Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" has been adapted for the screen more than 20 times, first in 1910 and most memorably in 1943, with Joan Fontaine as the governess and Orson Welles as her forbidding yet irresistible employer, Mr. Rochester.

Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" has been adapted for the screen more than 20 times, first in 1910 and most memorably in 1943, with Joan Fontaine as the governess and Orson Welles as her forbidding yet irresistible employer, Mr. Rochester.

Their story of love, suffering and skeletons rattling in the closet is little changed in Cary Fukunaga's new version. But one significant alteration and some fine talent work to stave off the threat of period romance stuffiness.

Screenwriter Moira Buffini starts near the end, telling most of the story in flashback. Her choice provides a more resonant view of Jane's life as one lived almost entirely under others' thumbs.

The literal view is quite something as well. Cinematographer Adriano Goldman does wonderful things here with mist and candlelight.

At the center of the frame are two actors whose natural styles play into their parts well. Michael Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds") believably links Rochester's harsh and tender extremes.

As realized by Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland"), Jane is endowed with a powerful, unguarded gaze and manner. And each brings a simmering passion that drives home the perfection of their characters' match.