Jane Eyre

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Jane Eyre Movie Poster Image
Drama based on classic novel is moody, complex.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 115 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's take-away is that, yes, life can be chillingly, relentlessly difficult, but you have a choice: You can let it defeat you or embolden you. Also, that true love finds its way.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jane herself is a determined young lady, but for the most part, women and children are treated like chattel in the movie's 19th century setting. It’s very difficult for women like Jane to find someone who will treat them as equals. It’s disheartening to see how men (and other women) approach her and behave toward her; some are dismissive, and others are heartless -- but at least one man is prepared to buck conventions and see her as an equal.

Violence

A woman lunges at a man with brute force; he and others have to hold her down. A teenage boy hits a young girl with a book. A headmaster pretty much invites a young girl’s classmates to shun her for supposedly having misbehaved; he humiliates her in public. Talk of how a character commits suicide (jumping to her death).

Sex

Passionate embraces and kissing between a young woman and her older male employer. Images (relatively brief) of a painting of a fully naked woman.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Era-accurate social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jane Eyre is a haunting romantic drama based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel. It doesn't have any strong sexual content (kissing/embracing is as steamy as it gets), foul language, or graphic violence, but the story at its core is still quite adult. The tale of a young governess -- a role that, in the 19th century, was neither seen as a servant nor as lady of the house, which made for a difficult situation in a class-based society -- who falls in love with her mysterious employer might seem tame by today's standards, but it’s filled with complexities. The film is often somber and sometimes spooky, and some scenes depicting how wayward children were treated in those days may seem downright cruel.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykhan2705 June 27, 2011

a nice movie, worth watching.

Raised by her aunt Sarah (Sally Hawkins) after her parents die of typhus, young Jane Eyre (Amelia Clarkson) is later shipped off to a stark boarding school as t... Continue reading
Adult Written bybill colins August 22, 2011

Wonderful movie

My girls 9,10 and 16 adored this film. The speech and manner of this period piece captivated them. A story of love to enchant and old fashioned thinking prompte... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybananalover March 16, 2011

the book is better

the book is better but this movie is still awesome!
Teen, 16 years old Written byawesomenesss June 16, 2014
ok movie I read the book nothing like the movie. there is one scene where he beets and shoots a horse in the head for tripping in a race.

What's the story?

Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska), an orphan with an abusive childhood, grows up to become a governess at Thornfield Hall. There she falls in love with the dark, brooding master of the house, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). When strange occurrences at the house cause Jane to uncover Mr. Rochester's terrible secret, she flees Thornfield Hall and seeks refuge with a clergyman and his two sisters, unsure whether her tragic love will ever be fulfilled. 

Is it any good?

JANE EYRE does Charlotte Brontë’s novel justice -- no mean feat considering how many adaptations have come before. It’s scrupulously conceived for the screen by a director (Cary Fukunaga) with a steady hand who has infused so much feeling and power into such a murky, craggy, swoony landscape. And it's brought to life by actors who don’t simply interpret but actually dwell in their characters. Simply put, the movie leaves an indelible impression. Wasikowska is incredible; her Jane is a young lady determined not to let the cruelties thrown her way still her vibrant soul. From carriage to walk to stare, Jane is firmly rooted, ruffled only when the promise of happiness turns shaky.

Wasikowska shares loads of chemistry with Fassbender, whose Rochester is as vital in the present day as he was in the 19th century -- never mind the period dress and formal language. Dame Judi Dench and the rest of the cast are equally strong. Fukunaga favors a gothic approach, and it serves the story well. Complicated love, after all, can be forbidding. Despite a long-ish run time and some small literary liberties, ultimately Jane Eyre feels like it’s unspooling as it should and is a happy reminder that, yes, they do sometimes (if rarely) make them like they used to.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship at the core of the story. Is Jane and Rochester's romance right or wrong? How do you think today's society would react to a similar relationship?

  • What is the movie saying about how women and children were treated in the 19th century? Which characters can be considered positive role models?

  • If you've read the book the movie is based on, which do you prefer? Why? If you haven't read the book, does the film make you want to?

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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