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Masterpiece Theatre: Jane Eyre (2007)

Ruth Wilson , Toby Stephens , Susanna White  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (659 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens, Amy Steel, Jacqueline Pilton, Anne Reid
  • Directors: Susanna White
  • Writers: Charlotte Bronte
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: WGBH Boston Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 228 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (659 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LPQ6DE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,948 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masterpiece Theatre: Jane Eyre" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After a wretched childhood, orphaned Jane Eyre yearns for new experiences. She accepts a governess position at Thornfield Hall, where she tutors a lively French girl named Adele. She soon finds herself falling in love with the brooding master of the house - the passionate Mr. Rochester. Jane gradually wins his heart, but they must overcome the dark secrets of the past before they can find happiness. When Jane saves Rochester from an eerie fire, she begins to suspect that there are many mysteries behind the walls of Thornfield Hall. Her fears are confirmed when Rochester's secret past is revealed, destroying her chance for happiness, and forcing Jane to flee Thornfield. Penniless and hungry, she finds shelter and friendship in the shape of a kind clergyman and his family. But she is soon shocked to uncover the deeply hidden truth of her own past. This lavish and sensual new version of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel is modern and moody, timeless and romantic. Starring Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester, Ruth Wilson as Jane, and Francesca Annis as Lady Ingram.

You may think the world doesn't need another adaptation of Jane Eyre--but you're wrong. This new and wonderfully lush Masterpiece Theatre version, directed by Susanna White (who directed the equally sumptuous miniseries of Bleak House starring Gillian Anderson), contrasts Jane Eyre's vivid inner life with the harshness of her outer life; both Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia) as the young Jane and newcomer Ruth Wilson express the inner vitality of the outcast orphan girl whose spirit captures the heart of the rough, charismatic landowner Mr. Rochester (Toby Stephens, Die Another Day). Stephens, it must be said, is far too conventionally handsome for the part, but he makes up for it by capturing Rochester's abrasive and mercurial temperament. (Wilson's looks are perfect; at one moment she seems awkward and homely, at another utterly luminous.) Jane Eyre is so often remade because the story is so potent; this production brings all of the novel's juice and passion to the fore, emphasizing the characters' sensual experience while staying true to the restrictions and mores of the period. All in all, exceptional. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
351 of 366 people found the following review helpful
"Masterpiece Theater" has long been a benchmark in bringing quality British TV to American viewers. With a prestigious history, some legendary programs--including "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "I, Claudius"--have found acclaim, awards, and international audiences. Of late, "Masterpiece Theater" has been showcasing some ambitious literary adaptations with mixed results. Last season's high point, and a must for any lover of film, was the flawless adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Bleak House." A triumph in every regard, and featuring Emmy nominated turns by Charles Dance and Gillian Anderson, this program should be essential viewing for those that value literate, classy and wildly entertaining TV. This season's offerings have included "To The Ends Of The Earth" (an adaptation of William Golding's seafaring trilogy--'Rites Of Passage,' 'Close Quarters' and 'Fire Down Below'), a robust new version of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre," a reimagining of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," and the swan song of Helen Mirren's Jane Tennison in "Prime Suspect 7."

What can one say about "Jane Eyre" that hasn't been said before? Being familiar with the novel and countless prior adaptations, I'll admit that I wasn't all that excited to revisit what I consider to be a very familiar tale. However, I diligently sat down to watch the latest 2 part "Masterpiece Theater" production. And, boy, am I ever glad that I did. While there are some liberties taken with the source material, that's to be expected. Anyone who envisions every adaptation of a novel to be a literal translation is denying the power of the film medium to create new and enduring art. In fact, it often annoys me when people carp on how something is different in lieu of accepting the merits of the interpretation.
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196 of 208 people found the following review helpful
For me the Timothy Dalton version could not have been bested, but I was wrong. The Dalton version,so faithful to the original novel is still excellent, though on re-viewing seems locked indoors and low-budget.

The Dalton version gave the story about 6 hours, with a substantial amount of time spent on Jane's childhood at the horrible boarding school.
Again, this was straight from the novel, but, let's face it, for those of us who know the story, we're waiting for her to grow up and meet Mr. Rochester.

Now, on to the current version. The story remains a great mixture of seething passion, frustrated hopes on both sides, and the struggle within one heroine between steely, virtuous, self-reliance, and a simple desire to be loved. Toby Stevens is younger than the hero is often portrayed, but still looks as if he's seen the world and fought against the unhappiness and cynicism that years of dissipated living can bring. He is handsome, but not pretty. Ruth Wilson's Jane is written as chaste but not priggish, lonely but eager to love, and, most especially, strong and independent, but in no way inappropriately feminist for the 19th century of the setting. If anything she's a bit more physically passionate than we've seen before, but it does make her seem more real.

