A melancholy telling of classic literature

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A review of Focus Features and BBC Films 'Jane Eyre'

By Becca Owsley

“Jane Eyre” didn't show in Hardin County theaters when it was released in March, but now is available for rental. With the story’s stong longtime following, it’s likely up for consideration in many home theaters.


Based on the novel written in 1847 by Charlotte Bronte, the film chronicles Eyre’s time in a mysterious home and her strange relationship with its owner, Mr. Rochester.

Eyre is played by Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”). While the character in the book is supposed to be young, Wasikowska’s performance seemed a bit too young. She was solemn, melancholy and rarely varied her emotions. There’s no semblance of confidence or strength shown in her character, even though there are places in the film where confidence should have come across in her performance.

Stronger performances came from Mr. Rochester, Michael Fassbender (“X-Men: First Class”) and Mrs. Fairfax played by the always impressive Dame Judi Dench (M in the new James Bond films).

Fassbender’s performance of Rochester, with his massive mood swings taking him from a charming gentleman in one moment and a moody, troubled man in the other, was intriguing. However, Dench always commands the screen and outshines the entire cast.

I’m a sucker for any period piece based on classic literature so the film kept me interested and the scenery and landscape shots are phenomenal. The performance from the lead just falls flat.

This story has been told numerous times on film and of the ones I have seen “Masterpiece Theater” has done the best job at taking it from page to screen so far.

The film begins near the end of the story and tells the woeful tale of Eyre mostly in flashbacks. But near the middle of the movie the technique is dropped, causing a continuity issue.

Trailers for the film tout that this version is a bold new telling of the story. I didn’t see that at all.

While the novel has an assortment of feels and moods, a film version should probably have picked one and ran with it. This version almost suffers from multiple personality disorder, floating between a mystery, romance and coming-of-age film.

When all is said and done, it is classic literature on film and a good for a rainy day. Just remember to expect a melancholy journey, not a feel-good piece.

This one is one to watch if a “good flick” is not available. Better yet, read the book.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741. For movie reviews visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/

“Jane Eyre”
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content.
Runtime: 120 minutes
Release date: in theaters March 11, for rental August 16
Rating: watch if a good flick is not avaiable

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741. For movie reviews visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.


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