July 27, 2012
GENRE: Romance (Gothic) / Historical
HONORS: LA Film Critic's Assoc. Award for Best Actor (Michael Fassbender - won); National Board of Review Spotlight Award (Michael Fassbender - won); British Independent Film Best Actress Award (Mia Wasikowska - nominated)
REVIEW: Few films capture the tone and feel of a classic as well as Fukunaga's 2011 adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Orphaned Jane goes to work for the mysterious Mr. Rochester as a governess. Before long, she begins to notice odd things in the expansive house - strange noises, sudden fires and unexplained injuries. All the while, Jane becomes increasingly fascinated by her mercurial, challenging employer. But though Jane may look small and pale, she is strong, stronger than anyone else in the house, with a moral and ethical core that renders her integrity stunning in it's unshakability. As in the novel, Wasikowska's Jane knows her own mind, and though she is humble, she knows her own value and will not compromise it. Fassbender's Rochester is a haunted, complicated man, with an edge that wavers just to one side of dangerous. The production itself is lovely with light dreamlike expanses contrasting starkly with the dark, sinister interior of Rochester's home. Taut and intense, Jane Eyre is not a movie to watch while texting or playing an app. Luckily, it's appealing enough that even the most tech savvy tween won't want to.
OPINION: Jane Eyre is a classic with much to offer adolescent readers. However, it's also a title that tends to intimidate or simply not interest modern tweens. This adaptation, though faithfully adapted from Bronte's original, renders the story far more accessible by concentrating primarily on Jane's growth, and on her romance with Rochester, in all it's complicated, gothic glory. Darker than all of the perennially popular Jane Austen's work combined, Jane Eyre is a great suggestion for tweens looking for something a touch more gothic, and Fukunaga's film adaptation is a wonderful way to introduce them to the story and pique their interest.
IDEAS: A must-have for any display featuring the classics, it would also be an unexpected inclusion in a display with a romance or historical theme. Also a nice suggestion for fans of the book and for tweens, particularly girls, interested in classical literature / stories, but unsure where to start.