Posted March 20, 2011 by William Dunmyer in Uncategorized

Jane Eyre: Another Casualty of Poor Editing

Just a couple of weeks ago, I lamented the sleep-inducing editing job that killed Lee Chang-dong’s new film, “Poetry.” Lo and behold, the very next film I see is also seriously weakened by a talentless editor. That film is Cary Fukunaga’s new adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.”

It breaks a cinephile’s heart to see yet another film poorly handled by an editor. When will this stop? We have so many talented directors today who keep turning their films over to editors who have no idea what they’re doing. Adding to the insanity is the fact that America’s top critics remain silent on the issue. Am I the only cinephile left in America who even notices editing and understands the essential role it plays in bringing films to life? When every scene is five times longer than it needs to be, it’s almost impossible to remain engaged with a film after about a half-hour.
There is much to enjoy in the film, however. Cary Fukunaga is a great new director whose last film, “Sin Nombre,” was one of the treasures of 2009. It’s great to see him continuing to develop his craft. Let’s hope that this experience with “Jane Eyre” teaches him a lesson about the importance of choosing his editor carefully.

Fukunaga’s approach is highly austere, which I appreciate. There’s a lot of humor in the verbal jousting between Jane and Rochester, but neither actor ever laughs. Sometimes the austerity becomes overly stiff, but for the most part Fukunaga’s under-stated approach is a delight. Mia Wasikowska, coming off her big-time successes with “The Kids Are All Right” and “Alice in Wonderland,” plays Jane with an emphasis on quiet dignity, intelligence, and plain looks. [unfinished]

William Dunmyer

William Dunmyer is a lifelong cinephile who fell in love with movies at about the age of 5. He lives in New York City.