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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moody, Evocative JANE EYRE
Oddly enough the Charlotte Brontė's classic novel 'Jane Eyre' has had more cinematic transitions than almost any of the old novels. The story is powerful but with the frequency of film adaptations, even the story grows tired, unless someone breathes new life into the interpretation. In this case that breath comes from director Franco Zeffirelli who has engaged Hugh...
Published on October 29, 2006 by Grady Harp

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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My least favorite adaptation of the movie
I'm a huge Jane Eyre fan (both written and film/TV) so I was very excited to see this version. William Hurt is a terrific actor and I've enjoyed his other work, so I looked forward to his portrayal of Rochester.

I enjoyed the adaptation until halfway into the movie. Then everything went horribly wrong - Jane leaves right after the failed wedding to go to...
Published on October 18, 2008 by shalliedaire


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moody, Evocative JANE EYRE, October 29, 2006
By 
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
Oddly enough the Charlotte Brontė's classic novel 'Jane Eyre' has had more cinematic transitions than almost any of the old novels. The story is powerful but with the frequency of film adaptations, even the story grows tired, unless someone breathes new life into the interpretation. In this case that breath comes from director Franco Zeffirelli who has engaged Hugh Whitemore to open the story as a screenplay. The results give a different emphasis to the story and one that for this viewer works well.

In this particular incarnation the rags to riches heroine Jane Eyre is played with subtlety by the beautiful Charlotte Gainsbourg (with Anna Paquin as the younger version) and Rochester the master of the manor is a William Hurt, playing his character more for life and flesh than the usual darkly sinister keeper of secrets. What results from the combination of cast and crew is a film that is far more a romance than a vapid mystery: the fire between Jane and Rochester is palpable and is given more space and time than the other versions which elect to dwell on the mad 'wife' upstairs finally destroyed in the fire that brings Rochester down to Jane's initial stance on the social scale.

The cinematography by David Watkin captures the period beautifully as does the musical score by Claudio Capponi and Alessio Vlad. As with all period pieces the cast of supporting characters paint the various aspects of the novel and here such luminous actors as Joan Plowright, Geraldine Chaplin, Joséphine Serre, Maria Schneider, Elle Macpherson, and John Wood among many others offer fully realized portraits of the class distinctions that ruled the era. This is a fine film version of the Brontė novel and one well worth watching repeatedly. Grady Harp, October 06
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84 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done, October 20, 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (New England, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The sets and costumes are really really great, but the highlight of this film is the truly wonderful acting on the part of William Hurt. He plays the elusive, eccentric country noble Mr. Rochester exactly the way he should be played. He's quietly passionate, sexy, and smoldering, while still exhibiting signs of being a real stuffy gentleman. Inwardly tormented, Rochester is perfect.
Charlotte Gainsbourg takes on the challenging role of the title character, petit and plain Jane Eyre. Gainsbourg's unearthly prettiness adds immeasurably to her character, but she represses some of Jane Eyre's passion that we find in the book. The chemistry between Gainsbourg and Hurt is tense and shaky - exactly how it should be.
Zeffirelli has created the best screen version of this book that I have ever seen!
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Remember, The Shadows Are As Important As The Light", February 12, 2006
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
A somewhat slow but overall rewarding version of the Bronte classic , 'Jane Eyre.' Beautifully filmed as all Franco Zeffirelli films are, we are taken on a journey of contrasts as Zeffirelli explores the darker nature of human suffering, regret and memory as played out against the lush, natural beauty of the English countryside.

William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg deliver wonderful, though rather subdued performances as the two star-crossed lovers and Anna Paquin is absolutely marvelous in her all too brief role as the young Jane Eyre.
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My least favorite adaptation of the movie, October 18, 2008
By 
shalliedaire (San Rafael, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
I'm a huge Jane Eyre fan (both written and film/TV) so I was very excited to see this version. William Hurt is a terrific actor and I've enjoyed his other work, so I looked forward to his portrayal of Rochester.

I enjoyed the adaptation until halfway into the movie. Then everything went horribly wrong - Jane leaves right after the failed wedding to go to Gateshead? The Rivers family (minus one sister, I forget if it's Diana or Mary) live at Gateshead? She met St. John when her Aunt Reed died? Why take huge liberties with the storyline that are completely untrue to the story? I'm not a Jane Eyre purist, but the William Hurt/Charlotte Gainsbourg version was just as awful as the Ciaran Hinds/Samantha Morton version.

