posted by princessa at 18:38, 09 September 2011 | Report This Post


A great Jane and a reasonable adaptation

The main problem with film adaptations of Jane Eyre is that they have to ditch half the plot to keep to a reasonable running time so some key elements have to be omitted completely while others are rushed. I thought Wasikowska made an excellent Jane. Fassbender is a bit too good looking but the idea that Giamatti would be better casting is idiotic. My favourite adaptation remains the 1990 BBC series with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MMoscow at 19:42, 07 September 2011 | Report This Post


This review was hilarious - I hope Fassbender doesn't disapoint ;-P ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tozzer at 18:36, 06 September 2011 | Report This Post


This review was hilarious - I hope Fassbender doesn't disapoint ;-P ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tozzer at 18:36, 06 September 2011 | Report This Post


Overactive girl's imagination

I'm sorry I have to disagree. When I was reading Jane Eyre at university I was definitely not imagining Paul Giamatti as Mr Rochester, and I hadn't seen any of the film adaptations, so I couldn't have been influenced by those. I'm sorry to insult the excellent Mr Giamatti, but Mr Rochester is definitely not pudgy. I think Michael Fassbender was a great choice for the role because he embodies the virile masculinity Brontë describes in the book. Maybe it's a different experience if you're re... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Enzino at 14:07, 05 September 2011 | Report This Post


Overactive girl's imagination

I'm sorry I have to disagree. When I was reading Jane Eyre at university I was definitely not imagining Paul Giamatti as Mr Rochester, and I hadn't seen any of the film adaptations, so I couldn't have been influenced by those. I'm sorry to insult the excellent Mr Giamatti, but Mr Rochester is definitely not pudgy. I think Michael Fassbender was a great choice for the role because he embodies the virile masculinity Brontë describes in the book. Maybe it's a different experience if you're re... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Enzino at 14:07, 05 September 2011 | Report This Post


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