Pixel Tracker

Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 10:43 pm | Fair 48º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Jane Eyre’ the Epitome of 19th-Century Romance

Filmmaker Cary Fukunaga puts his mark on the remake of a classic love story

3 Stars — Challenging

The 1847 classic novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a favorite of filmmakers. Filmed 15 times before, Cary Fukunaga makes it 16 with this 2011 remake.

The first was a silent film starring Louise Vale in the title role, and the last was the 1996 film starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. With a style previously revealed in his study of gang life in Sin Nombre, Fukunaga creates a dark and foreboding version of this well-known tale.

As Fukunaga uses visual poetry throughout the tale, his choice for the title role of Jane by Mia Wasikowska as the adult and Amelia Clarkson as the preteen are perfectly cast for the way he presents the tale.

Beginning the story with a distraught Jane running into an empty and desolate landscape, with the storm brewing and the rain and cold punishing, we experience the pathos that has defined her life.

Rescued by a young minister and his two sisters, Jane then begins to remember the journey that brought her to this place. In this intertwining of present and past, we realize that hers is a dark journey with only moments of light and hope in a life filled with disappointment and betrayal. But we also realize that this suffering has formed her into a woman of courage, integrity and depth.

Central to her journey is the love she develops for the gentleman, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). An unhappy man with a dark secret, Rochester is seldom at home and painfully alone. But when he meets Jane, their souls connect and they are both inextricably drawn to each other. The reasons become increasingly clear as their mutual sorrows meld. It is also clear that Jane’s experiences of having been betrayed by those closest to her make her unable to accept any further deceit from Rochester.

The other characters in the tale include a cruel aunt of Jane’s, Mrs. Reed (Sally Hawkins), who sent her away as a child to a school led by an abusive headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst (Simon McBurney). But it is in this school that Jane meets an angelic student, Helen (Freya Parks), whose grace and love for God shine brightly in that darkness. It is the light of her friend’s faith and kindness that Jane then takes into her own life.

A classic love story with religious and moral themes, Jane Eyre is a story that takes the loneliness of the human condition and our common desire for love, truth and belonging, and exaggerates them for the screen. As such, it is a story for everyone.


» When Jane’s aunt lied about Jane by calling her a liar, we see her projection of her own sin by ascribing it to another. Jesus describes this as having a log in one’s own eye and seeing a speck of sawdust in another’s. How do you deal with your own tendency to project your sins onto others and become judgmental?

» In a day when divorce is far more easily obtained, it is difficult to understand Mr. Rochester’s behavior with his wife. But placing ourselves back into that time, what would you have done if you were in his place?

» The proclamation by St. John Rivers (Jamie Bell) that God wants Jane to marry him is a manipulation of her faith. Has anyone ever tried to manipulate you by using your faith to get you to do something that person wanted? What did you do?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.