There have been more than a dozen film adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and it would be easy to get lost amid the numerous productions once it hit DVDs. Thanks to great performances and beautiful cinematography, the 2011 version of Jane Eyre belongs on any list of the year’s best DVD releases.
The classic story of Jane Eyre follows the character (played by Mia Wasikowska) through her childhood, early education at school, and her time as a governess where she meets and subsequently falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester. And like all good movies and novels, the story is full of intrigue, suspense, passion, and of course, a bit of romance. The story becomes much more of a suspenseful thriller than it does in previous film and TV adaptations and is full of raw emotion.
What makes 2011’s Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga so unique is the chemistry between its two leads- Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. Through their emotive and thoughtful performances, the danger that lies just under the surface of the story makes the tension and passion burst off the page and into the modern era. The moody cinematography makes the robust longing Jane feels for Mr. Rochester all the more desperate and compelling. It is hard to take your eyes off of Wasikowska, who previously played another literary heroine in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and gave a knock-out performance in The Kids Are All Right.
The film succeeds not because of any radical updates, but because it is possibly the truest adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s work. This finely detailed and achingly beautiful adaptation is likely to bring new readers (and re-readers) to the classic story, and an film that encourages readers to pick up a classic novel is worthy of a spot on the list of the best DVDs of 2011.