Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Jane Eyre

Frocktalkers, honestly, this is the best movie I’ve seen all year. Beyond the stunning, beautifully realized costumes, the performances are top notch, and this classic story will melt your heart!!!

Charlotte Brontë’s work comes alive in this film – titular character Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) comes to work as a governess for the enigmatic and gruff Rochester (the heart-stopping Michael Fassbender). It’s a love story, it’s a mystery, and it is drop dead gorgeous.

Every fabric used in this film felt authentic and real. The cuts of the garments (especially the men’s coats and jackets) were perfectly executed. The color palette was tightly controlled and marvelously effective. For the first time in a long time, I could just sit back and watch the film – not being distracted by anachronisms or daft hair, makeup, or costume choices.

This film reminded me of the 1980s Merchant Ivory films (designed by Jenny Beavan and John Bright) where you knew the costumes were as good as you were ever going to see, perfect and authentic as humanly possible. It’s easy to lose one’s self in a film that takes the period seriously. The details are all attended to, and you can travel back in time for a few hours.

Jane Eyre is the first film I’ve seen in many years that has felt this wholly authentic. I am not going to encourage you to see the film; I will URGE, BEG, and FORCE you to see the film. Stream it on iTunes. Put it in your Netflix queue. Buy it on Amazon. Do whatever you have to do. It’s a great movie for snuggling up over the holidays, and you will not be disappointed.

I have word in to the exceedingly talented costume designer Michael O’Connor (The Duchess), so hopefully I will have an interview for you as a New Year’s present. In the meantime, take a look at these sites for more information and details about the film:

Focus Features site includes video production notes, pictures, video profiles of the actors (including his hotness, Michael Fassbender), photos from the premiere, etc.

Clothes on Film a very nice review from our friend Chris Laverty at Clothesonfilm.com

Huffington Post – a very good review with some historical context.

Rotten Tomatoes a rating of over 85% fresh.

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Enjoy the film, Frocktalkers! I will be back with more, soon!

– KMB

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