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Wide Sargasso Sea (1993)

Karina Lombard , Nathaniel Parker , John Duigan  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Karina Lombard, Nathaniel Parker, Rachel Ward, Michael York, Martine Beswick
  • Directors: John Duigan
  • Writers: Jan Sharp, Carole Angier, Charlotte Brontė, 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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000D0YXV
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,948 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wide Sargasso Sea" on IMDb

Special Features


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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
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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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best film on the Caribbean June 18, 2000
By A Customer
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice prequel to Jane Eyre January 13, 2007
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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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This Rocks!!!!
Nathaniel Parker was a awesome Rochestor. Before I watched this, I always throught Nathaniel should play Mr Rochestor. Read more
Published 5 months ago by sarah stephenson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a good movie
Not a very good movie. Suppose to be the beginning of the Jane Eyre story. The girl is the wife locked in the top floor of the mansion.
Published 7 months ago by Atlas 1943
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Classic
I love this movie. It's acted well, and absolutely beautiful to watch. There are images that will stay with me forever.
Published 13 months ago by Laura M. Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated film
I always had wanted to see this film and it did not disappoint. A "prequel" to the famous 'Jane Eyre' story is an intriguing idea and this film is very well-written. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Al.K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Before Jane Eyre
This movie takes place before the events we are familier with in the story of Jane Eyre. Here you will find a most interesting history of the events that preceded that story. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Victor
I wonder if Charlotte Bronte who wrote these characters in Jane Eyre is turning over in her grave? I believe she was the only one who had the right to write about these characters,... Read more
Published on August 31, 2011 by TERE
4.0 out of 5 stars typical male behavior
she's not crazy she just wants to be loved by her husband but being male that is not good enough for him.i applauded at the ending.
Published on June 7, 2010 by Carol-ann Wabeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensual young Karina is there.
Young Karina is beautiful and fresh. The story is heavy. Feelings of the end are heavy.
Published on June 5, 2010 by Junko Ichikawa
2.0 out of 5 stars The frustrating story
While there was some classy nudity and sexual content in the story which made the movie tolerable, the story line itself was frustrating and depressing. Read more
Published on September 7, 2009 by Donald A. Boswell
4.0 out of 5 stars A prequel to Jane Eyre?
I was surprised to find a prequel to Jane Eyre and even more surprised to discover what a hot story it is. Read more
Published on June 24, 2009 by Judith G. Bronsonstem Svcs
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