Bottom line:

1) If you've never read Jane Eyre, I would NOT recommend seeing this version before you read the book. Actually I wouldn't recommend this version on any level.

2) If you've never seen a film/TV adaptation of Jane Eyre, I'd recommend starting with the Timothy Dalton/Zelah Clarke version first and move on to the Toby Stephens/Ruth Wilson version afterward. The TD/ZC version is 6 hours and does a fantastic job of keeping the integrity of the novel in tact. The TS/RW is 4 hours, takes a few liberties with the novel, but the two leads' performances are absolutely electric and this version is very well done. Enjoy!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zeffirelli's beautiful Jane Eyre, January 1, 2006
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
This is a film that I continue to go back to over & over. The last time I watched it, I had just finished reading Charlotte Bronte's book (again). The movie is faithful to the *spirit* of the book - it captures the essence of Jane's upbringing, her stoicism, & the troubled romance with Mr. Rochester.

Why do I like it?

* It's a good adaptation of the book. (For Bronte fans, I stress the word adaptation.) It doesn't get bogged down representing all the details of the book (for example, St John Rivers is a minor character in the film), but does capture the spirit and the essence of the book.

* It's got a great cast. Charlotte Gainsbourg is a "dead ringer" for Jane Eyre/Charlotte Bronte - if you're a fan of the book, this is the person who is in your imagination. Geraldline Chaplin, Amanda Root, Anna Paquin (the young Jane Eyre), William Hurt and Joan Plowright are perfectly cast. Even Elle MacPherson is ably cast.

* Zeffirelli's films are a visual treat - the landscape, the costumes, the scene setting. My favorite scene is when they morph the story from young Jane to grown Jane. Another favorite is when William Hurt first sees her and falls from his horse. The sweeping shots of the countryside are breathtaking.

* The music (I think it's original) is wonderful too!

Why would anyone else like it?

* My husband & I just watched it with my mother-in-law over the holidays. My mother-in-law is a huge devotee of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and the older film versions (think Greer Garson) of their books. Despite her preference for older films, she couldn't find fault with the film (I consider this a huge victory). Even my husband liked it and he is neither a devotee of older films or classic romantic English novels. He hasn't read Jane Eyre.

* The DVD has extra features that are interesting, e.g., interviews with Joan Plowright (who grew up near the Brontes' parsonage) and with Franco Zeffirelli which provide additional background on Jane Eyre and the film.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pathetic, April 17, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
I was expecting great things from this film. The actors are terrific, and the novel has been my favorite since childhood. Wow - was I ever disappointed! This is a pathetic, mutilated version of one of the best novels of all time. If given the choice of staring at a wall or watching this film, I'd take the wall in a heartbeat. If you are even remotely a fan of Charlotte Bronte or her novel, do yourself a favor and rent the 1980's BBC version with Timothy Dalton, instead.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth the time, March 7, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] (VHS Tape)
i am a big fan of Jane Eyre. this movie barely followed the book and didn't even seem like the events could and would possible happen. my advise is to not waste your time watching this movie. if you want to see i good Jane Erye movie watch the one with Timothy Dalton. that one is the best by far.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable remake of Brontė's classic romance!, July 5, 2001
By 
"chrissiey57" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I, too, must disagree with many of the reviewers who do not like this film. For me, this version of JANE EYRE works magic-in a quietly intoxicating sort of way. Case in point: I've been haunted (pleasantly) by its breath-taking scenery shots and its beautiful background music. I've watched this film three times since I bought the tape-and I bought it just two days ago!!
I must confess that I did not take to Gainsbourg's Jane immediately; I found her a bit too reserved. But cold and stony, as some people find her to be? Never, for I warmed up to her soon enough: I was drawn by her serene manners, her soft-spoken and intelligent words, and her somewhat otherworldly beauty. And surely William Hurt's Mr. Rochester would easily fall in love with a woman of such qualities, no? This is why I must strongly object to the observation that there is no chemistry between Gainsbourg and Hurt. I see plenty to love in both Gainsbourg's and Hurt's characters. Why, the scene where Mr. Rochester says good-night & shakes hands with Jane after the "midnight fire" incident positively sizzles!!! (But doesn't EVERY scene where the two appear together feel so?) This is not a dramatic film in which grand passion oozes from every scene, but it's not over-the-top, either. This version of JANE EYRE just sort of draws you patiently and slowly, and it gets better and better upon every re-viewing. I highly recommend it!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Serious casting problems, March 13, 2011
By 
Persimmon (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
I adore Jane Eyre, and have been watching every adaptation I can get my hands on; the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre miniseries with Ruth Wilson is the best I've found so far, though the 1983 BBC version is more faithful to the book (almost slavishly so).

