Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie review: Jane Eyre

I saw the new film version of Jane Eyre earlier this week, and I liked it much more than I expected. I remember reading the book by Charlotte Bronte in 9th grade and I recall disliking it, which is strange because I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the other Bronte/Austen novels I've read. Perhaps I was too young for it when I read it, or I had trouble getting past the lengthy starting section with Jane as a young child living an unhappy life (orphaned, she ends up in the care of a nasty aunt who then ships her off to a nasty boarding school). All I really remember of the book was someone mean whacking young Jane with a book, and a crazy lady kept hidden away in a tower. Thankfully, Jane's dreary childhood only takes up a small portion of the movie, and we encounter her at the age of 19, employed as a governess at a lonely mansion owned by...surprise! a handsome, rich, and enigmatic bachelor. If I lived in 19th century England, surely such men would be utterly charmed by my wit and spirit and seek to marry me in spite of my plainness and low social standing. And so it is with Jane and Mr. Rochester, however, this story does not have a classic happy ending like many of its counterparts.
I thought the movie was very well done and the strength was mainly in the casting. Australian Mia Wasikowska was perfect as the heroine- stoic yet passionate, wise beyond her years, and not too pretty. And what is a BBC period piece without Dame Judi Dench? I think this might be a rare case where I actually prefer the movie to the book.

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