Don't get me wrong, I loved Sense And Sensibility (it even made my 1995 top ten list), but I gave Persuasion one of the worst reviews of the year. Here comes Jane Eyre to follow in the latter's footsteps.
Jane Eyre is based on one of those books you were supposed to read in high school (entitled, oddly, Jane Eyre), but which was so damn boring you couldn't even get through the Cliff's Notes. The film is almost as exciting as one would expect a film about, say, the book, Jane Eyre, to be. It's full of longing glances, Jane (Charlotte Gainsbourg) staring into the hills of England, Jane prancing through the meadow, Jane in a carriage, and important lines like, "He is a proud man." And, sadly, not much else.
The hopelessly archaic story is one of love and idiocy in the early 1800s, when men could keep their insane first wives locked up in the spare room of the castle (those were the days!). It was also a time when, for no apparent reason, you could expect a young governess to fall in love with her invalid boss. There are some other plot points of note, but really, who cares? There are much better things to laugh about! Such as:
Gainsbourg, best described as a British girl with a really long neck and really fat cheeks, was recently seen in the film Kung Fu Master! Who better to play Ms. Eyre, really? Anna Paquin plays Young Jane but is completely devoid of the charm that endeared her to me in The Piano (and won her an Oscar). Elle Macpherson is Rochester's girly friend (inexplicably jilted in the second film within a month)! Maria Schneider pulls off a totally toys-in-the-attic portrayal of Blanche, the crazy first wife. Amanda Root, who sucked in Persuasion, doesn't suck as badly here, but still causes me to break out in hives when she's on screen (fortunately briefly). And...the kicker...William Hurt as Rochester!? Ho ho ho!
As if the casting and acting weren't enough to make this a bomb, we've got an interminable story that just won't end, a really dumb ending when it finally does, half of the audience laughing at the "high drama," the other half asleep, and, worst of all, a film that is so archaic and out-of-date that it's almost insulting to watch. How helpful and/or truly relevant is this story of Victorian obsession and self-destruction today? Who would act in a manner remotely similar to these people, except my psychopathic ex who fancied herself to be Blanche (but that's another story)? Putting it all together, Jane Eyre manages to be not just a very bad movie, but to be irresponsible as well. Keep away.
Jane, searching for a clue, somewhere--anywhere.
Run time: 120 mins
In Theaters: Friday 9th September 2011
Box Office USA: $11.2M
Box Office Worldwide: $11M
Distributed by: Focus Features
Production compaines: BBC Films, Ruby Films
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 124 Rotten: 23
IMDB: 7.4 / 10
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Producer: Dyson Lovell
Starring: Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre, Jamie Bell as St. John, Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester, Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, Su Elliott as Hannah, Holliday Grainger as Diana Rivers, Tamzin Merchant as Mary Rivers, Amelia Clarkson as Young Jane, Craig Roberts as John Reed, Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Reed, Lizzie Hopley as Miss Abbot, Jayne Wisener as Bessie, Freya Wilson as Eliza Reed, Emily Haigh as Georgiana Reed, Simon McBurney as Mr. Brocklehurst, Sandy McDade as Miss Scatcherd, Freya Parks as Helen Burns, Edwina Elek as Miss Temple, Ewart James Walters as John, Georgia Bourke as Leah, Sally Reeve as Martha, Romy Settbon Moore as Adèle Varens, Eglantine Rembauville-Nicolle as Sophie, Rosie Cavaliero as Grace Poole, Angela Curran as Undercook, Imogen Poots as Blanche Ingram, Sophie Ward as Lady Ingram, Joe Van Moyland as Lord Ingram, Hayden Phillips as Colonel Dent, Laura Phillips as Mrs. Dent, Harry Lloyd as Richard Mason, Ned Dennehy as Dr. Carter, Joseph Kloska as Clergyman Wood, Ben Roberts as Briggs, Valentina Cervi as Bertha Mason