Based on the book by Daphne du Maurier
Version: 2014; starring Jessica Brown-Findlay
Genre: classic; suspense; costume drama
Plot Summary: [from imdB.com:] “A young woman moves in with her aunt and uncle and soon discovers unsavory happenings in her new home.”
My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not by comparing it to that novel. Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book. “Jamaica Inn” has been made into a movie at least three times (Alfred Hitchock- 1934; 1983, starring Jane Seymour; current review) and I have seen all three. This is not because I especially love the story, but because I was usually bored with nothing else particularly appealing to watch. The 2014 caught my attention because of Jessica Brown-Findlay playing the lead character. I have to say that out of all three, this most recent version is my preferred version.
For those who may not be aware, the story is very dark and tense. What I liked about this movie was the way it kept it tight and the viewer guessing; there is also a lot of texture, wind, and weather. Watch it for the moody atmosphere if nothing else. But the acting is pretty well done, and there is interesting cinematography, too.
Unfortunately, there is a pretty racy scene between Mary and love interest Jem. There is some amount of foul language as well (lots of rough and rowdy fellows and drunken tavern scenes). An attempted assault is made on Mary, but her uncle defends her. There are several scenes of murder and some gore. Obviously, this film is not for sensitive folks.
SPOILER: I often get weary of the church as being painted as the villains in movies. However, if this storyline has started to lose its shock-and-awe value it is because we live in an age where #metoo has reared its ugly head within the church and the reality is that one mustn’t take even religious leaders for granted. Even so, we have a pervading sense that this is not the way it is supposed to be—injust, mercy-less and hypocritical so-called “Christians.” It is not supposed to be this way because Jesus Christ was not this way and deep down the world recognizes the contradiction. The Bible says that the man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 1:4-6) Rev. Davy appeared to be living God’s commands, yet his life was full of darkness, control, and death. Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. But whoever is truly a Christ-follower lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. END OF SPOILER.
Is Jamaica Inn worth the watch? I think it can be thoughtfully viewed and learned from. Some themes to talk over include addiction, codependency, fear and control. How does each character’s choices come back to haunt them in the end? It makes for interesting dialogue. But it’s certainly not a family movie.