I love Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre more than words can describe. Knowing this affection I have, several of my friends recommended that I watch the movie adaptation- in particular, the one from 2011 starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. So I did!
I haven’t watched very many movie adaptations of classic literature, so at first I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve seen the newest Gatsby movie, but that’s a more modern take on the story than this one. Would it follow the book? Would it be less or more exciting than the original plot? Most importantly: Would it ruin the book for me? Would it leave a lingering sour taste in my mouth so strong that I wouldn’t be able to properly enjoy the novel ever again? These are all very unnecessary questions to have before watching a movie, I know, but I wondered them nevertheless.
As per usual, all of my worries and fears were for naught! I LOVE this movie! Here’s why:
- Excellent acting. The acting in this is fantastic! Mia Wasikowska does a wonderful job in her role as Jane, but the real star of the show for me is Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. He is perfect! Somehow he achieves a balance between being a jerk and being the best possible person for Jane, and it’s exactly how I pictured Mr. Rochester when I was reading the novel.
- Time is played with. The movie actually begins about two-thirds or three-fourths of the way through the novel and then goes back to the very beginning of Jane’s story and starts chronologically from there. It sounds a little confusing when I explain it, but in the movie it flowed really well and made it more dramatic. For those who haven’t read the book and don’t already know what happens, it also adds a touch of mystery to the story. Why is Jane making this journey on her own? Why is she in such a bad condition? It begs these questions to be answered!
- Loyal to the story. Although the movie deviates from the plot a little and leaves some pieces out, all in all it does a really great job of staying faithful to the heart of the original story. No, not every scene from the novel occurs in the movie, but think about how long the movie would be if it did! The essence and core of the story is there, and to me that’s all that really matters.
Although I really enjoyed this movie, there are a few things that I thought could have been done differently.
- Lack of Jane’s narration. One of my favorite aspects of the novel is Jane’s narration, so I was sad when I realized that the movie doesn’t include it. I thought that maybe they would have had a voice over at certain parts, but that never happened.
- More quiet, reserved Jane. While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but feel as though Jane was a lot more quiet and reserved than she is in the book. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that in the book we were constantly hearing her own thoughts, whereas in the movie we only see how she interacts with other people. Her inner strength did come out in a few scenes, but not as often as in the novel.
- Abrupt ending. The last scene was really beautiful, but I would have liked a bit more of the story after that. At the end of the novel, Jane wraps everything up quite nicely and I was looking for that same feeling of closure in the movie. The ending wasn’t bad or anything- I simply prefer the conclusion of the book
The movie adaptation Jane Eyre really was a pleasant surprise! It has made me love the novel even more, if that’s possible! I would highly recommend this movie, whether or not you’ve read Charlotte Bronte’s novel.
Have you read this book or watched this movie before? What did you think of it? Are there any other movie adaptations you would recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!