Film » Film Features

Sweet Jane

Charlotte Bronte's famous heroine gets a lovely makeover

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Literary adaptations are tough, especially when you have a book as well-known, and as long, as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Cary Fukunaga, director of the gritty immigrant tale Sin Nombre, seems like an unlikely choice for the latest take on this classic, but it may be the loveliest version ever put on film.

Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska plays the orphan girl who endures a harsh childhood and goes to work as a governess for the brooding Mr. Rochester (an excellent Michael Fassbender), falling in love with him and unaware of his terrible secret.

This is a beautiful, tasteful Eyre, with painterly cinematography and impeccable Victorian costumes and set design. Screenwriter Moira Buffini does a masterful job of adapting the book, but the movie occasionally combines multiple chapters in a single short scene. Also, the famously narrated story suffers from the loss of first-person perspective here. We gaze at Wasikowska’s Jane, silent and impassive, but get little insight into her thoughts and emotions. --Pamela Zoslov

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