Tuesday 24 December 2013


(Cary Fukunaga, 2011)

For all that Fukunaga was meant to infuse another hoary old literary classic with some modern style and crackle, his adaptation of Jane Eyre feels much like the majority of period melodramas made over the last decade or so. Yes he pulls off some nicely inventive shots, yes the cinematography is impressively rich and textured, but that makes surprisingly little difference to the narrative experience. Its still a load of familiar plot developments and characters - most of them so common in this particular genre they are beyond cliche - with actors working hard to make stiffly formal period appropriate dialogue sound natural.
This adaptation takes a few liberties with the novel; mainly through emphasis and emotional weighting, but is otherwise quite faithful.
What elevates it is the cast. Mia Wasikowska is terrific as Jane, and her chemistry with a similarly excellent Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester carries the film. These are both tricky roles - Jane is a saintly sufferer, Rochester unlikably grumpy but ultimately loveable, and the way the actors conjure their mutual passion in very few dialogue-heavy scenes is remarkable, and finally quite moving. The likes of Jamie Bell and Judi Dench offer good support.

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