Held Over: “Win Win” and “Jane Eyre”

Struggling attorney Mike Flaherty, who volunteers as a high-school wrestling coach, takes on the guardianship of an elderly client in a desperate attempt to keep his practice afloat. When the client’s teenage grandson runs away from home and shows up on his grandfather’s doorstep, Mike’s life is turned upside down as his win-win proposition turns into something much more complicated than he ever bargained for. Rich, wonderful characters and strong performances populate “Win Win”, with writer/director Thomas McCarthy continuing to emerge as a great American humanist. trailer

Director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) and cinematographer Adriano Goldman shoot Jane Eyre as if it is the offspring of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon—much of it by candlelight. The famed heather-crusted moors appear as something otherworldly, shrouded in mist and fog, and echoing ghostly voices, carried on the wind. Dario Marianelli’s score is, by turns, plaintive and tender and as menacing as the rain-lashed heath. The script, evoking not just Brontë, but also Dickens and even Cinderella, is told through the skillful use of flashbacks; it is trim and nimble, showing evidence of great compression but equally grand narrative economy.

This is easily the most spiritual of the adaptations. Fukunaga mines the Gothic horror elements of the novel better than any of his predecessors, evoking phantoms, ghouls and specters—of course, the only demons here are secrets, clamoring to get into the light. It is also the most blatantly feminist. “I wish I could have action, have a life, like a man,” Jane tells us, conjuring freedom and free will as untasted ideals. Alone and isolated in the world, she has no choice but to secure her own future as best she can. But doing so requires that she abide by a suffocating legion of rules and social mores designed to stifle her sex’s ambitions. The ability to act, without constraint or prejudice, and the capacity to think as she wills, without fear or insincerity, is Jane’s ideal. Excepted from a review by Brandon Fibbs trailer

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