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Jane Eyre (2011)

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 120 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

Jane Eyre has had endless appeal over the years thanks to a mixture of Christian values, gothic horror, and even eroticism and comedy, and to get all these aspects in the right proportions in a movie adaptation is a difficult task. Thankfully, Cary Fukunaga has done a good job as she keeps it on the right track between the faithfully stiff middle class virtues of much of the book and a lively, fresh tone and picking and choosing the best parts of the story to tell.

The latest adaptation of Jane Eyre opens with the heroine running across a stormy landscape away from Thornfield Hall as if pursued by something terrifying. She is found and nursed back to health by a young clergyman St. John Rivers (Bell) and his sisters (Grainger and Merchant) and her life of abuse but remarkable personal development then unfolds in a series of flashbacks.     

Mia Wasikowska is excellent as the portraying the tight-lipped, plain Jane and the older woman with equally good conviction as she matures. Michael Fassbender adds yet another charismatic performance to a growing list and shows once again that he can do posh very well, and the other peripheral actors, including Judi Dench and Jamie Bell, also chip in admirably. The cinematography needs a special mention as Fukunaga has shown an eye for making the usually unremarkable misty moors into an atmospheric delight.

It's Got: Impressive acting by the two leads, an atmospheric setting with good cinematography, the classic story in its entirety

It Needs: To be seen as one of the best adaptations of the novel


This is not for everyone but is a masterful retelling of a classic novel that offers a new take without abandoning the tone and themes of the book.