"I offer you my hand, my heart. Jane, I ask you to pass through life at my side. You are my equal and my likeness. Will you marry me?"
Today's kick off is a period film. Jane Eyre. The most filmable novel since the time of its publication, Jane Eyre has attracted throughout the 20th century a number of directors wanting to bring to life on the big screen the gloomy sadness of the most famous governess in all of English literature.
The novel was written by Charlotte Bronte and was published in 1847. The screen play though was written by world renowned playwright and screen writer Moira Buffini (Gabriel, Loveplay) and was directed by a new-in-town director, Cary Fukunaga.
The reason I chose to first review this film version, amongst the others running around through the cinematic decades, is because first of all this is the most current one and secondly because this film version really stood out in my opinion.
This version is subtle, gloomy, bleak, sad, majestic in its own right, it's mature and its exhausting silence speaks in golden words. The dialogue is sparse but it is also well accounted for.
This is the famous story of Jane Eyre. "A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer, but who soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret." (www.imdb.com)
The story of the young governess who falls in love with the tough and hot-headed master. The stubborn master who in return is taken back by the subtle and serene presence of the young lady. A very common story nowadays, but with many ways that can be told.
The shadowy and mysterious performance of the new-star-on-the-rise Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Shame, A Dangerous Method, X-Men:First Class,Inglorious Basterd, Fish Tank etc) makes it all the more easier for the audience to believe in the half-hearted role of Mr. Rochester. The resilience and the staggering energy Fassbender encapsulates through our screens is overwhelming, giving it a bull-dozing performance this time round. Known always for the harshness in the roles he chooses to play, Fassbender here is able to transform from the inexplicably wild and rush master into to stricken down lamb that needs saving.
Saving from non-other than the glorious patience of Mia Wasikowska's role, Jane Eyre. Wasikowska was first seen in the role of Tim Burton's 'Alice in wonderland' and this year is currently again on the spotlight for the award-nominated period drama 'Albert Nobbs'. There's always something about this actress's ease to move about on screen. Her calmness, her raw silence, her sad sweetness and this majestic sorrow she has in her eyes, always brings me to my knees. I had wanting to go with half-a-heart whilst watching her performance, wanting to find any flaws or errors, but in the end there weren't none. Young she may be, but I assure you there's nothing young or naive about this actress's performance. Quite the contrary, there is a seriousness and maturity in the way she carries herself and the grave task of bringing to life the role of Ms Jane Eyre.
The cast is filled with a number of young-rising stars such as Jamie Bell ('Billy Eliot'), Holliday Grainger ('The Borgias'), Tamzin Merchant ('The Tudors'), Sally Hawkins ('Made in Dagenham', 'Happy-Go-Lucky') and world renowned Dame Judi Dench ('Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown', 'Notes on a Scandal', 'Chocolat' etc) whose stunning performance in anything she may decides to act simply puts a gauge in your mouth and leaves you to pieces.
The bleak landscapes, the moors, the elements of nature, that seem to go hand-in-hand with the characters' emotional journey, the ironclad script and the oblique sense of the air are amongst the things that should urge everyone to sit down and watch this version of the story.
I am sure you will find older versions depicting the same qualities as the ones I'm describing above, only do give this one a chance as well. It is well-worth its length and it's production. I couldn't find a more fitting Jane and a more handsome Mr. Rochester. What a wonderfully blended combination.
If you do manage to get a hold of this version, enjoy it slowly and with the patience it deserves. Happy screening!
Jane Eyre (2011)