Jane Eyre **


Running time: 120 mins  Certificate: PG

Synopsis: Dowdy Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska), an orphan raised and mistreated in a boarding school, becomes a governess for the brooding Mr Rochester (Michael Fassbender).  A tentative relationship develops, but Rochester has a dark secret


Every time an interesting actress comes along they get shoved into a bonnet and corset before they know what’s hit them.  Look at Nicole Kidman who started out as a flame-haired BMX Bandit, high school ninja, firing distress flares into Billy Zane’s head, before Hollywood bleach blondified her and put her in crap like ‘Far and Away’ (Ron Howard 1992).  


Now it is Mia Wasikowska’s turn.  The beautiful Wasikowska, so good in HBO’s ‘In Treatment’ and the Oscar nominated ‘The Kids Are All Right’ (Lisa Cholodenko 2010) tries hard to look plain as literature’s most famous doormat.  She is fine here, but as with ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Tim Burton 2010) she looks uncomfortable.  It could be the whalebone corset of course, but there’s a definite feeling of awkwardness present in her performance.  Ditto Michael Fassbender, who is better suited to contemporary pieces like his work with Steve McQueen. 


This version of ‘Jane Eyre’ does nothing innovative with the novel.  There is no need for it to exist. Amy Heckerling turned Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ into ‘Clueless,’ (1995) to make it one of the best teen movies of the 90’s.  She modernised the material and made it seem fresh and interesting.  Director Cary Fukunaga’s approach is restrained to the point of inertia.  Inevitably there will be another version along shortly.  Please do something different.  Set it in space, or give Jane a comedy monkey sidekick, make it a porno, or cast it withMuppets. Anything except this, again, and again, and again. 

by Kevin Sturton

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