Like The Count of Monte Cristo or A Christmas Carol, Jane Eyre is so classic, and so inspired and — to some — inspiring, that it’s almost impossible to do a version that doesn’t work.
By the way, a friend did a count one time and told me Jane Eyre has been made into 27 movies and TV mini-series. And the Battelle Film Club brings this to the Tri-Cities.
Each version, of course, has its own special merits. Director Cary Fukunaga (the excellent Sin Nombre) and writer Moira Buffini — who penned the excellent and pretty much not seen Tamara Drewe — tweak Charlotte Bronte’s book a bit.
It will bother some, but what really makes this version work for me is the acting. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) is a charismatic young actress whose work gets better with each outing. She can dominate a scene just standing there listening. It’s a rare and impressive gift.
Cast as Rochester is the now ubiquitous Michael Fassbender, who last year alone did Shame, A Dangerous Game — opening this week at Carmike — X-Men: First Class and Jane Eyre.
As an aside, Fassbender looks and sounds exactly like acting legend Burt Lancaster. The voice and delivery style are especially uncanny.
Whether Fassbender sounds and looks like Lancaster is immaterial. The guy can flat-out act and as with all roles in 2011, Fassbender is fabulous in Jane Eyre.
Purists may not love this version. There are flaws. But it’s Jane Eyre and to Jane Eyre is divine.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It plays one-time only — 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3 — at the Battelle Auditorium.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.