I had a chance to see Cary Fukunaga's "Jane Eyre" last night and it was lovely - eloquent, intelligent, spooky. Charlotte Brontë's century-and-a-half old classic, which is a poignant love story with a touch of Gothic mystery, has been endlessly and needlessly adapted, yet the filmmakers and the wonderful cast headlined by the two young up-and-comers breathe new life to what could have a been a deliberate, dawdling exercise.
The casting of Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender just made too much sense to falter on screen and thankfully they're both up to the task. The former, delicate, firm, devastating and the latter a towering Mr. Rochester - both unwaveringly boorish and mysteriously charming. (Of course, Mr. Fassbender knows all about courting young English ladies, as he did so ambiguously in Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank").
Director Cary Fukunaga (who debuted two years ago with the stark, moving immigration tale, "Sin Nombre") has publicly stated that he intended to embrace the spookier elements of Brontë's novel, but his bigger contribution (in collaboration with Moira Buffini's adaptation) is the seamless, time-shifting narrative, which is deftly applied and rarely settles into a predictable groove.
And the technical aspects are all first-class, from Adriano Goldman's naturally-lit interiors to Dario Marianelli's subtle, ascending score to Fukunaga's unfussy, carefully measured injections of weight, "Jane Eyre" is both classical enough to please Brontë fans and curious enough to attract new ones. [B+]