2014 is my year to focus on Judi Dench’s movies. I’ve challenged myself to watch and review one a month. I was inspired by the actress’ performance in Philomena. I enjoyed it so much that it made me want to go back and sample as many of her best movies.
I decided to follow up the reading of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte by watching Judi Dench in one of the many movie adaptations. Ms. Dench plays the role of Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall.
In the book, Mrs. Fairfax was just one of the many characters in the novel. In this movie Mrs. Fairfax/Judi Dench is a warm and comforting person. When Jane first arrives at Thornfield Hall, the only people there are Mrs. Fairfax, the servants, and Adele, the young girl Jane is to teach. So, Mrs. Fairfax is the one to welcome and take care of Jane. Mrs. Fairfax is also a bit gossipy so Jane learns about Thornfield Hall and about some of the neighbors.
Mrs. Fairfax is the one who cautions Jane prior to almost marrying Mr. Rochester. She is also the one to greet Jane as she returns to Thornfield at the end of the story. Judi Dench plays the loving, helpful elderly woman to a T. I imagine Judi Dench to be also warm and inviting in real life.
The movie version I watched was released in 2011 and directed by Cary Fuykunaga. The other stars in the movie were Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre) and Michael Fassbender (Mr. Rochester). The film was produced by Universal Films.
I like the way they mixed up the story. They started with Jane’s collapse on the doorstep of the Rivers family home. As Diana, Mary and John nursed her back to health, Jane thinks back to her life with her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and then her time at Lowood School. Finally, the story of her time at Thornfield Hall, meeting Mr. Rochester and all the subsequent events. It then focuses back on her time with the Rivers and teaching at the girl’s school. And then, finally, the conclusion of the story – the return to Thornfield Hall.
This was a well done movie. The photography was beautiful as you can see above. The visuals rounded out my reading of the story and gave me faces to go with the characters. My dvd came from the library. I was pleased to see its popularity. The library system had thirteen copies and lots of requests. Its so nice to see that the classics are still in demand.