An orphan, Jane Eyre is sent by her hateful aunt to a boarding-school, where she lives out a relatively miserable life and being trained as a governess. Several years later, at the age of 19, Jane is hired to be the governess to Mr. Edward Rochester's French ward, Adele, at the gloomy Thornfield Hall. When Jane meets her employer for the first time, she sees little to like in his brusque and often cruel manner, but as time passes, Jane discovers that Mr. Rochester has much to like in his manner - and even more to love. But there is a secret at Thornfield Hall - one that threatens her growing affection for her solemn employer - and, of course, Miss Blanche Ingram, a young woman of little fortune who is a "particular favorite" of Mr. Rochester's. Jane will have to undergo far more heartache than she has ever had to experience thus far, but only a strong-willed girl like herself could come out of it all with a level head.
I have not seen all of the movie versions of this popular tale, but I have seen several, and I have disliked all of them. I never was a fan of the romance between Rochester and Jane because the age difference is just creepy, plus there is very little to like about Rochester himself. He is mean-spirited, selfish, and kind of creepy (if I ever met him, I would be looking for the nearest police officer). But I don't read Jane Eyre for the love story; I read it for Jane's character, the mystery, and the writing style. I watch the movies for the same reason.
This particular film rendition is my favorite. It is cast exceptionally well, and though I at first had my doubts about Mia Wasikowska at Jane Eyre, I thought she did a tremendous job. I was particularly impressed with Jamie Bell's portrayal of St. John Rivers. He is a very hard character to do properly, but he managed it very well. Michael Fassbender actually managed to make Rochester a little likable, much to my astonishment, but at the same time stayed true to his character. And Jane Eyre's aunt, Mrs. Reed, is remarkably easy to hate in the short time she is in the movie. I loved the lighting they used for the film, their costumes were wonderful, and most - if not all - of the dialogue is taken directly from the book.
However, I have three complains:
1) They did not give you a chance to really hate Blanche Ingram. This is where many of the other movies succeeded. Blanche is such a wonderful character to hate in the book, with her snobbery and condescension. I was no great fan Adele, but I hated the way Blanche treated her! Blanche isn't in the movie for long, and they don't showcase her cruel comments towards Jane Eyre very much, if at all. It was a disappointing discovery that they spent so little time with her character.
2) They did not cover enough of Jane's time at the boarding-school. I have yet to see a film version where they cover a satisfactory amount of time at the boarding-school. For me, that is my favorite part in the book, and I am always disappointed when filmmakers only give it the cursory glance, then move on.
3) The mystery was not touched upon enough. It is like the makers wanted to focus more on the love story than the secret that is lurking at Thornfield Hall. In fact, it almost comes as quite a sudden occurrence when the secret is revealed in this particular version. If the makers had left the deleted scenes in, then there would have been a good lead-up to what was really going on. As it was, I don't think they paid enough attention to it.
Despite these shortcomings, though, I thought that they did an overall good job. I loved the cast, costumes, dialogue, and lighting - and of course the music. Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender is well worth seeing, and I applaud the success! One more thing to note is the rating; there is nothing in it and I am not entirely certain why it was not rated PG. So for those who are concerned about content - no worries!