Australian Council on Children and the Media

Jane Eyre

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Not recommended under 15 (Disturbing scenes and themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Jane Eyre
  • a review of Jane Eyre completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 August 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to disturbing scenes and themes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Jane Eyre
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 124 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jane Eyre is the latest movie version of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel. Set in the 19th Century, where class and gender dictates people’s future, the story tells us about the life of Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska), a young governess.

The movie begins in the middle of the novel where Jane arrives at the doorstep of clergyman St John Rivers (Jamie Bell) and his two sisters. Unconscious and soaked to the bone, Jane is taken in by the family and nursed back to health. Flashbacks to her horrific and loveless childhood and terrible time spent in an orphanage fill in the beginnings of Jane’s story.

The majority of the movie covers the time spent at Thornfield Hall, where Jane is governess to Adele, the daughter of Mr Rochester (Michael Fassbender) who is frequently absent. Despite a gruff beginning and Jane’s resistance, love blossoms between the two. Mr Rochester decides to choose love over societal expectations, asking to for Jane’s hand in marriage.  Unfortunately, a dark secret intervenes.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of parents; family breakdown; children as victims; mental illness

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • The young Jane’s teenage cousin chases her, swinging a sword around and holds it against Jane’s head. She is then is hit in the head by a book, so forcefully that her head hits a wall. We see blood trickling from her head
  • Jane jumps on a boy and starts hitting him and it takes two adult women to pull her off. She is then taken to a room and threatened with being tied down. Jane screams in fear as she believes the room is haunted. She tries to knock down the door but knocks herself unconscious.
  • A man has a deep wound on his back, his shirt is blood stained.
  • A girl is struck by her teacher with a stick across her back four times. She does not cry out but an audible whimper is heard.
  • A horse rears up on its hind legs, knocking its rider off and falling on him. He manages to get up but is limping.
  • A woman slaps a man across the face and needs to be held back as she tries to keep hitting him.
  • Jane is humiliated by teachers at the orphanage, she is forced to stand on a chair all day without food or water and the other students are told to ignore her to punish her.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

N/A

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • Much of the movie is set in dreary, foggy, dark settings. Scenes at night are made more spooky by candlelight.
  • In the buildings that are shown, there are constant mentions of ghosts and Jane is scared by noises she hears at night
  • A young girl is shown lying dead before someone covers her with a blanket
  • Scenes of people in danger from fire.
  • As Jane is walking through the woods, a bird very suddenly swoops in front of her

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A couple kiss passionately on a number of occasions
  • A girl pulls at her corset and cleavage is seen
  • A painting of a naked woman is shown

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • social alcohol drinking
  • cigarette smoking

Coarse language

Coarse language in this movie includes "bloody". There is also name calling throughout the movie including "rat" and "liar"

In a nutshell

Jane Eyre is a movie of the classic English novel. It is a period drama, often sombre and dark. It clearly highlights the differences between the rich and poor, men and women (and children), master and servants in the 19th century. Despite these differences, it also shows that true love can prevail, despite all odds.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

Determination and independence – Jane’s difficult beginnings inspire her to strive to work hard and support herself

Sticking with personal morals and values – When Mr Rochester proposes to Jane and she finds out that he is already married, even though it is so difficult for her, Jane follows her own morals and calls off their engagement

Learning from personal experience – Jane is not shown love or encouragement when she is a child but in her own work with children, she teaches with love and encouragement

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss class and gender inequality and how the situation today differs from that shown in the film.

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