Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

What She said:


I cannot fully convey just how thrilled The He was when I announced that we were going to review Jane Eyre.  He actually didn’t know too much about the film, other than that it was a period piece based on a very long book.  And that’s about all he needed to know.  There were moans and groans.  Meanwhile, I was very much looking forward to this movie.  I figured I was probably guaranteed to like it—romance, intrigue, accents, sounds pretty much perfect.  Even though I honestly hated the book.

And, indeed, I did enjoy this movie.  I appreciated the fact that, despite being produced by BBC Films, they didn’t try to BBC-ize it by making it epically long and painstakingly identical to the book.  Thank goodness there was no disc 2.  There are many details of this story that can be removed for time’s sake while keeping the larger themes intact, and that’s what they did.  They largely brushed over Jane’s experiences with her horrid aunt and at boarding school, and the movie instead got to the meat of what it was supposed to be, a coming-of-age romance with lots of sideways glances, misunderstood signals, and forbidden love.  There’s an element of mystery to the storyline as well, but I won’t give too much away.

Here are the basics you need to know.  Jane (Mia Wasikowska) is hired fresh out of school as a governess for the ward of the very wealthy Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender – getting tired of him yet?).  Jane and Rochester have a strong connection, and a seemingly decent friendship.  It’s obvious she has a bit of a crush, but she’s unaware if he feels the same way, not to mention the fact that a man of his stature could never be with a chick like her.  So, it’s forbidden love, for many reasons.  As their affection grows, so, too, does Jane as a strong and independent woman.  She deals with conflicting feelings as she approaches whether she should conform to the standards of the day or stand apart as an individual.  Jane also has high moral convictions.  There’s lots of emotions at play here, and all the actors in this film do a good job of handling and accurately conveying them.

I have some complaints about wishing some other aspects of the story were more developed, but I think it’s a give and take with editing this down to a less than two hour movie, so I have to cave a bit.  The music was pretty intense at times as well, but effective in bolstering the drama presented on screen.  I thought it was fun to see what the movie downplayed from the book in order to meet today’s expectations.  A nice sick-day or Saturday afternoon movie.  Probably wouldn’t force males to watch, though.

Thumbs up for us ladies.

What he said:


Ugh, a period film. I hate these things. They have this way of telling a story that makes it nothing is happening. I know that the plot is advancing, characters are growing, yada, yada, yada, but I swear it’s like time is standing still.

They are painfully boring. I simply cannot stay awake for the entire length of them. Though I will say I did much better with this than I did Pride & Prejudice. I made it maybe 4 minutes into that movie and next thing I know, credits are rolling. During Jane Eyre though, it was only a couple of 5-10 minute cat naps. I’m actually kind of proud of myself.

I’d rather watch some cliché romantic comedy before one of these.

Jane (Mia Wasikowska) is a young girl who lives with her cruel aunt and her abusive cousin. They both hate her, which eventually leads to her being placed into a “girl’s home”. Things go from bad-to-worse for Jane very early in life.

Despite this, she actually manages to survive and complete her schooling (which was rare in those days, as everyone was getting sick and dying). She is then sent off to work at the estate of an extremely wealthy man. She serves as the governess for a young girl that Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester (How’s that for a name?) has either fathered illegitimately or adopted. That part is never quite clear to me, but it isn’t vital. Either way, he feels its responsibility to care for the girl. He comes off like a massive tool most of the time, but he can’t be all that bad. That’s a lot more than most people today would do.

As time goes on, you get the impression that he has some secrets. I won’t delve too much into that, but that aspect of the film actually isn’t all that bad. I did find myself wondering what exactly this guy was involved in.

Jane reluctantly gets involves in some of these activities – and despite being weary of him – she begins to develop feelings for him. He too begins to develop feelings for her, but you can’t help but wonder if it’s an ego thing. He’s intrigued by her bland looks, boring personality, and complete unwillingness to fawn over him.

You might think I’m mean for calling her bland, but it’s not me. The movie actually points out several times how plain looking Jane is. Rochester openly states this several times. It’s no wonder she wasn’t falling for him from the get-go.

As time goes on though, they seem to develop some kind of friendship. I can’t say I really understood it, but it actually seemed to be genuine. However, she’s reluctant to give into his advances, as she is weary of his secretive and aloof ways.

The mystery aspect of the movie was actually fairly interesting. I was interested in finding out more But, I come back to this being a period piece. Man these things are boring. People spend lots of times crying, contemplating their lives, and mastering the art of doing nothing.
Rating: Thumbs down.

The visuals and music weren't bad though.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on September 19, 2011.