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Review: Jane Eyre

PUBLISHED: 16:02 09 September 2011

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Archant

Another film of Jane Eyre? After more than 20 screen versions what can possibly be added to Charlotte Bronte’s story? Well, in this case, the director of Sin Nombre offers us a vibrant, moody skim through Bronte’s tale that sweeps fresh new energy into its well worn twists and turns.

The two leads are excellent. Michael Fassbender has now ascended to the level of sure thing; a performer who will excel in any role he is thrown. He is perfect for costume drama as he has a great gift for being mannered and yet passionate.

Mia Wasikowska’s unsmiling Jane is both disconcertingly childlike and abruptly assertive.

Cary Joji Fukunaga’s version of Eyre plays up the gothic angle but it’s an unusual gothic, a dowdy gothic. Thornfield Hall is a dark and forbidding place, but in a lived-in way.

The sense of isolation, of being trapped by the long bleak winters is palpable. So much of it is dank and grey you could catch a chill just looking at it.

This is an historical drama which feels like it is being lived rather than recreated. All in all this is very superior package: marvellously played, lovely music and beautiful to look at.

Yet though Jane Eyre may be a fabulous film, it may not necessarily be a fabulous film of Jane Eyre.

Fans of the book should appreciate the way a selection of its pages have been realised, but afterwards I was checking the internet because I emerged with only hints and suspicions about what it was really about.

I was enthralled by the telling, but not the tale.

JANE EYRE (PG)

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots and Sally Hawkins.

Length: 120 mins

***


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