One of the men who plotted to assassinate President Lincoln remained in hiding, while his mother was tried for the crime. An inexperienced attorney (what else?) was appointed to defend her. Despite overwhelmingly unfair circumstances, he (James McAvoy) staunchly fights for her innocence. While all the performances are strong and the period art direction/cinematography is gorgeous, director Robert Redford somehow slacked on the emotional impact. As a result, this is a beautifully wrought history lesson.
GAY ANGLE: No bare flesh or same sex fun, but Savannah’s never looked better.
This new version of the Bronte classic isn’t wildly revisionist, just quietly compelling. It follows the young woman from her early days to her more familiar position as governess for brooding Mr. Rochester. What’s different about this version is the dark, somber approach. None of that flighty Masterpiece Theatre style here. Almost everyone is pained and tortured. There’s an overcast of melancholy…even on the sunny days. However, even with the restrained pacing, it never drags. The performances and direction combine to create an enthralling experience.
GAY ANGLE: No flesh (it is Bronte, after all), but the young Jane does cuddle with her best friend in school. Even though Michael Fassbender’s supposed to be a hot new hunk, Jamie Bell’s cuter and sweeter.
Photo credit: BBC Films