This one is at the bottom of the heap. There are a few problems, but the most glaring is that William Hurt is profoundly miscast as Rochester. Hurt is a great actor, but his cerebral, detached style is inappropriate for the role of a virile, passionate, angry Byronic hero. Add this to the facts that a) Charlotte Gainsbourg, although she looks the part of Jane perfectly (you can see both "plain" and "unearthly" in her face), plays all of her character's outward demureness but none of her emotional restlessness or wit, and b) almost all of the couple's lighter, playful moments have been excluded in favor of inexplicable bickering that is not original to the book, and you have a complete lack of chemistry between the two leads. This would be fatal to the film even if it got everything else right. And it doesn't: it exaggerates some aspects of the story, like Jane's childhood rebelliousness, so that the viewer feels beaten over the head with the director's themes; severely curtails major plot points, e.g. St. John Rivers, such that it's unclear why the screenwriter bothered to include them at all; and wrongheadedly eliminates some of the best scenes in the book (I can forgive the exclusion of the "gypsy woman" scene, as I think that it's unfilmable as written -- who wants to see Jane Eyre as Lois Lane? -- but leaving out Rochester's explanation to Jane after the the existence of his wife is revealed is hugely detrimental to the emotional resonance of the movie. And lightning tree! I ask you, why would you leave lightning tree out of a Gothic romance? Why?). In general, it seems as though Zeffirelli was trying to focus on the quieter, more psychological aspects of the novel. Unfortunately, in doing so he cut out all of the humor, sharpness, fury, and ardor that not only characterize Brontė's book, but are indispensable to its success.

I rented this because I had just watched the first part of the Masterpiece Theatre miniseries mentioned above, and I knew that I would have to wait a couple of days for Netflix to send me the second part. I was jonesing for a dramatization of the second half, but having seen this, I wish I'd resisted the temptation. This version is ill-conceived, clumsy, and unforgivably boring.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally disappointing., December 3, 2008
By 
Johanna (Knoxville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre (DVD)
(Spoiler alert) I recently read "Jane Eyre" and was very excited about watching the several film adaptations of this most wonderful book. I am very disappointed with this version of the film (Hurt & Gainesbourg), so much so that I have not yet tried to watch any of the others. Having read the book so near to the time that I watched the film, I was aghast that so much of the story was ignored! Jane's time spent between leaving Thornfield and going back to Mr. Rochester was COMPLETELY skipped over. Much of her childhood was likewise left out. The cruelty that Jane experienced at the hands of her aunt and cousins was only briefly touched upon, and hardly any attention was given to the relationships she cultivated at Lowood School. Perhaps most diappointing, the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester was hardly developed at all. There were no moments when the viewer felt an unspoken yearning or tension between them that would foreshadow their union. There was simply nothing going on between the two characters that would hint at love or interest in each other, making the proposal scene (a very beautiful scene in the book!) very, very lackluster. Furthermore, the actors, in my opinion, did not truly portray the characters as they were written. While young Anna Paquin is quite talented, I don't feel that she gave the best portrayal of young Jane (this is probably the fault of those who counseled the actress), because she portrayed Jane as insolent, sullen, and mouthy. The child Jane in the book is none of those things. Charlotte Gainesbourg gave a fair performance as the adult Jane. But, as much as I admire William Hurt's performances in his countless other roles, he was simply NOT Mr. Rochester. Hurt displayed none of the dark brooding and sharp wit that the Mr. Rochester in the book displayed. This adaptation is very disappointing, and I would urge those who love the story to choose another means in which to waste 2 hours.
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Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre by Franco Zeffirelli
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