Jane Eyre

Reviewed by
July–August 2011, no. 333

Jane Eyre

Reviewed by
July–August 2011, no. 333

The opening frames of Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre are startling. Charlotte Brontë’s novel, published in 1847, is a trenchant portrait of female entrapment, but this new adaptation immediately thrusts us outside. A fully grown Jane (Mia Wasikowska) hastens down a hill slope and roams around a vast, viridian moorland. Nearly thirty film and television adaptations have led us to expect to discover Jane as a juvenile prisoner of Gateshead, confined to the sliver of space between window and curtain while a flabby, menacing John Reed hunts her down. Instead, a bird’s-eye shot shows Jane at a crossroad, and subsequent close-ups divulge her crying, the thing she has most been at pains to suppress. The twenty-first-century Jane Eyre is less a victim of cages and cruelties than she is cosmically alone.

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