Masterpiece Theatre: Jane Eyre
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I cannot watch it on ANY of my players or my computer...says the DVD is not compatible...am really disappointed as I wanted to see this so badly
I guess since it came from... Read more
Best rendition yet and has not so far, in my opinion, been topped. The 2011 rendition directed by Cary Fukunaga is in my mind a weak counterpart and could not even begin to... Read morePublished 19 days ago by brittlit
This is my favorite movie. I've seen all the Jane eyres and this is by FAR the best one!!!Published 1 month ago by Ryan
Jane Eyre is my favorite book and so far, this is my favorite movie version.Published 1 month ago by Jill Mitchell
It's such a pity this can only be obtained for a ridiculous amount of money now. I bought it back when it came out, so I fortunately didn't have to pay a fortune to buy this... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aimee Robidoux
|Topic||From this Discussion|
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