First of all, Jane Eyre the novel is one of my all-time favorite reads; I've been re-reading it this year and have been anticipating the new movie for months. So you know I went to see it at the very first opportunity, which was last night at the Boston advance screening. The theater was packed, and the film was fantastic.
Director Cary Fukunaga tells the story starting from about 2/3 of the way through the actual narrative; it's difficult to set the story up without spoiling it somewhat but I'll try. The very first shot is Jane leaving a house; she travels into the countryside by herself, and collapses on the doorstep of the Rivers family- sisters Diana and Mary, and brother St. John, kind people who take her in. As she recovers, we learn her story in flashback- her unhappy childhood, her dismal school years and the romance at the center of the story (and her life), with Mr. Rochester of Thornfield Hall.
Of course the love story takes up most of the space in the movie; even at 2 hours and change, there's not enough time to incorporate all the detail of Charlotte Brontë's wonderful novel so Fukunaga has to trim. (Some details from the book are changed, too.) Her childhood and school years are greatly abbreviated, as is the very end of the story, but for the most part I thought that his choices were judicious. The movie looks incredible- the outdoor scenes are richly atmospheric and I could almost feel the breezes and rains and hailstorms cutting through the screen. And the actors are terrific, too. I loved Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender as Jane and Rochester; they have a great on-screen chemistry and Wasikowska is now my favorite Jane. Fassbender was wonderful but nobody can replace Timothy Dalton- sorry.
Overall? Fukunaga's Jane Eyre is a winning adaptation of a true literary classic. I can't wait to see it again! Jane Eyre fans will love it and those who haven't read the book but enjoy artsy literary love stories should see it, too.
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