Thursday, 28 July 2016

Jane Eyre (2011)

A young woman staggers across the moors during a storm.  She eventually makes it to a home where she collapses on the doorstep.  Taken inside, she is nursed back to health by the owners of the house.

Recovered, she gives her name as Jane Elliott and accepts an offer of employment as schoolteacher at a village school for girls.  She is warned that it is a small and humble position, but says that both words describe her very well.

We then flash back to the young woman's childhood.  We learn her name is actually Jane Eyre; that she comes from a wealthy family but was raised by cruel relatives; and that after her schooling - also an unhappy experience - she became a governess for the ward of a gentleman named Rochester.

Rochester is dark and brooding and not overly inclined to social pleasantries.  There's also some strange secret lurking in his estate.  It is thus inevitable that Jane will fall in love with him, even though she believes her affections are hopeless due to her lack of wealth and beauty (this is movie-verse lack of beauty of course, so she's actually an attractive woman).

It's probably self-evident to say this, but a romantic drama lives and dies on the strength of its central romance.  And this is a point on which this film falls short, to my mind.  The cast do their best with the material, but I simply don't feel the script does enough to make Jane and Rochester's relationship convincing, particularly given the events that lead her to flee his home and end up wandering the moors.

If Gothic romances are a particular favourite of yours, you may be able to overlook this film's lacklustre efforts regarding the 'romance' part.  Otherwise, I suggest turning your attentions elsewhere.

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