Chrissy Breen Keffer writes:
Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre is marked by departures. The movie starts with Jane wresting open a door and fleeing Thornfield Hall. But the movie is marked by other departures as well.
Mr. Fukunaga's main characters are far from the caricatures of past depictions. As Jane is about to be sent to the Lowood Institution, she confronts her Aunt Reed, and condemns the lie her aunt told Mr. Brocklehurst: "Deceit is not my fault." To which her aunt replies, "But you are passionate." Mia Wasikowska's Jane (played with an artless maturity that eludes actors twice her age) is no meek church mouse; she is a fiery red-head who doesn't cower before anyone. Similarly, Michael Fassbender (pictured below) brings subtlety and depth to the role of Rochester. In this movie, we see Rochester as Brontë intends him to be: purposeful, yet with a sense of humor and a soft vulnerability.
Constrained by cinematic time limitations, Mr. Fukunaga necessarily weeds out scenes from the novel. Much of Jane's story - her years at Lowood, interactions with Rochester (farewell mysterious gypsy!), her stay with the Riverses - is whittled down to a bare minimum. Some of the complexity of the original story is lost - this is especially true of Saint John Rivers; he is no foil to Rochester - yet Mr. Fukunaga is still able to capture the essence of Jane Eyre.
Mr. Fukunaga takes directorial liberties, but to good effect. He restructures the book, weaving the story of her childhood into the story of her adulthood. The serene yet beautiful English countryside becomes a window to Jane's state of mind (expansive and blooming with Rochester, wind-whipped and snow-covered with Saint John). He also employs some tricks of the trade - thumps, creaks, startling noises, and whispers carried on the wind - to give the movie its gothic feel.
This movie is marked by departures: from previous projects for the director (Sin Nombre) and cast (Wasikowska's Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are Alright and Fassenberg's Inglorious Basterds), from previous portrayals, and even from the arc of the novel. But these departures, ironically and counter-intuitively, bring it closer to the original than any previous version. ** Fukunaga visit to the Parsonage - see http://bit.ly/Azlmqh