In yet another remake of the classic novel of gothic romance and intrigue, Focus Features’ Jane Eyre is the newest installment in a growing oeuvre. If the trailers and teasers are any indication, this version may be the best yet. The film can boast of a great ensemble cast including Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska as titular character Jane, and Michael Fassbender (of upcoming Prometheus) as the tortured Mr. Rochester.
This film’s trailers seems to indicate some good things. The cinematography, costuming, scenery; everything has that gothic period drama feel. It’s 19th century England, and we can only expect the best as far as accurate representations from production companies Focus Features and BBC Films.
According to published synopsis, the script stays true to the source material. No “re-imagining” or modernizations here. Jane Eyre will be a plain, morally upstanding woman who uses her intelligence and honesty to navigate the tricky waters of life and love. Mr. Rochester (and I can’t think of a better Mr. Rochester than Fassbender, who always looks a little broody to me) is a temperamental, brooding aristocrat with some dangerous secrets.
In the novel written by Charlotte Bronte, audiences experience a sad and lonely childhood with Jane. After graduating from a strict charitable institution, Jane becomes a governess under the dark and forbidding towers of Thornfield Hall. The master of Thornfield is the mysterious Mr. Rochester. Against the norms of the time, Jane and Mr. Rochester fall into a forbidden love. Before things can be set to right, a few skeletons in the closet doom their relationship.
The great cast led by Fassbender and Wasikowska includes Judi Dench, Jamie Bell (most recently of The Eagle) and Imogen Poots (also in upcoming Fright Night remake). Cary Fukanaga directs this Jane Eyre. Both he and screenwriter Moira Buffini are relatively unknown quantities. Despite this question mark, I think the look and feel of what I’ve seen so far is hopeful. In the end, this version will have to be not only true to the original classic novel, but must capture the dark intensity of the relationships and the virtue of Jane (without making her pretentious, or boring). Joining a pool of about 20 film and/or TV versions already out there, this Jane Eyre must stand out in a big way.
Jane Eyre will be released on March 11th.