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Here is the most recent film adaptation of Jane Eyre that I have watched. This one is quite long, as it was originally a TV mini-series. It’s kind of a plus that it’s so long though, because it gives more time for the story to be fully developed.
Toby Stephens stars as Mr. Rochester and Ruth Wilson as Jane Eyre. I think they are perfect for their parts–Rochester a bit weathered and surly but still magnetic; Jane young and plain, but attractive nonetheless.
There are two aspects to this rendition that will be glaringly obvious to Jane Eyre fans. They took a lot of free license with the dialogue, and they capitalized on the gothic aspects of the story. In regards to dialogue, there are countless lines (sometimes almost entire conversations) which have been changed from the book. I think that the changed conversations still helped establish the spark and connection between Jane and Rochester, but I believe the original dialogue did that also. I’m not sure why they changed it, unless it was to try to modernize the conversation a bit.
I was quite impressed with how well they brought gothic elements into the movie. There were plenty of spooky scenes, almost shocking images (Rochester’s bed on fire, for one), a sometimes cruel and dominating male love interest, and the young (seemingly) helpless heroine. It’s a strong element in this version that I haven’t seen in others. For that reason alone, you should check it out.
As far as acting, I think that Rochester and Jane were very good. He was sufficiently gruff and moody, and followed the book a bit better in showing his unfeeling torment of her. (I have to confess though, I think they went a bit overboard in this version with how despicable he acted towards her.)
Jane was quite interesting–both young and innocent, and wise beyond her years. She showed the proper amount of reserve, but was willing to share her mind when asked. I also enjoyed how she stood up for Adele.
Jane and Rochester have some really great chemistry in this movie. Unlike some other versions, this one does a great job of showing Jane falling in love with Rochester. It’s good to see the attachment grow on both sides. Two of my favorite scenes between them are when she asks him for leave to go visit Mrs. Reed (such fun and affection), and when Rochester tries to convince Jane to stay (the bed scene). That last scene is very intense. Finally, once they reunite at Jane’s return, this movie gives that whole episode a much more satisfying treatment than any others I’ve seen.
- Mr. Rochester says a couple of rude epithets. Nothing major, just not appropriate for kids.
- Bertha says the b-word in Spanish.
- There is a scene with Rochester’s wife Bertha that is very inappropriate. Not for young people, even though you technically can’t see anything.
Rating: 5 Stars
Until next time…
OTHER JANE EYRE POSTS:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Jane Eyre – Movie 1943
- Jane Eyre – Movie 1970
- Jane Eyre – Movie 1973
- Jane Eyre – Movie 1996
- Jane Eyre – Movie 1997
- Jane Eyre – Movie 2011
- Jane Eyre – TV Mini-Series 1983