It's not merely because much of the new version of 'Jane Eyre' is shrouded in shadows, but it seems like film adaptations of classic literary works are a little bit like (of all things) glow sticks: in their original form they already possess all of the materials needed to be interesting, or if you'll pardon the pun, brilliant, but they need to be sort of broken or cracked open in order to unlock the emotion that gives them resonance. Remarkably, in Cary Fukunaga's interpretation of the Charlotte Bronte classic, you can almost see the text exploding with energy as the actors bring it to life -- which is why even audiences disinclined to embrace period pictures or laborious literary adaptations will find themselves enchanted, even perhaps swooning in 'Jane Eyre.'

Mia Wasikowska plays Jane, a curious and fearless orphan who is sent off to a strict religious school to break her of the independence that was deliberately misdiagnosed as insolence by her adoptive mother, Mrs. Reed (Sally Hawkins). Suffering the loss of a friend during the early days of her matriculation, she grows up experiencing nothing but solitude and loss, but endures long enough to procure a job as governess to the French daughter of Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender), a handsome but restless landowner. Because of her own febrile intelligence, she soon captures Rochester's attention, and the two find themselves in a furtive but unspoken courtship. But when Rochester simultaneously begins to entertain the attention of a local girl, Miss Ingram (Imogen Poots), Jane is forced to decide whether her continued independence is worth the cost of losing the man she has grown to love.