Jane Eyre – Movie 1996

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Here we go again!  I watched another Jane Eyre movie adaptation last night.  This one stars William Hurt as Mr. Rochester and Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane.  It can be difficult to compare the different movie adaptations to one another.  Where one is weak in a particular area, another is strong and vice versa.  I’ll start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this rendition.

This movie devotes a much larger part to Jane’s childhood and really establishes her character before she enters adulthood.  We can see from the beginning that Jane has spunk and thinks for herself.  You’ll find yourself rooting for her and hopeful for a better future as she embarks on a new chapter in life when she leaves Lowood School.

I believe that Hurt’s portrayal of Mr. Rochester is my absolute favorite of all those I’ve seen.  His acting is superb–there’s nothing forced or awkward about it.  His Mr. Rochester is moody, teasing, tortured, quite likable, and totally mesmerized by Jane.  It is easy to believe that he has finally found a woman whom he respects, admires, and recognizes for the superior character that she is.

Gainsbourg does a great job of finding that careful balance between the quiet and reserved Jane, and the plainspoken and independent Jane.  There are scenes where she is quite reserved, and others where her affection and other emotions shine through.  It’s a tough character to play and I think she did well.

As far as Jane and Rochester go, I think the actors had the necessary chemistry to make the love interest believable.  The garden scene was very good, with both showing the proper emotions to convince viewers.

This version of the movie struck me as having very strong supporting characters.  The young Jane (Anna Paquin), Aunt Reed (Fiona Shaw), Mr. Brocklehurst (John Wood), Mrs. Fairfax (Joan Plowright), and even Adele were all played very well.  They added a bit of extra sparkle to the movie with their great acting.

The only real criticism I have for this version is that they took a lot of free license with the part of the story that concerns Jane’s removal from Thornfield Hall.  Jane doesn’t experience quite the privations that she does in the book.  Also, St. John’s character is altered quite a lot, and he only has one sister in this version.  I’m sure they wanted to simplify this part of the story because they focused more on her childhood, but I miss it.

I think you’ll enjoy this movie a lot if you’re a fan of Jane Eyre.  It is a very compelling love story, which is really what the book is all about.  They got that part right!

Rated: PG

Rating: 5 Stars


Until next time…





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