There are no surprises in the latest version of the oft-adapted Charlotte Bronte favourite Jane Eyre about the original poor, Plain Jane governess finding passionate love with the miserable master of the manor, Mr. Rochester.
The grandmother of romance novels is scenically filmed in Derbyshire, the cossies are fastidious, and assorted British thespians – from Dame Judi as the housekeeper and Sally Hawkins as cruel Aunt Reid to Billy Elliot star Bell as starving fugitive Jane’s devoutly religious rescuer St. John Rivers – do their stuff around Wasikowska’s indomitable, forthright Jane and Fassbender’s brooding rock star of a Rochester, who wears his tight breeches well.
Dramatically American director Cary Fukunaga’s take has nothing terribly fresh to add to previous versions (the last in 2006) except perhaps Jane’s advanced feminism. And the big emotional highs and tragic lows are curiously restrained. It’s fine if you dote on bonnets and smouldering glances, and a fair introduction to the classic novel for those who haven’t yet read it or are studying it at A-level. But the 1940s Hollywood version with Orson Welles as Rochester still knocks spots off it!
Is Jane Eyre suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The following may frighten younger children (under 12s):
As a child Jane is physically and emotionally abused by her bullying cousin, cruel aunt and sadistic schoolmaster.
In one famous incident she wakes up to find her best friend has died in bed beside her
Things are a bit creepy around the mansion by candlelight, especially the appearance of the dangerous, screeching mad woman in the attic.