These bouts of remembrance are typically entered and exited as if they were inescapable nightmares. The past truly haunts Jane: she thinks back on her cruel aunt, Mrs Reed (Sally Hawkins), and the strict boarding school where her quietly defiant nature was shaped. But she most obsesses on her relationship with Edward Rochester (Fassbender), the mysterious proprietor of the seemingly haunted Thornfield Hall. It’s in this sinister location – where every shadow appears to mask some horrifying threat – that the majority of the tale takes place.
Fukunaga, who made a promising debut with 2009’s Sin Nombre, orchestrates some alternately disturbing and dreamy encounters (the famous bed-on-fire sequence sizzles even after Jane has doused the flames). And Wasikowska and Fassbender are perfectly paired, though the streamlining of the story occasionally gives the proceedings a CliffsNotes feel (the revelation of Rochester’s past doesn’t pack quite the punch it should). Still, the film builds to a shattering climax that works precisely because all involved fully embrace the melodrama. Be sure to bring Kleenex.
|Stars:||Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Su Elliot, Holliday Grainger, Tamzin Merchant, Amelia Clarkson, Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins|