The 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Gothic novel Jane Eyre is a gorgeous piece of cinema, thanks partly to Adriano Goldman’s incredible cinematography. Throwing the moors into sharp contrast against the sunny, floral grounds of Thornfield, the film follows Jane’s tumultuous journey from childhood to her role as governess to almost marrying her employer, the mysterious Mr. Rochester. While in Brontë’s novel Jane speaks directly to the reader, the film is framed by her mad dash through the foggy wilderness after she learns that Rochester has lied to her about his past. The plot will be familiar to readers of the book, but this film adaptation is a brilliant, vivid journey that shines fresh light onto Jane’s character.
Portrayed by Mia Wasikowska, Jane is haunted by her dark, lonely, and abusive past – something she’s trying to escape in her new position as governess to the cheerful Adèle (Romy Settbon Moore), Rochester’s “charge”. Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender) is not present when Jane first arrives at Thornfield Hall, and when she does finally meet him, he remains just as much of a mystery to her. Though Thornfield is an isolated place, rumors swirl about Rochester, about Jane, and eventually about their relationship. A series of unsettling events – strange noises in the night, a sudden fire, and Rochester’s random outbursts – doesn’t seem to affect her opinion of him, which gives the viewers clues about Jane’s own character.