Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Jane Eyre (DVD Review)

DVD Review of film adaptation of the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell& Judi Dench directed by Cary Fukunaga

Photobucket Photobucket
This is a review of the DVD, but I love the image for the BluRay so I'm including it here.
Images: Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line: ©2010 Ruby Films (Jane Eyre) Limited and The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved. Oscar(s)® and Academy Award(s) ® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). ©2010 Ruby Films (Jane Eyre) Limited and The British Broadcasting Corporation. Tous droits réservés. Distribué exclusivement au Canada par Alliance Vivafilm. Tous droits réservés. © 2010 Ruby Films (Jane Eyre) Limited et The British Broadcasting Corporation. Tous droits réservés.

Dir: Cary Fukunaga (Sin nombre)
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins, Valentina Cervi
UK, 2011

Reason to see: It's the March Film Selection for the Movie Moxie Book to Film Club

It feels odd to say this, but Jane Eyre one probably the book to film adaptation that I was most hesitant about for the Book to Film Club, because I hadn't read the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë before this year and the number of historically set films based on books that I've enjoyed is, well, limited at best. But things were looking up as I absolutely adored the book, and hopefully but cautious about the film. I didn't watch any of the trailers and had seen just a few posters and images which seemed to aptly capture the tone and period as well as showing the cast looking striking.

I also had several hesitations going into the film, because it's such a great story and the character of Jane Eyre is truly wonderful in so many ways that you really want the film to capture her and her story just right. And it really is her story, I would have been miffed if they shifted that focus at all but thankfully it's true to the book in that sense and keeps it very much her story. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Kids Are All Right) does a great job of bringing Jane to life, from her frankness to her realism and also her strong sense of right & wrong at all times. I found that her strength of character was aptly depicted, especially how she is an active decision maker regardless of the trying circumstances she may be in, but I do wish they had also showcased her intelligence as much as her emotional strength, because it's such an essential part of the character. It's still there, but not as present as I had wished and that could be from particular scenes and moment from the book that resonated particularly strongly with me.

It's a huge undertaking to adapt a book like this, and there are several moments especially in her earlier life I wish we had seen, but I'm not overly surprized that they choose to focus on her days at Thornfield and the relationships with Rochester as well as St. John. I have to say that the casting in the film is fantastic, when I heard that Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank) would be playing Rochester I knew we were in for a treat and he's absolutely perfect. Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott, The Eagle) is also great as St. John, although they downplayed the religious nature of his character which was quite a surprize. There were several changes and choices that I was surprized at, and actually didn't love, although they often felt like choices that would make the story feel more accessible for current day audiences but I would have preferred them to be true to the book. There were lots of things that I resonated more with the story while watching it as a film over reading though, namely the character of Mrs. Fairfax, played by Judi Dench and the vastness of Thornfield and surrounding countryside which made it feel like nothing at all could be nearby and thereby making the world feel spectacularly enormous. They also highlighted a repeated sense of the slightly supernatural, hints of which I must have totally missed while reading!

I feel like I'm harping on the little things here and there, but that's because each and every other moment was amazing. The tone and pace was just right. The characters & relationships were complicated and true. And Jane Eyre was Jane Eyre, a hold strong, fantastic woman who is aspiring, inspiring and true. I'm so glad I read the book first, and would highly recommend people do the same but even so Jane Eyre (2011) is a very powerful, magnificent film.

DVD Extras:
  • Feature Commentary with director Cary Fukanaga discussing the challenge of faithful adapting a large novel and iconic scenes that included, casting, visual enhancements, accents, changes and shifts made in terms of the time line and moments,challenges during filming including intrusions of modernity, cute stories from being on set, ideas and themes that they wanted to keep present in the film, the different locations that they filmed in including the authenticity of the locations and interiors, notation in the order in which scenes were filmed. It's quite a nice commentary that has a nice balance between technical film making elements to production design to keeping to the story and essence of the book & characters.
  • Deleted Scenes (9 scenes, 16 minutes) combination of extended and deleted scenes including ones set during her early life to several of life at the Thornfield, many of the scenes have threads of the gothic and supernatural tones as well as highlighting the resourcefulness and resilience of Jane, I really liked seeing the additional scenes (which are all complete with score), although understand why most were not in the film.
  • A Look Inside Jane Eyre (3 minutes) film clips and remarks from director Cary Fukunaga and actors Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, on the character the character of Jane, the new take on the story but very authentic settings, costumes & make up plus the vision of director Cary Fukunaga with blending a classic story with suspense and casting of Michael Fassbender as Rochester.
  • To Score Jane Eyre: Cary Fukunaga and Dario Marianelli Team Up (2 minutes) interviews with Cary Fukunaga discussing the inspiration for the score, working with and Dario Marianelli, the character of Jane and how she is relayed though the score plus studio footage score, film clips and overview of Dario Marianelli's previous credits.
  • The Mysterious Light of Jane Eyre (2 minutes) film clips and interviews with director Cary Fukunaga, screenwriter Moira Buffini, cinematographer Adriano Goldman, actors Mia Wasikowska, Judi Dench of the tone of the story being gothic thriller and the darkness of the houses and settings
  • It's also noted on the DVD box is an Easter Egg Commentary with Rob Meyer and Ameer Youssef, although I couldn't see how to access it
Jane Eyre is available on DVD as of August 16, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:

I loved it - it's made both my favourite & best of lists for 2011 (so far)
I'll watch it again and again
I strongly recommend it, especially for those who enjoy period pieces and/or films with female protagonists

Also see: 2011 Book to Film Club, 2011 Book to Film Adaptations and DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - March 21, 2011

Mia Wasikowska stars as the title character of the romantic drama JANE EYRE, an Alliance Films' release directed by Cary Fukunaga.

Mia Wasikowska stars as the title character of the romantic drama JANE EYRE, an Alliance Films' release directed by Cary Fukunaga. Photo Credit Laurie Sparham

Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester in the romantic drama JANE EYRE, an Alliance Films' release directed by Cary Fukunaga. Photo Credit Laurie Sparham

Jamie Bell as St. John (right) and Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre (left) in the romantic drama JANE EYRE, an Alliance Films' release directed Cary Fukunaga. Photo Credit Laurie Sparham

1 comment:

Christiane said...

Great DVD review. This movie is easily one of the year's best, excelling at all levels: from the cinematography to production design to the tremendous cast.

I was also able to access the Easter egg commentary by clicking the "Deleted scenes" feature, then scroll down to the "play all" line, then clicking the right-button on your remote or computer. As you do so, a book should appear, which you select, letting you access the commentary. Good luck!

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