Director: Cary Fukunaga
Stars: Mia Wasikowska
Mia Wasikowska commands the title role for the 19th Jane Eyre, and like a distaff version of 007, she’s a heroine who shakes and stirs. Luminous in The Kids are All Right and Alice in Wonderland, Wasikowska makes drab seem rad in director Cary Fukunaga’s insightful rendering of Bronte’s gothic love story, a new classic version of this oft-told tale.
She’s superbly matched with Michael Fassbender, the charming chameleon of Hunger and Inglourious Basterds, who as Jane’s mysterious swain Edward Rochester is a figure at once menacing and vulnerable.
Rounding out the impeccable cast are Judi Dench as Rochester’s loyal housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax, and Jamie Bell as the starched clergyman St. John Rivers.
Fukunaga’s vision, in concert with screenwriter Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe), strips the Bronte novel to its dark roots about the physical and emotional travails of young orphan Jane.
The two main protagonists have been given small but significant personality makeovers: Jane is less pious and Rochester is less verbose than in the novel. Wasikowska and Fassbender do such a superb job in their roles, and match together so well, that no one need fear any disservice to Bronte’s everlasting intention: a love story where the woman is the equal to the man.