JANE EYRE Review From Haddon Hall!

On September 4th 2011 I caught a preview screening of the latest Charlotte Bronte adaptation at a Volkswagen’s See Film Differently event, where the movie was projected on location at Haddon Hall!

rating: 3

On September 4th 2011 I caught a preview screening of the latest Jane Eyre film (though it€™s already been out in America since early March) at a Volkswagen€™s See Film Differently event, where the movie was projected on location at Haddon Hall. It was a great night out where being surrounded by a major part of the film made it that bit more absorbing. The film itself is the latest in a long line of adaptations of Charlotte Bronte's classic 19th century novel, this one boasting a more contemporary feel, yet it still oozes that period drama feel alongside feminist ideals and archaic dialogue. As with most revisions of Charlotte Bronte€™s magnum opus it follows a very stern and sophisticated Jane, played brilliantly by the scarily talented Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right). Jane struggles for freedom in what€™s undeniably a man€™s world; one reinforced by years of empowerment, yet she falls for the very embodiment of what she€™s fighting, Mr Rochester, here played by the equally amazing Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class). Via stunning direction (Cary Fukunaga) romance blossoms between the couple on screen, through the usual hidden glances and long, piercing stares famous of its genre, yet with a much greater realism established than most. Talking of direction, Jane Eyre is an advertisement in competent filmmaking. The film€™s director; Cary Fukunaga (who has a BA in History funnily enough) has perfectly captured the look and feel of a literary classic. From Jamie Bell's stunning side burns right down to the misty moors this film elegantly establishes an era and mood which go hand in hand. Like Joe Wright€™s Pride & Prejudice the costume and art direction excel, taking you back in time with corsets and candles, there€™s no jarring MTV shenanigans like Sofia Coppola€™s Marie Antoinette, no this soars on cinematic beauty and historical accuracy. I€™d liken it more to M Night Shyamalan€™s The Village, with the tense, triumphant score and almost cliched horror conventions, be warned this will make you jump! Fukunaga tries his hardest to throw the audience into Jane Eyre€™s mindset, searching for a Gothic edge to his romance. But this brooding atmosphere doesn€™t last, it just can€™t endure the 2 hour running time, and maybe that€™s where the film suffers. The pacing can be very slow at times also, and the film seems to trundle along for the first half, building this sympathetic picture of our heroine through painful flashbacks which seamlessly link with a present day drained Jane. It€™s not until Fassbender leaps onto the scene that the film livens up. The chemistry between Fassbender and Wasikowska is the beating heart of the film, and escalates an average period piece into must see drama, albeit for the little on screen time they share. For fans of the genre this is dynamite, the epitome of romanticism. Wasikowska with twangs of Yorkshire plays Jane as ambitious and grounded with that hidden spark ready to erupt. She appears all innocent and subdued yet you can see the strength through her eyes, it€™s a commendable performance that gels perfectly with Fassbender's male bravado juxtaposing with the vulnerability of a fool in love. These two are supported by the effortless Dame Judi Dench who adds the comic relief and makes the role seems all what easy. Jamie Bell (Tintin, King Kong, Billy Elliott) and Sally Hawkins (Made In Dagenham, Never Let Me Go) round off a stellar British cast yet the romance does take center stage here. Fukunaga gets the best from his actors and they emit Bronte€™s words with such sophistication, it€™s a delicious script written by Tamara Drewe scribe Moira Buffini who takes full advantage of the poetic dialogue. But for all its beauty the film does seem to be lacking, for a perfectly directed film and an admirably written script it does feel slightly hollow. In all honesty this genre of film doesn€™t appeal to me and I believe that fans of period dramas and those classic romance tales will lap this up (and they should do, it€™s perfect viewing for that audience), I on the other hand felt like the movie could have done with a more refined, Gothic atmosphere and more drama to keep me engrossed for the long running time. Fukunaga has demonstrated incredible skill in filmmaking and has established a worthy romance from its leads yet the film unfortunately yearns more of that gritty passion, that which the Jane Eyre character has represented for centuries. Jane Eyre is released in the U.K. on Friday. Film fans can find out more about Volkswagen€™s campaign and share their views on the events by visiting the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/seefilmdifferently.
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UK-based writer. Great lover of cinema; music, TV and literature.