“Read the book first!” Everyone insisted that this was the golden, number one rule for all partaking in a classic book challenge. Aye yi yi! Believe me, as delicious as it was to read Charlotte Brontë’s poetic description of Jane Eyre’s feelings, I longed to watch the action unfold before my eyes.
Readers, I listened. I finished Jane Eyre only to be faced with the tough decision of what adaptation to watch and Eyreaholics are fiercely opinionated on what to choose. However, as is my life, a new book took the last remaining slot in my brain of things I can focus on and Jane began to fade away. Yet fate refused to let me forget her and sitting pretty on the shelf at the library was Cary Fukunaga’s 2011 version of Jane Eyre. The movie chose me!
And here is my review for Hobby Buku’s Books into Movies meme …
Wow, this is a very quiet movie. Even with background music, the story plays out in a hush. Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre is also quiet. She only makes a peep when spoken to and it takes Mr. Rochester’s appearance to draw her out of her shell. As they verbally and intellectually spar (very romantic I dare say), we begin to see some spark from our heroine. When I realized the movie is solely focused on Jane and Rochester’s relationship, I was a little annoyed because Jane’s personal growth in the book was so gratifying. But then I started enjoying the romance and rooting for our lovers which is HUGE because I did NOT like Rochester in the book or want them to be together at the end. I am now officially Team Rochester!
Why the change of heart? Two words: Michael Fassbender. He played a less obnoxious, more charming version of Rochester that won me over. The scene where Rochester professes his love to Jane in the garden took my breath away. I loved it in the book, but I will never forget it from this movie. (And yes, he is hot!)
Mia Wasikowska is a decent actress and I enjoyed her portrayal of Jane Eyre. She has expressive eyes which helps when you are playing an introverted, yet intelligent character. I liked that she played Jane “small” looking in every scene like she was trying to be invisible. When Jane is finally free to reveal her feelings to Rochester, Mia allows her character to bloom and glow like a woman truly in love.
Mr. Fukunaga’s adaptation of Jane Eyre is not a great representation of the book, but it is an entertaining movie highlighting the romance between Jane and Rochester. We have glimpses of her past – a pinch of Mrs. Reed, a dash of Lowood Institute – but I felt the movie didn’t fully illustrate the harsh childhood that shapes Jane into the strong woman we love. However, I can appreciate the movie separately from the book and do recommend it if you are a Jane Eyre fan. For me, it was definitely worth the wait!