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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Jane Eyre': A Sleek and Lustrous Modern Adaptation of the Classic Charlotte Brontë Novel

Movie poster for the film Jane Eyre starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska

"Jane Eyre" (2011) is a sleek, modernistic revision of Charlotte Brontë's classic novel, starring Mia Wasikowska as the titular governess and Michael Fassbender as her employer and lover-with-a-dark-secret, Edward Fairfax Rochester.

Set in the 1840's, the storyline alternates between Jane's sorrowful departure from Thornfield Hall, Rochester's country estate, and her adolescence as an orphan raised to serve as governess to Rochester's young French ward Adèle (Romy Settbon Moore). As mutual attraction between Jane and Rochester slowly blossoms, he clambers to dispel hints of a haunting presence within the house—a presence that will ultimately come to light in the most dire and consequential of manners.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga ("Sin Nombre", "True Detective"), it's a somber yet exquisitely polished period piece highlighted by Wasikowska and Fassbender's achingly aggrieved performances. Their blooming love affair is delivered with palpable atmospherics, as Fukunaga lends a keen air of artistry to Brontë's heralded prose. Emotionally impassioned and narratively gripping, it's a remarkably accessible modern take on Brontë's 18th-century depiction of classism, religious fervor and burgeoning feminism.


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