Monday, April 04, 2011

‘Jane Eyre’ – Gothically Romantic

Atmospheric and completely absorbing, the latest film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is simply one of the best versions to come out in years. The classic romance tale of head strong orphan, who falls in love with a very mysterious and wealthy older man with a dark gothic secret, is handled deftly by director Cary Fukunara.

Of course, Fukunara fills his period piece with a stunning cast lead by Mia Wasikowa (Alice in Wonderland) who brings strength, intelligence and striking vulnerability to the title role of Jane unlike I have seen in a very long time. He also fills the piece with a mood that while dark and often a bit frightening is still rich in romance and the promise of love fulfilled.

Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) is a very capable Mr Rochester, the tall, dark owner of the estate that Jane comes to live in as the nanny of his niece. Fassbender is adept at as the complex Rochester, who seems to have meant his match in Jane. At one point Rochester questions Jane: ‘What is your tale of woe?’ to which she coolly replies: ‘I have no tale of woe.’ But of course, we know that her entire life has been a tale of woe and Fukunara elects to reveal this tale to us through a series of flashbacks. The strength in Jane lies in the fact that she has experienced this woe and yet she is more determined to endure. While Wasikowa herself is rather plain in this role, her beauty, internally which seeps out externally, is stunning and you find yourself becoming transfixed by it.

‘Jane Eyre’ is a monstrous work of literature so of course the script had to be oared down, but even at 2 hours, the film did seem a bit short. That being said, Fukunara has you feeling like you have missed nothing. This is a film that will leave you thinking, leave you touched and leave you wanting more romantic period pieces. In a time where the senseless romantic comedy seems to ruling the box office, serious pieces are very much needed. ‘Jane Eyre’ fills that role perfectly. A 4 start effort worthy of the trip downtown as it is in limited release, for the moment at least.

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum we have ‘Sucker Punch’, the latest effort from visionary director Zack Snyder that left me wondering why I plopped down even the early bird of $5.00.

Creatively void of anything but hyped up visuals, this hackneyed ‘story’ of a young girl imprisoned in a mental asylum, where I think was actually a brothel, or was that a part of the dream within a dream within a dream nonsense…I digress, it was rotten beyond belief. Remember when I reviewed Adam Sandler’s ‘Just Go With It’? I mentioned that it was the worst movie of the year, perhaps of a lifetime. Well, ‘Sucker Punch’ is a close follow-up.

The acting is downright embarrassing, the soundtrack is loud and obnoxious and the story made absolutely no sense what so ever. Obviously Snyder just wanted to fill the screen with scantily clad girls wielding swords and machine guns. Yay. Leave this 0 star effort alone. Don’t even bother sliding in your hard earned dollar bill to Redbox on this one. Save it for basic cable.

Speaking of Redbox and in keeping with the romance theme of ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Tangled’ is a rousing, fun and very romantic animated feature from the folks at Disney. With Zachary Levi (from TV’s Chuck) and Mandi Moore, ‘Tangled’ once again shows us that fairy tale romances are not only a great story, but a great lesson in life to follow your dreams. Originally released in 3D, the 2D version was rich and wonderful in BluRay. This is a 4 star movie for all ages and especially for the romantics in the crowd!

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