The budget is high and it shows--lots of gorgeous outdoor scenes, beautiful period interiors , sumptuous gowns. Here and there there are some breaches of Victorian etiquette that don't ring quite true, and there are of course some deletions and skimping on some of the story lines,particularly with the Rivers family. However, I think once the decision was made to have this fit into 4 hours, the plot choices they made were mostly good ones.
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183 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Eyre is Divine January 7, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I thouroughly enjoyed this production on PBS. As I was poking around on Amazon to see what others thought, I noticed a few negative reviews. These negative reviews, it seems to me, can be grouped generally under one heading: So-and-so in the movie wasn't true to so-and-so in the book.

So this weekend, after seeing the production for the second time, I reread the book (I had read it in high school, but not at the level of attention it deserved). So as I read, I kept in mind the question: Is this movie version true to the book? So here are my observations:

First, Wilson and Stephens do, generally speaking, seem to match the physical descriptions of Jane and Rochester. Rochester, if memory serves, is most often described as broad-chested, with a large forehead, and stern mouth (among other things). It seemed to me that Toby Stephens fit this description within reason. Ruth Wilson also seemed to fit well as Jane. So when I was reading the book, I never had a red flag go up--in other words, at no time reading the book did I feel as though either Toby Stephens or Ruth Wilson made a counterfeit Rochester or Jane.

Some reviewers said that Stephens wasn't brooding enough. However, if you read the book, especially during Jane's first few months at Thornfield, you find Rochester to be moody, yet never missing an opportunity to keep Jane off balance, playing devil's advocate with her, and generally enjoying a good verbal sparring match that includes, yes, a spirit of playfulness. And so in this respect, I thought that Stephens captured this element of Rochester's character with great skill. You could really see that although Rochester's sprits are lifted by Jane's presence, he soon remembers the chains that bind him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent version but very long
Excellent version but very long. Two discs. This version follows the book with little deviation. I love it but only watch it when I have over three hours available for movie... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Ratethis
5.0 out of 5 stars this is by far my favorite. I have watched it over and over
Of the three DVDs I own of Jane Eyre, this is by far my favorite. I have watched it over and over, and never seem to get tired of it.
Published 17 days ago by JJC
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed watching this several times. Excellent film.
Published 1 month ago by Sandy hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best. Jane. Eyre. Ever.
Published 2 months ago by Tanya L Maney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this movie very much and I am a fan of Toby Stephens.
Published 2 months ago by Emily Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best version of Jane Eyre ever!
Published 2 months ago by Sandy Cruz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really loved this adaptation. Also, it arrived early.
Published 2 months ago by Angela S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss!
Saw this on cable and loved it so much had to buy the DVD. Outstanding!
Published 2 months ago by Maid Marian
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love this movie and had to buy it after watching ...
I just love this movie and had to buy it after watching it on public television. If you love romance stories, buy this movie!!!!!!
Published 2 months ago by Gosha
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item as described, item received earlier than expected.
Published 2 months ago by G. Collector
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Jane Eyre
These are the extras on Masterpiece Theatre: The Bronte Collection's version of Jane Eyre: director's commentary for the first & last hours, cast & crew interviews, & deleted scenes. The UK version of Jane Eyre has all of these, plus a photo gallery. An abridged Dutch... Read More
Sep 28, 2010 by nancesp |  See all 2 posts
Jane Eyre retellings etc
The novel "Becoming Jane Eyre" by Sheila Kohler is an interesting book. It imagines the composition of Jane Eyre. Kohler draws parallels between acutal events in Charlotte Bronte's life and themes and events in Jane Eyre.
Jul 31, 2010 by j9 |  See all 3 posts
about toby stephens
Toby Stephen's hair was dyed and hair extensions added for Jane Eyre. His natural color is a gorgeous shade of auburn red. Careful on that Riddle of the Sands idea. He narrates the cassette tape version for Penquin Books but someone else reads on the CDs. I have the cassettes and, you are right,... Read More
Dec 26, 2008 by Georgia Burns |  See all 7 posts
When will the BBC version be available in the US?
I emailed WGBH to ask this exact question but they haven't gotten back to me yet. One of the reviewers mentioned that a special edition DVD with extra features will be released in May but who knows whether or not that is true. I will let you know if WGBH gets back to me.
Feb 5, 2007 by helia |  See all 45 posts
Is there a Jane Eyre soundtrack for sale?
I have been looking for it too! If anyone has any information please post!
Jul 17, 2008 by Davonna Juroe |  See all 6 posts
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