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Film / Jane Eyre (2011)

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A 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontė's classic novel Jane Eyre,produced by Focus Features and BBC Films. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation, the first season of True Detective, No Time to Die), it starred Mia Wasikowska as Jane, Michael Fassbender as Rochester, Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, and Jamie Bell as St. John.

"Reader, I used these tropes":

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Common in all adaptations of the book, but this is the most flagrant example yet, with two extremely attractive leading actors playing characters whose plainness is a plot-relevant trait.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Mary, one of the servants in Thornfield Hall and old John's wife in the novel becomes Martha in this version. She and one of the Rivers siblings share the same name in the novel.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Rochester is brown-haired and blue-eyed.
  • Almost Kiss: When Rochester is "thanking" her for saving him from the fire. He tries to kiss her again, after their aborted wedding, but she won't let him.
  • Balcony Escape: Jane leaves Thornfield Hall through the window in her room after her failed wedding with Mr. Rochester.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Rochester grows one after Jane leaves and when Bertha sets the house on fire and commits suicide.
  • Cat Scare: Just before Jane encounters Rochester, she is startled by a bird.
  • Chiaroscuro: The lighting is beautifully done. The trope is used very effectively to mimic the dramatic candlelight that would have been in use at the time of Jane Eyre.
  • Dies Wide Open: Helen dies this way.
  • Dutch Angle: When Helen dies, the camera is tilted as Jane is taken away.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The positioning of the Rivers section as framing narrative means that all three of the Rivers siblings get these.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Bertha.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: When Jane enters to the remains of a ruined Thornfield Hall she sees a burned ragged doll on the chair.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: To the film's credit, it's not overdone.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: Jane turns her back when Mr. Rochester puts on his pants after they take out the fire in the latter's bedroom.
  • Identical Stranger: While not identical, there is a strong resemblance between Adèle and the younger Jane, highlighting how Jane identifies with Adèle.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with Jane leaving Thornfield Hall then she is taken care of by the Rivers siblings. Then it flashes back to her childhood and her days in Thornfield Hall leading to the event where she discovered a secret there.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Invoked, and subverted.
    St. John: [Hesitates, then kisses Jane on the lips]
  • Longing Look: There are a lot of these.
  • Messy Hair: Bertha.
  • Ominous Fog: The area where Jane and Mr. Rochester first met is filled with this.
  • Oop North: Jane's accent this time around has flavors of Yorkshire in it.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The restructuring of the film into using the Rivers sequence as a framing narrative, and the childhood and Rochester sections as semi-flashback material qualify as a clever attempt to reshape the story's unwieldy, commonly frustrating structure into a satisfying two hour film. The film might otherwise qualify for Adaptation Distillation, though many events and causes are finessed to fit a more "naturalistic" rather than Romantic tone.
  • Relationship Compression: Jane and Rochester seem to fall for each other rather quickly (to be fair, it's extremely hard to keep the relationship building sections while trying to include the full plot of the novel).
  • Say My Name: Well, Say His Name.
  • Spiteful Spit: Bertha casually spits at Jane.
  • Vertigo Effect: Twice. First during the Red Room scene, just before an ash cloud explodes from the fireplace, and second just before Jane meets Rochester for the first time (after being startled by the bird).