I’m not sure when I first read Jane Eyre. Eleven? Twelve? Thirteen? It was probably somewhere around that time. I do remember how I felt about it, however. Sigh. The darkness and mystery heightened the emotional intensity of the romance, which – perhaps needless to say – was plenty intense.
Cary Fukunaga seems to have burst on the scene, but he’s definitely a director with a promising future. Most of his previous credits are for cinematography, mostly shorts, and I’d never seen any of his work before last night.
There are over twenty versions of Jane Eyre produced for television and the big screen, and I have to say that Fukunaga’s 2011 version in current release is among my favorites of those I’ve seen.
The story is familiar, as it should be, but Fukunaga makes it seem fresh with a film that is true to the tone of the novel but playful with sequencing. The pacing is good, the visuals are terrific, and the script (from another newcomer, Moira Buffini) is a better adaptation than I remember in other versions.
Though I have seen the actors playing Jane (Mia Wasikowska) and Rochester (Michael Fassbender) before in films, I don’t have any special recollection of them, which adds, I think, to the appeal of this film.
The only familiar face is Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, and while she is in her usual fine form, I wish the film had been populated with all unfamiliar faces to aid my willing suspension of disbelief.
Jane Eyre made my heart beat faster and, several times, I caught myself holding my breath because I was so involved in the moment. The film made me feel like I did the first time I read the book, which is not an easy thing to accomplish.
This film is exquisite.