Jane Eyre (2011)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Jane Eyre (2011) from Focus Features, BBC Films
Rated PG-13. Drama, Romance, Period Film

My thoughts: Many know the classic story of plain but quick-witted Jane Eyre, an orphan from a bleak childhood who, as a young woman, is hired on to be governess for the ward of one Mr. Rochester, the enigmatic, changeful master of Thornfield Hall. A critical secret of Mr. Rochester’s threatens to undo what happiness he and Jane find together in this dark but redemptive romance.

I’d describe this adaptation of the famous novel as dreary. Dreary, but, then, exquisite.

Admittedly, it took a bit of time for my automatic mental comparisons to the 1996 Miramax version to cease so that I could get absorbed in this one. Actually, it was my finding myself absorbed, amazed, that made me realize the comparing had stopped. I thought at first that this particular Mr. Rochester was too handsome to embody his character convincingly, as Rochester isn’t supposed to be a looker, but after a while, I was too absorbed by the performances to be distracted by that.

I must say, this version, with its weaknesses, might be best for viewers who’ve read the novel and who therefore wouldn’t have to wonder about details the film doesn’t explain, such as the story of Rochester’s ward, and what happens after the film’s ending. Oh, and Jane and her employer arrive at the threshold of romance a little too quickly for me here, but once they do arrive, do they ever play it well.

Plus, the last four words of the film. The last four words. And Rochester’s reaction. And the music.

Exquisite, I tell you.

My corresponding reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.


The UK trailer for Jane Eyre.


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