Who's In It: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Simon McBurney
The Basics: Jane Eyre has had it rough. Her parents are dead and she has been raised by an aunt who can't stand her, and a cousin who chases her with swords. When she gets shipped away to a boarding school, Mr. Brocklehurst, a man whose name alone should keep him from casting stones, makes sure she has the devil beaten out of her. Then she becomes a governess, utilizing her French skills for tutoring, and she has to deal with Rochester, her cranky employer. When things begin to look up, she discovers a horrible secret that causes it all to come crashing down again. This time, Jamie Bell does his best to save her. But in the end, she manages to save herself.
What's The Deal: A wonderfully written screenplay by Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe) translated to the screen by Sin Nombredirector Cary Fukunaga made for an incredibly captivating 130 minutes. My favorite thing about the film was how relatable the characters were, which is as much a credit to the director as it is to the performers. Mia Wasikowska has reached a whole new level here, transcending from being merely likable to riveting. Michael Fassbender goes up against her like a sexy brick wall. And Judi Dench tops it off like a sassy Victorian cherry.
When the Corsets Come Off: It's easy to forget how positively scandalous things were back in the day. I bet Charlotte Bronte was like the Courtney Love of the Victorian English Literary World. Even though people are thoroughly blanketed in layers and layers of clothing, just the sight of a collarbone sets the whole room aflame. This energy is present in the film too--when Jane and Rochester stand facing each other in the moonlight separated only by thin, floor-length, gauzy cotton, it might as well be nothing. Who needs daisy dukes and tube tops? Clothing is of no consequence when you're a strong-willed, intelligent survivor gazing into the eyes of a bold, strong protector with your lips a mere five inches apart. Ooh!
The More Things Change: There's plenty to like about this movie: beautiful setting, amazing production design, wonderful costumes, great performances, engaging dialogue. The best thing though is how bonkers these novels get--today's "crazy" is but a mere shadow of how whacked out things were back in the day. The Housewives of New Jersey have nothing on Rochester and his dark secret. If you haven't read the novel I don't want to spoil it for you, but it's totally gasp-worthy. Even though I sport a pink fauxhawk, I watched wide-eyed in shock and feeling thoroughly puritanical.