"Really, another one?"
That's likely what fans of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel "Jane Eyre" thought when the news hit that up-and-coming star Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") was set to play the iconic heroine in a new film adaptation.
We don’t blame the disbelievers. Everybody from Joan Fontaine to Charlotte Gainsbourg had played Jane in the many film and TV versions of the book that began flooding the marketplace as far back as the silent film era.
Well, turns out there’s still some life in the old lady after all.
For the uninitiated, here's the plot: Jane, a plain, determined girl flees her abusive upbringing at Thornfield Hall to work for the wealthy and brooding Rochester (Fassbender), only to fall prey to his charms. Little does Jane know, Rochester is hiding one hell of a secret.
In hindsight, the surprising success of this film should have come as no surprise given the involvement of Sundance-approved director Cary Fukunaga ("Sin Nombre"), and rising stars Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender ("X-Men: First Class").
Fukunaga injects some Gothic sensibilities into the tale that make this "Jane" darker than the ones that have come before. That’s not to say it’s a gloomy bore. Far from it. In the early scenes, a young Jane is tormented by a sibling, and the pain inflicted upon the girl palpable. When Jane finally sits down and engages in a lengthy discussion with Rochester, the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Wasikowska brings the required tenacity to pull Jane off, and nails it in the chemistry department with the swoon-worthy Fassbender. This man’s dangerous, and Wasikowska’s Jane knows it. We’d be hard pressed to find a hotter and more enamored on-screen couple than this one this year.
In case you missed it in theaters, be sure to check out "Jane Eyre" now before the awards season kicks into high gear. Chances are, you’ll be hearing a lot more about this release over the coming months.
Extras! The best feature on this disc is the 16 minutes of deleted scenes, surprising given how complete the film already is. Other extras include a very brief promo piece, a look at how the film was scored, feature audio commentary from Fukunaga and a short peek at capturing the haunting look of the film.