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The classic “Jane Eyre” is the 1944 version with Joan Fontaine and . Fontaine was 27, Welles was 29. Mia Wasikowska is 21 and Michael Fassbender is 34. In the novel, Jane is scarily 20 and Rochester is … older. Whether in any version he is old enough to accomplish what he has done in life is a good question, but this film is correct in making their age difference obvious; Jane in every sense must be intimidated by her fierce employer. No version I know of has ever made Rochester as unattractive as he is described in the book.

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To describe Jane Eyre in such a short paragraph does both film and book a serious injustice, this adaptation involves you from the very second the first scene begins already providing questions that even those familiar with the book would find difficult to answer. Never has the moors of England that have always been so closely associated with the writings of the Bronte sisters, looked more beautiful, grey and haunting. What is far more than just commendable is how they have treated the character of Jane, some of the adaptations have become merely the story of Jane and Rochester, here, this is Jane’s tale and Mia Wasikowska proves more than able for the task. Restrained, barely showing emotion on her face from one scene to the next, her gaze pierces through and makes both Rochester and viewer believe there is more than what meets the eye. Her brief displays of sentiment and passion are never overplayed and once they occur, an empathy with her character that arguably has not transpired in any other adaptation, manifests. Fassbender is, predictably, magnificent as Rochester. Originally, it could have been considered that he was not rough enough around the edges but his hold on Thornfield and on Jane is felt even in his off-screen presence. His failings are evident but he is painted realistically, his cruelty, temper and sensitivity becoming all the aspects that make him Rochester and not just any period drama romantic interest.

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What we're saying is, that a movie poster like might suggest. But don't worry: it's still a crowd-pleaser. Madness, disability, missionaries, and a tasty sprinkle of the make Jane Eyre a pretty compelling read for a book that was published (under the pseudonym Currer Bell) in the wayback days of 1847.

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