Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jane Eyre-Absolutely gorgeous!

Jane Eyre Poster-Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench
I had fairly high hopes for this new Jane Eyre film from what I had already read online, but I must say it was still a lovely surprise.  I took The Squire out for his birthday for dinner and a movie. He knew I really wanted to see this one, even though it was his birthday, so we drove into Toronto to see it (about 80 miles). Although I'm sure anyone in England would think we were mad to travel that far for a film, it was well worth it!

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre
First of all, the theatre we saw it in had what is called UltraAVX. This apparently stands for ultra audio visual experience. Large screen, digital picture, surround sound, comfy rocker seats and reserved seating. What a way to see a film like this. Try to see this film in a movie theatre, even if it isn't UltraAVX, as the feeling of really being in Victorian England has never struck me as it did with Jane Eyre. It just won't be the same at home on a DVD, although it will still be amazing.

Michael Fassbender as Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester

This film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel obviously had to be uber condensed, as it is only 115 minutes long. It rarely feels rushed, however. It opens with Jane running away from Thornfield (sort of the middle of the story), runs until the Rivers family have nursed her back to health and then flashes back to her childhood with the loathsome Reed family. It continues to the dank Lowood School and follows her to Thornfield Hall and her Mr. Rochester (and then back to the Rivers' and beyond). So it rather goes middle-beginning-middle-end, and this works really well to get you involved in the story quickly. I was blinking back tears within minutes of the film starting, which is usually an end-of-film kind of thing. Actually, I was alternately crying and laughing (yes there are a few wonderful funny bits) through the whole film.

Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax and Mia Wasikowska as Jane
The photography of Haddon Hall and the moors is breathtaking and really makes this an emotional film. I would have to say that the visuals and the emotion or "heart" in this version are what really struck me. There is wonderful acting in all the parts, including the most heart-breaking Helen and young Jane pair, and the best Adelle ever (constantly chattering in perfect French). The only real Yorkshire accents unfortunately were on the amazing little girls playing Helen and young Jane, which rather underscored for me how in and out the adult actors were with theirs. Sorry, but I notice these things. Kudos also to Judi Dench who is perfection as Mrs. Fairfax and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot all grown up with whiskers) is very compelling as Jane's "other man", St. John (Sinjun).

Mr. Rochester and Jane in love...
It was only at the very end that I was pining for Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. If you grafted on the ending of the 2006 miniseries, and captured a bit of their chemistry too, this version would be hard to beat. But there will never be perfect adaptations of our favourite novels, will there? Lots to love in this one, so enjoy. And I think one of the best compliments I could give this film is that it makes me really want to reread the novel.  And isn't that really what it's all about?

Jane EyreJane Eyre (Masterpiece Theatre, 2006)Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) (Hardcover)

I am feeling rather naughty today, so I am going to add this hilarious "fake" commercial which was uploaded onto Youtube a while ago. It is hilarious but it is rather loud, so turn the sound down if you're not alone!


  1. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your trek to Toronto! You're fortunate that the Squire likes to join you in these endeavours. I'm keen to see it although I doubt it will surpass Toby and Ruth in my affections!

  2. Hi Cheryl-I felt like I was cheating on Toby and Ruth by enjoying this one so much until the final scene, and then I REALLY wanted them. Let me know what you think when you see it. The release on this one sure is slow, and there were empty seats in the theatre we saw it in. Why don't more people know about this wonderful film????
    And yes, it's great that the Squire doesn't mind period drama on date night. We saw his movie 2 weeks ago-The Adjustment Bureau. Cute, but the hats alone didn't make it a period drama!

  3. Thanks for the review. I'm hoping to go see it next week!

    Did you ever go see Frankenstein at national theatre live. I saw the Johnny Lee Miller as Dr. Frankenstein version, but I wish I had seen the other. The monster has most of the lines. I found it very interesting, but alas, the book was so much better. Cheers.

