Monday, May 9, 2011

Jane Eyre

Everything about this new film version of the classic novel warrants praise, starting with the casting. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) in the title role is perfect. For one thing, she is in reality about the age of the character she plays. But she can say more with a wide-eyed stare or a gently raised eyebrow or a tense upper lip than she ever could say with words. She is teamed up with Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) in the role of Mr. Rochester, who may be slightly too good-looking for the part but pegs the spirit of the Thornfield Manor master.

Everything in Jane Eyre's world changes in accordance with her own emotions. When there is hope, there are rays of sunshing and flowering shrubs. When she is confused, there is thick fog and thick forest. When she is sad, all turns cold and gray. The settings are beautiful, and Bronte's tone of subtle spookiness is felt in virtually every scene, wherever there is a flickering candle, a smoldering glance, or a faint restlessness in the night. Cary Fukunaga, the director, in his feature film debut, exploits well the melancholy stillness and wind of northern England.

There is no need to have read the novel before seeing this film. But good luck finding a theater near you that is showing it. We had to choose between Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta and downtown Chattanooga; we picked the latter. And it was well worth the trip.

Brooke: A
Grant: A

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