The 2011 movie adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre finally made it to my town this week – directed by Cary Fukunaga, with Mia Wasikowska as Jane, and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yada, yada, yah.
Let’s get to the main crux of the thing – how was the movie? I don’t know if I was secretly comparing it to Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke from the very first version of Jane Eyre I’d ever seen or if I really did miss the key scenes that were glaringly missing, but this new version felt a little flat. And I really was pulling for it tooth and nail. It just did not quite have the chemistry between the hero and heroine where Jane reveals her wicked wit with a smirk and Mr. Rochester reacts with feigned surprise and delight. Everything was very, very subtle – too subtle. While Mr. Fassbender was passionate enough, Ms. Wasikowska’s performance was sometimes awkward and too stiff.
Neither did the tension build to the peak at that infamous, foreboding tree. I truly missed some of the interchange that was taken out – Jane’s teasing Mr. Rochester about her other suitor and life after she went back to him for one. This omission made the film hang in mid-air at the end. Maybe Fukunaga tried to compensate by attempting to add cohesion to the story by taking dramatic license in other places. As with the character of Mrs. Fairfax, played by the wonderful Judi Dench – by first, depicting her as the one who met Jane at the Thornfield ruins, and second, when she confesses to Jane that she didn’t know Bertha was Mr. Rochester’s wife.
In the end, it is a fair movie – it just lacks the thrill that I know Jane Eyre should have had.