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aris i:mi:rt\in\h:m 21 

THE GATEWAY • volume a number 44 

Latest Eyre adaptation s success lies in its subtleties 


Jane Eyre 

Directed by Cary Fukunaga 
Written by Charlotte 8ron!e, adapted 
by Moira Buff ini 

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael 
Fassbender. and Judi Dench 
Opens April 1 


Arts & Entertainment Writer 

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre has been 
the literary equivalent of a tub of Ben 
anti Jerry’s for generations of women: 
good for combatting heartbreak and 
mood swings. However, popular¬ 
ity is a cross to bear, and Eyre has 
had to endure numerous adaptations 
in a wide range oi mediums, some 
less flattering than others. Up-and- 
coming director Cary Fukunaga takes 
on the challenge of creating a standout 
among all the other interpretations of 
Bronte’s famous heroine, and comes 
away with notable success. 

An early prototype of chick lit, 
lane Eyre chronicles the remarkable 
events in the life of the otherwise 
ordinary character of Jane Eyre (Mia 
Wasikowska). Beset by the after¬ 
effects of a wretched childhood, Jane 
presents herself as a physically unex¬ 
citing woman with an admirable 
intellect and an aggressively austere 

When she becomes governess to the 
ward ofM r. Edward Rochester (Michael 
Fassbender). she learns that in spite of 
all her shortcomings, she's still found 
to be attracrive. In a manoeuvre that 
was considered unusually progressive 

at the time, Bronte's story also delays 
the consummation of Eyre and Mr. 
Rochester's romance until both par¬ 
ties have acliieved some sort of gender 

Coupled with gothic motifs, 
energetic dialogue, and a dra¬ 
matic skeleton in the closet, you 
can hardly blame the indnstry for 
wanting to resurrect the novel every 
few years. 

Mia Wasikowska as Eyre is self-con¬ 
tained. yet more expressive than the 
Janes in some of the novel's previous 

film adaptations. Pukunaga employs 
Wasikowska's dance background in 
his direction, focusing on her body 
movement as a means to express her 
silenced emotions. Previous portray¬ 
als of Jane have always been timid and 
weak-looking, whereas Wasikowska 
embodies Jane with a confidence that 

is more befitting for such a progressive 

As per usual, Hollywood finds issue 
with casting unattractive male leads in 
a romantic film, even when the role 
calls for it. But looks aside. Fassbender 
does a wonderful job of emlxKly- 
ing Rochester’s idealistic yet flawed 
personality. Although his sideburns 
are slightly distracting, they aren’t 
enough to detract from Fassbender’s 


Rochester is a difficult role to tackle, 
not just because of the idolatry that 
surrounds his cliaracter, but also 
because of his volatility. In the novel, 
Rochester is haughty and condescend¬ 
ing, and Fassbender fluidly embodies 
all aspects of the role. 

While Wasikowska and Fassbender 
have the benefit of a natural chemistry, 
the build-up of passions between the 
two iovers seems rushed at times, as 
if the destination was more important 
than the journey. One of the problems 
with adapting Jane Eyre is that much 
of the action takes place within Jane’s 
thoughts, which tends to get lost when 
you translate the script into a more 
active medium. 

Fukunaga’s Victorian universe is a 
welcome deviation, using minimalist 
lines and bright, overexposed shots to 
create a clean Puritan look. Both the 
houses anil gardens are sparsely fur¬ 
nished, and open areas lend a feeling 
of spaciousness. Unlike the gloomy 
and cluttered designs of previous 
Eyre adaptations, Fukunaga achieves a 
got lik look with st ark ness. 

It's also interesting to note that while 
Fukunaga has stated his intention to 
draw out the gothic horror elements 
in Jane Eyre, this is only obvious in 
the cinematic trailer. The final prod¬ 
uct belies a more romantic influence, 
but this certainly doesn’t diminish the 
overall potency of the film. 

Fukunaga proves his mettle by 
challenging the long tradition of jane 
Eyre adaptations and producing a cin¬ 
ematic offering that does justice to the 
passionate romance between Jane and 
her master. As jane would say: viewer. 
I liked it. 


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