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  • Wide Sargasso Sea
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Wide Sargasso Sea

48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A prequel to "Jane Eyre." An Englishman in nineteenth-century Jamaica falls into a tortured marriage with a native Creole. When the woman begins to go mad, her husband takes her back to his gothic estate in England, where he locks her in the attic.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Karina Lombard, Nathaniel Parker, Rachel Ward, Michael York, Martine Beswick
  • Directors: John Duigan
  • Writers: Jan Sharp, Carole Angier, Charlotte Brontë, Jean Rhys
  • Producers: Jan Sharp, Karen Koch, Sara Risher
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000D0YXV
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wide Sargasso Sea" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Aleta M. Daley on June 3, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
When "The Wide Sargasso Sea" was first released in New York, it had received excellent reviews, an R rating and very little attention. I just happened to see a small advertisement in the New York Times one day. It was the title alone that intrigued me. From the moment the film began with that sensual and evocative soundtrack, I sensed we were in for something truly different and original.
"The Wide Sargasso Sea" is a brilliant collaboration of a gifted director, John Duigan, a strong, well paced screenplay and actors who are sublimely suited to their roles. Set in 19th century Jamaica,the screenplay transforms a fairly literal story by Jean Rhys into a rich and thrilling drama, which is driven as much by the individual conflicts and misunderstandings as it is by the cultural. "The Wide Sargasso Sea" is one of the few films that successfully combines the erotic with the lyrical;that depicts the complexity of human passion without becoming either literal or pedestrian.
With its lush, exotic setting,it is easy to become enmeshed in the endlessly subtle and colorful aspects of this film from the psychological to the sociological, individual difference to social conventions. But the story of Antoinette and Edward is the story of the delicate and precarious balance between love and knowledge, intimacy and trust, choice and destiny. So that once seeing "The Wide Sargasso Sea", you will have to see it again.
Years later I bought the VHS and found that "The Wide Sargasso Sea" is one of those superb films that stands the test of time. If only, the producers had recorded the soundtrack with music by Stuart Copeland and some wonderfully original, electronic interpretations of classical string quartets. Why didn't they?
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is quite faithful to the tone and flow of the novel, which is now recognized as one of the great novels of the 20th century. I have been living in the Caribbean for the past year, and by doing so have more than ever begun to recognize the genius of this film. The film has a haunting quantity, and one can just feel the humid and seething sensuality of the place. The casting is wonderful, and the heroine is is a casting gem. She truly captures the vulnerability, possessiveness, and tragic qualities of Rhys' character. There really is no film that I know of that better captures the sense of the Caribbean as it was in the 18th/19th century better than this. A must see for those interested in the period, or the background to Jane Eyre.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on January 13, 2007
Format: DVD
Many reviewers here did not like this, but I found it quite interesting. You get the young Rochester, and this time around his pre-crazy wife is shown completely sympathetically, like a victim of his insensitivity rather than the curse hidden away (that he had to bear due to fate alone). In my opinion, this adds depth to the characters. It is easy, of course, to interpret her insanity as inevitable, but I saw it as a role that was created for her in the marriage, and it didn't need to be that way - Rochester allowed it to happen, even participated in it, and so bears some responsibility; he then abandons her once a better life-style opportunity arises. Also, the film stands very well on its own; it was only after I saw it that I realized it was the characters from Bronte. The acting is very good, particularly Lombard.

Warmly recommended.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. VINE VOICE on June 28, 2006
Format: DVD
There's lots of passion in Wide Sargasso Sea THE BOOK, but it's mostly emotional. It's an extremely multi-layered novel and the work of a true master. The film on the other hand is just your classic, bad 1990s film, beautiful to look at, with lots of skin, languid copulation, heaving bosoms, bodice-ripping nonsense, etc and next to no substance. It has no artistic integrity whatsoever, as its shameless makers must surely know they lifted their middle finger at the spirit of the Jean Rhys novel when choosing to make the film the way they did.

I was unable to feel empathy for both the lead character. The much touted erotic scenes were not developed to what they lead to believe, and it also lacked much enthusiasm. They were incomplete and contributed little, if anything, to the plot. The viewer only gets a glimpse of the passion that supposedly exists between Edward and Antoinette. Therefore, they should have either gone all the way, tastefully (no pun intended), or have left those scenes out entirely.

Now with regards to the plot of this film there were enormous holes, which perhaps could be rectified by reading the book. But for those who haven't read the book, there should be enough information in the film itself to keep the reader afloat. From the start it was unclear what was really going on with this family (despite the narration). Why did the ex-slaves keep laughing? (Something vaguely explained in the movie, though apparently fully explained in the book). Why didn't the parrot fly away? What made the mother go nuts? At no point in the movie were Mr. Rochester's "issues", as it were, fully explained.
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