I was intending on seeing "Suckerpunch" this weekend, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that "Jane Eyre" was playing nearby. My friend was game, so we made the short trip up the theatre that tends to play the more independent movie set.
That being said, it was a good choice.
"Jane Eyre" is the story of Jane (Mia Wasikowska), an orphan raised partially by her aunt (Sally Hawkins), who then expels her from the house to a hard school for girls. She is there until she receives her first posting, at an estate called Thornfield. Thornfield is in the middle of nowhere, her boss, Mr. Rochester (the delicious Michael Fassbender), is largely unaccounted for, her pupil is French, and the housekeeper (Judi Dench) is a busybody who is desperate for companionship. Clearly the dream situation for a young girl in 1800's England.
But Jane doesn't mind. She enjoys her work and the quiet it brings. She's very passionate about life, learning, and experience, which is part of the reason why she was expelled from her aunt's house. But this passion shines through during her infrequent conversations with Mr. Rochester. I think that what he sees the most in her is potential. More to the point, he sees that he could be happy with her in a way that he was never happy before. And it's these sweet moments when you can see him beginning to believe that, that really make the movie.
But of course, things are not all that they seem. I won't go into it, but just know that Jamie Bell (love him!) makes an appearance and helps Jane out in a time of need. If I told you what happened, that might ruin the story, and we don't want that, do we?
The story has a spooky angle, which I wasn't expecting. I haven't read the book since high school, and so had to be reminded of a few key plot points, but the filmmaker does a fine job of making Thornfield both inviting and menacing at the same time. You can tell that Jane never feels 100% safe some of the time, and neither does the audience. Plus, I'm pretty sure I jumped more during this movie than I did during "The Sixth Sense", hard as that is to believe.
Mia Wasikowska does a great job as Jane. It's hard to make her appear "plain, at least physically. Once you see her personality shine through, there is nothing plain about her. Michael Fassbender, whose voice could literally make my underwear melt off, is fantastic as Rochester. He's a hard ass one minute, then sweet as a kitten the next. And the way he looks at Jane just makes me wish that a man would look at me that way, you know what I'm saying?
So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 9. Great performances and a great storyline. This is one I will own, and probably watch a million times. And I suggest that you all do the same.