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 loved this adaptation. It was near five hours and they followed the book fairly closely and eliminated not critical parts. Ruth Wilson is terrific. I have not seen any better. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Oldbbcoach
I love this version of Jane Eyre but very disappointed by the quality of this DVD. At US$ 59.99 plus shipping and handling fees(105. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kit Kat
Brilliant performances - one of my favorite stories. Each time a new version comes out I think how can this one top the last? But they all do... This one was great!Published 2 months ago by Book Lover
Really what can you say about Jane Eyre, you'd have to have lived under a rock to not know the story. The actors were excellent so this version is better than mostPublished 2 months ago by Dixie Aguilar
At this point, over 700 people have reviewed this product on Amazon, and many have commented on its faithfulness or unfaithfulness to the book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by joe mama
My absolute favorite rendition of Jane Eyre, my favorite movie. I've watched it over and over several times.Published 3 months ago by The Princess
Excellent version of a timeless classic story. The 2 actors are my favorite among all who've played the parts.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer