Friday, October 7, 2011

JANE EYRE (2011)

For a less than two hour adaptation this new JANE EYRE is very good...I'm a firm believer that a full length novel cannot be properly adapted in less than two hours. The thing that sets this version apart from the 20+ that came before it is: the gorgeous photography, Michael Fassbender from FISH TANK and the non-linear storytelling. Charlotte Bronte's wonderful Gothic horror/romance novel starts with a young Jane orphaned and living with her assholish Aunt Sarah. This film instead opens with a dramatic scene later in Jane's life in order to hook the viewer in then it goes to the story of Jane's childhood. It's a simple trick, but it works beautifully.

Orphaned as a child Jane is left to the care of her Aunt Sarah who cares nothing for the child and sends her to live full-time at the sadistic Lowood School for Girls. After a decade of this abuse Jane is old enough to leave and she gets a job as the governess of a young girl at the remote Thornfield Hall. Once there she meets the master of the house, Edward Rochester. He's older than her and a mysterious, brooding fellow, but after a time his icy demeanor thaws to Jane's quiet presence. Eventually he breaks down and admits his love for her and Jane is immensely happy...but what's behind these strange happenings at Thornfield Hall and what exactly is that noise coming from the tapestry hanging on Edward's bedroom wall?

A film can never do a novel the quality of "Jane Eyre" justice, that said, I liked this version a lot. My only complaints would be Edward's secret was covered too quickly and the ending was way too abrupt, but both of those problems would have been solved if the film had only been an hour longer. It's not the greatest adaptation of a classic novel ever, but it's no slouch either. If you're into this sort of thing then I recommend it.

I also want to give a quick praise to Amelia Clarkson as the young Jane. She wasn't on the screen long, but I was very, very impressed with her passionate performance. Excellent job.