There have been numerous movie adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s, Jane Eyre. Charlotte and her sister Emily, who wrote Wuthering Heights were the queens of gothic romantic novels. The most recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, directed by Cary Fukunaga stars Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are Alright) , Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, X-Men: First Class) and a grown-up Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot).
Mia Wasikowska’s pale skin and square jaw looked as thought she belonged in the period. Something in here eyes and her voice give you a hint of Jane’s inner strength.
After a sad and lonely childhood, the mousy Jane Eyre takes a job as a governess to the young French ward of the elusive and moody Edward Rochester. Having grown up in a household where she was unloved and unwanted, Jane is a young woman who is as plain speaking as she is plain. In a time where it was a woman’s primary vocation to find a husband, being pretty is very important. Jane has no illusions about her looks, so a comfortable and stable governess job is more than she could hope for.
Life in the north of England teaching Adele and living under the friendly and watchful eye of the housekeeper, Miss Fairfax (played by Dame Judi Dench). Things going bump in the night, strange noises and muffles screams don’t even bother her. The master of Thornfield Hall, Edward Rochester is gone for extended periods of time. The boss being gone for months at a time sounds like the perfect job to me. Everything is going along peacefully until the master comes home suddenly. Then thing change…
The Sexy, Moody, Handsome Mr. Rochester
A tortured man, with a terrible secret, Mr. Rochester is the perfect gothic hero. Unlike some of the actors who portrayed Mr. Rochester, Michael Fastbender is a young, sexy man who looks as though he is longing for love. He will make me look at Magneto in the upcoming X-Men: First Class in a whole new way. Perhaps that is what attracted him to Jane Eyre in the first place. He could tell that Jane could be depended upon when the crazy wife you have locked in the attic stabs you in the middle of the night.
The fact that Rochester kept his crazy wife in his home instead of sending her to some hell hole asylums or ‘get rid‘ of her in some more permanent way tells you something about the kind of man he is.
When Rochester’s terrible secret is revealed (right in the middle of their wedding), Jane runs away. After a miserable, cold, wet, rocky trek across the English countryside in the rain, Jane finds herself in the home of St. John Rivers a pius young minister and his sisters. During her time with the Rivers family, Jane manages to get another marriage proposal. (That’s 2, so far) Young Reverend Rivers wants a helpmate for his ministry in India. Not a loving wife.
The memory of the sexy Mr. Rochester call her back to Thornfield Hall which has been burnt to the ground by the crazy wife. Jane finds Edward, scared and blinded. Even so it is a happy ending.
Have you read Jane Eyre or any of the Brontë’s sisters novels. Which one is your favorite? Do you have a favorite film version of Jane Eyre?
Jane Eyre: Masterpiece Theatre, Starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens
Jane Eyre (1944) Starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine
Jane Eyre (1997) Starring Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds