Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Movie review: "Jane Eyre"

For those of you who are wondering about the new adaptation of the great Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, let me give you a quick rundown. For those of you who haven't read the book, you might not understand some of my references, so you could probably just skip to the final paragraph for my final word.

Many of you know the story. As a young girl, Jane, despised by her living relatives, is sent off to a cruel boarding school where she at least gains enough education to later become a governess. Governess to the ward of one Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester, who is not the most handsome of men but dreamy in that broody moody Gothic lit way. Jane keeps all emotion out of her affairs with others, as they never seemed to help her before, until Rochester admits the unthinkable: he loves her! But a terrible secret is revealed, and Jane must make the biggest decisions of her life.

Okay, so I have to admit, when the movie started I looked over to my friend (who also loves the book) and said, "What the hell is going on?" We open with a clearly upset Jane who eventually ends up sobbing in the grayish British moors, for no apparent reason. What part are we on, I wondered? Is this supposed to e 12-year-old Jane running from the house of her awful cousins? No, it's not—it is 17-year-old Jane, surprise! And she is running away from Thornfield. Far too early.

You see, the people of Focus Features decided to kind of tell the story in flashbacks. Jane is telling parts of her story to the Rivers (you'll find out who they are, sort of, by the end of the movie/book). But after my initial confusion on this front, I started to get into the movie a bit more.

I loved the casting they did. Sure, Rochester might have been a bit too pretty, but he wasn't too good-looking or too old. And Mia Wasikowska is lovely. I thought she did an excellent job in her portrayal, and her looks fall right into one would expect for Jane. At least they did for me. And Dame Judi Dench!!! Score right there. Also, Amelia Clarkson, who was little Jane, did a great job. I hope she has a career ahead of her, she's got some talent.

I know it's hard to do justice to a tome like Jane Eyre, but a one-and-a-half hour movie just doesn't cut it. The movie felt too condensed; Jane's childhood was glossed over, with parts completely cut. And and IMPORTANT scene with a VEIL was cut too!! I was a little upset about that.

But again, considering they couldn't make this five hours long, I thought this was a good adaptation of the novel, though of course it is no substitute for reading the book itself. So much is missed with just the movie.

Final word: If you have read and loved the book, this is worth seeing, though you could probably just wait to get it on Netflix or the library instead of dropping $10. If you haven't and are too lazy to read it, at least you'll get the gist of the story. But if you have the time to read it, do it—it's a much more fulfilling experience.


  1. I really liked that the story was portrayed through flashbacks. I didn't feel too disoriented throughout. However, I, like you, felt that too much of Jane's person was left out of the storyline. Her character was defined by her insistence that her gown be plain, her love of religion and her desire to see more of the world that resided around her. The film could have been far longer and would've conveyed a more accurate picture of Bronte's Jane Eyre. I enjoyed the movie, but was not particularly impressed that, yes, they could follow the storyline, but could not follow through with the nuances embedded within the text.

  2. I'm so bumbed that this movie isn't being played in my home town. Can't wait to see it. Even if I don't like the movie it will still be fun to complain about how much better the book is!

    Also, should I be getting excited to read The Woman in White?

  3. Ahh, The Woman in White is great! It's got a lot of action, and a few WTF moments. Definitely a fun classic, though parts did drag a bit.


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