The latest version of Jane Eyre is now on the big screen starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. I thought this version was very well done, especially the notable cinematography—there are beautiful scenes of the moors.
The only other version I have seen previously is the 1996 one starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt, which I remember being an excellent production. I viewed the 1996 version just after reading the novel by Charlotte Brontë for the first time. I enjoyed the first reading of the book, but did not as much the second reading. The viewing of this second film version renewed my appreciation of Jane Eyre.
The current movie has a handful of some of my favorite British actors: Sally Hawkins (a good fit for Jane’s aunt, Mrs. Reed), Judi Dench, and Jamie Bell. I never saw Billy Elliott, but I just watched Mr. Bell in The Eagle. He gave a fine performance in that mediocre film, as well as a good St. John performance in Jane. He was the right kind of annoying with his holier-than-thou attitude and his ugly sideburns.
–Mia Wasikowska as Jane
Mia Wasikowska is superb as Jane. I knew nothing about her except that she was in The Kids Are Alright. She could be stoic or emotional as needed. She has an interesting face and the part-down-the-middle hairstyle she had to endure did not flatter her. The best scenes were of her and Fassbender having their witty repartee as Jane and Rochester.
–Michael Fassbender as Rochester
What did I like best about Jane Eyre? It has to be the performance of Michael Fassbender (300, Inglourious Basterds). Fassbender makes a perfect Rochester. He can be commanding, sarcastic, sad, funny, and sexy. Also, he has a great voice and, ok, I’m holding back from just completely gushing about him, trying to remain composed. I will probably run to the theater the next time I see this man is in a movie. He is mesmerizing. It’s sad to say, but I loved 300 and Inglourious Basterds immensely, but I don’t really remember him specifically in those. Time to rewatch. Go see Jane Eyre.