Jane Eyre (2011) | Review by Mark Leidner
Its appetites insatiable, unstable, black, pornographic, and endless.
Rare is the movie that makes you want to not just fuck, but love the female lead—rare as I suppose it is in life.
Rare is the girl so pure and beautiful that to love her would be enough.
In every scene, Mia Wasikowska coruscates this rarity.
Never more eloquently than in sparring Michael Fassbender’s magically smoldering Rochester.
The teary, electric passion between the two is nothing short of a gift.
They make the Lifetime movie-brutalized genre of melodrama not only forgivable, but venerable.
Rare is the movie that can make you believe an unbearable love is possible.
The billowing torch Eyre and Rochester bear along the gusted midnight plain of their narrative makes my own sporadic bursts of pussy-chasing look like a miniature flashlight not even bought—shoplifted—from the CVS of my imagination, whose only light is its own fluorescent torture.
Like all good movies, Eyre helped me realize I am a fool and an asshole, even as it gave me hope I might not be.
The function I suppose Jane Eyre herself performs for Rochester.
That she does not exist in life, in the dark, rainy parking lot of Amherst Cinema, as I walked out to my car, seemed mankind’s keenest tragedy.
If in Eyre’s braids alone I could not glimpse all the universe I beheld’s coiled splendor, I would be blinder than an underwater mountain.
When Rochester smokes his cigarettes in virile anguish, just as Fassbender’s British spy in Basterds, for a few nighmarishly tantalizing seconds I literally become homosexual…
If women looked at me the way they must at him in my imagination, I would fear nothing.
I would walk through walls, breathe fire, stick my head into the mouth of death like a large black lion and laugh into the throat-hole like a metaphysical bullhorn.
The first act is slow.
The dialogue is rich, baroque, and conceptual—yet effortless.
The acting is so close to being, we see into the consciousnesses of our two leads that thing we have no easy name for, and so, throwing up our hands in gratitude and disgust, call poetry.
Ten women with a tenth of Eyre’s courage and mettle, working together, could rearrange the madhouse we call the world into a paradise.
Go see Jane Eyre if you want to relearn how pathetic, petty, impotent, simple, tepid, empty, shallow, and alone your own experience of love has been.