Posted by: greercn | September 17, 2011

Jane Eyre (2011)

Eeh bah goom. Has the Yorkshire accent ever been more ritually tortured than it is in this film? If so, I shall sing all of Dick Van Dyke’s songs from “Mary Poppins”.

After you speak to somebody in Yorkshire to refresh your brain on how those voices should sound – and have a moment of annoyance – you will be pleasantly surprised by how much of the Gothic detail in “Jane Eyre” is faithful to the spirit of Charlotte Bronte’s book.

The performances and the script, by Moira Buffini, are wonderful.  This movie really does capture the book’s sense of being an outsider, looking in.

Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) plays Jane. While she is entirely too pretty to be fully believable in the “I am plain” lines, she is utterly transfixing and entirely in her character. Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank) is, again, a little too touched by the fairy’s “cute” stick to play Rochester, yet he is absolutely wonderful.

You have to suspend disbelief to get here. Filmed in Derbyshire, Oxfordshire and Herfortshire, we are nowhere near Yorkshire. The landscapes are wrong and so is the unending sunshine.

All the supporting performances are terrific. Judi Dench, Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott) and Sally Hawkins all stand out in an extraordinary ensemble of British talent.

I thought director Cary  Fukunaga was Japanese, but his bio says he was born in California, although he is mostly known for Spanish language films. He has a nice controlling hand and a light touch in gloomy interiors and the fire scenes that are so central to this plot.

The cinema was disappointingly empty although it was nice to see so many women there.

This movie brings something new and special to this story, even though it has often been filmed. It won’t stay around long as it hasn’t been doing well at the box office.

Bu it’s lovely and lush and dark and different. I’d give it high marks, although those accents and landscapes are wrong in so many ways.

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