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MOVIE REVIEW: Jane Eyre

The latest in a long line of Eyres, starring Mia Wasikowska & Judi Dench

  • Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre in "Jane Eyre."
  • Jane Eyre
  • Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre in "Jane Eyre."
  • Jane Eyre
  • Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester in "Jane Eyre."
  • Holliday Grainger as Diana Rivers in "Jane Eyre."
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People like to tell you the book was better than the movie. I’ve yet to meet people that ever say the movie is better than the book. List of films that are better than the books includeThe World According to Garp, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Sideways, Blade Runner, and Forrest Gump.

A lot of us were forced to read the classic novel Jane Eyre (released in 1847), and if you weren’t, perhaps this is a good time to choose the book over the movie. This version is rather dull, even though it has an air of mystery about it that works at times.

Judi Dench brings her A-game, and Mia Wasikowska is perfectly cast as Jane Eyre. She was in my favorite movie of last year (The Kids Are All Right), and one of my least favorite (Alice in Wonderland), and is an amazingly talented young actress.

The story involves a girl who lives with a mean, rich aunt, and eventually ends up in a horribly run orphanage. She eventually gets a job as a governess at a mansion that has many spooky elements about it. One of those is the guy she works for, and that provides a big problem for this film version. You never really warm up to the guy, so it’s hard to root for the romance; guessing the way he treated her was accurate for the time period, when she was of low social standing in a male dominated society. The fact that she never plays the damsel in distress, makes this a real feminist piece of literature.

The last film version of Jane Eyre was the 1996 version with William Hurt and Anna Paquin. There were some versions back in the silent picture era; two versions in 1915; ones in 1918, 1921, and 1926 (that one out of Germany). There was a version in 1934, and the one in 1944 was co-written by Aldous Huxley (Brave New World, The Doors of Perception) and starred Orson Welles and Elizabeth Taylor. A version came out in 1952, and one out of Hong Kong in 1956. Mexico released a version in 1963. Seven years after that, George C. Scott starred in the film the same year he won the Oscar for playing Patton. Two versions came out in the 70s, one from India (1972) and another from Mexico (1978). And this doesn’t count all the musicals and TV versions of this story.

So with all these previous versions, the idea that we’d get this slow moving one is very disappointing. It’s not very romantic, although the ending was powerful and worked.

This version gets a D+; the novel gets an A.