  4. Hi Olga

    I hope you like it. I didn't get to see Frankenstein...and I wish I had. I wonder if I will be able to rent it in the future?
    And I haven't read the book either so maybe I should start with that!

  5. Jenny, as you know from my comments in the review at Jane Austen Tody, I was not thrilled with much about this version. But it was the abrupt ending that really ruined it for me. I like your idea of tacking on the ending of the 2006 Toby Stephens version! And if it inspires a new audience to read the book, that's a good thing.

  6. Hi Jean,
    Do you think we may get more satisfaction from a DVD release with extras, or a director's cut? Oh well, we can only hope.
    And yes, maybe this one will be the catalyst for a new generation to embrace this classic novel. Speaking of which, I think I may track down my copy of Jane Eyre and reread while I am still feeling the loooooove.

  7. Hi Jenny,

    I snapped and watched JE 2011 online (I know that's a bad thing to do) but I couldn't wait to see it anymore and I really enjoyed it although I didn't understand why Edward had a beard at the end of the film. I loved the scene after the wedding, it was just like reading the novel. I thought the actors were okay. I wish Micheal Fassbender was a bit more passionate as Edward Fairfax though. Mia was okay as Jane. Another thing that doesn't happen in the book but does in the film, is that ER puts his hands around Jane's throat.

    In conclusion I thought JE 2011 was a good film and I would recommend any fan of Jane Eyre to watch this film but try not to compare it to other adaptation of JE you have seen because you may be disappointed. I will probably buy this version on DVD at some point.

    To have a perfect adaptation of JE it would have to be six hours long which will never happen so enjoy JE 2011. The 2006 version will always be my favourite and Toby Stephens will always be Edward Fairfax Rochester and Ruth Wilson will always be Jane Eyre for me.


  8. Hi Kate
    I don't blame you for watching it online. As long as you are going to buy the DVD or see it in a theatre later, you can feel no guilt! I saw it in HiDef and it was amazing, so I am looking forward to getting the DVD which apparently comes out Aug 16!
    I am glad that you liked it overall. I think that almost any adaptation of a favourite novel will have parts you like and parts you don't. I don't think there is ever a perfect adaptation, so you just have to enjoy what you get. And I did find this one enjoyable. I agree that Toby and Ruth are the best so far, but this one was very pretty to look at...except for that beard. What was with the beard anyway!!!! LOL!
    I did think the two little girls (young Jane and Helen) were amazing and brought me to tears.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this version Kate. Take care!

  9. I agree with everything you said Jenny about JE adaptations not being perfect. I think ER's beard was to show viewers that he was unkempt by being blind and being apart from Jane for a year. I also really like the ending I wasn't sure about it at first but the more I watch it the more I like it because the chestnut tree symbolizes their love for each other as it is where Edward proposes to Jane! *sigh*

    The leaving scene is one of my favourite parts in the 2011 film and in the novel as well and I agree with what you said about Edward desperately trying to persuade Jane to stay with him, even if it means becoming close to violence although I do not believe for one moment that Edward would harm Jane in any way; he loves her too much. The 2011 film is the only film version to show the leaving scene as it portrayed in the novel and I was so happy when I saw it! At least there is isn't any inappropriate "kissing on the bed" scenes, this time the leaving scene is done properly at last! Hooray!

    I can't wait to see it on DVD with better picture and sound quality with a bar of chocolate, a cup of tea and Edward Fairfax Rochester for company. Bliss....

    Cary Fukunaga's two hour adaptation is MUCH, MUCH better than the horrible Ciaran Hinds adaptation. Yuck!!

    The 2011 Jane Eyre is the best movie version I have seen.

    Kate xxxx (Leeds, England)

  10. Jenny, you must do a post on Michael Fassbender as Actor of the week. He deserves it and he is up and coming if not already there. Isn't he a great talent?

    1. Hi Rena, Michael Fassbender as Actor of the week? Sounds like a definite possibility. He's wonderful!




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