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How embarrassing: I have neither read the book nor ever seen a film version. That is quite a good starting point to judge the film, however, because I do not need to compare with Orson Welles or whoever else was involved before. The (as I read in Wikipedia “feminist or proto-feminist”) story of Jane Eyre is not particularly interesting out of itself (I assume the richness of detail in the book and the language makes it a classical read, not so much the plot development), so a lot depends on really cinematic aspects:  production design, selection of story elements, location, actors. From the very beginning, director Cary Fukunaga gets that right: he sets off with a dramatic scene of Jane running agitatedly though the hills, with the weather building up and the clouds towering, to reach the cottage of some priest and his family soaked to the bones. That is from the middle of the book, and the choice is great, because it allows for a new approach for those who have seen it a hundred times and know the story by heart, but it also gives the audience that is merely  interested in this isolated piece of work an impression of the forthcoming drama. The actors are great, even though my man-crush Fassbender definitely looks better without the beard (see “Fish Tank”!). The other actors I do not know, but they all felt natural enough, not overburdened by the responsibility to finding yet another new note on an organ played so often before. Must remember to watch Fukunaga’s “Sin Nombre”, which I remember got great reviews when it came out.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jane_eyre_2011/

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