Jane Eyre is an orphan cast out as a young girl by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and sent to be raised in a harsh charity school for girls. There she learns to be come a teacher and eventually seeks employment outside the school. Her advertisement is answered by the housekeeper of Thornfield Hall, Mrs. Fairfax.
Plenty to Like, Plenty to Dislike
It’s an especially fun movie from a director and cast who are clearly having a good time allowing themselves to let loose.
The film makes a home in your brain and the only cure is to see it again.
The best films of this genre always show a path and provide a takeaway for being a better person.
Jane Eyre is an orphan cast out as a young girl by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and sent to be raised in a harsh charity school for girls. There she learns to become a teacher and eventually seeks employment outside the school. Her advertisement is answered by the housekeeper of Thornfield Hall, Mrs. Fairfax.I went in to this with no real knowledge of the story. I don't believe I ever read "Jane Eyre", and I don't recall ever seeing another film version. My suspicion is that it would be very difficult for another version to stand up. Charlotte Gainsbourg is mesmerizing and really sells the film with every frame.Some have said that the role of Rochester was miscast. Perhaps, but not necessarily. There is nothing wrong with ow he is portrayed here. Maybe you want more brooding or more introspection, but come on... this is a subtle, complex character and he is impressive in this film.
After viewing this adaptation of Jane Eyre, I'm going to go with my gut and label it as the "subdued" version. I have to say that it wasn't wholly bad as I anticipated (after reading reviews.) There are a few fans that will stick up for this one. I believe the charm they see in this film is perhaps relatable to them? Jane and Edward were more stoic, quiet and less passionate in this movie then the characters are in the book. However, as my sister stated (who did like this version) and I've have to agree, Jane was well suited for this Edward, despite coming across as a depressed drunk at times (Edward, not Jane). The lack of passion for me is what brought this movie down. I don't think William Hurt was fully suit to play Edward, but then I'd have to say Charlotte wouldn't make a good Jane paired with the other Edwards. The beginning of the film was good though. I was impressed with how it was handled and how much was kept in the story. (unrelated but I got a kick out of seeing actors and actress from other movies, Persuasion in particular).
With style, charm, and humor to spare, this film was among the top echelon of movies from 1996. The characters in this film have a lot of depth, and that makes all the difference. In the end, the audience gets a casserole of film elements and little of the satisfaction that comes from watching these types of movies. This is a story about a place most people might not be able to conceive. It is a powerful film, but I doubt I will ever want to watch it again. Many scenes do not feel believable, but great performances help to enhance this amazing story. All the characters struggle against a system that has perpetuated falsehoods -- many falsehoods. 7/10.
A quick scan on IMDb.com turns up more than two dozen screen versions of Bronte's classic Jane Eyre. This version, with a subdued William Hurt as Mr. Rochester, and a startling, demure Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane Eyre, is among those that are worth watching a second time. If you're reading this, you may think you know the story, and how it ends. Let's agree on this: from our modern vantage point, if we discovered a previously unknown Charlotte Bronte novel, I don't think it would be difficult to guess the general storyline and character development. Not to say that this makes Bronte uninteresting or unexceptional—I think you can best appreciate and enjoy Bronte if you know what you're getting into, if you can bring an openness to deeply personal, individual human drama to the reading. Any movie version is an abbreviation. I think this one brings Bronte's protagonists to life in a steadily stronger crescendo of the tragic and fortuitous experiences of two lives that are, at first, on grimly divergent paths, and, finally, reach a happy convergence that literally strikes the sparks of love in the ashes of Thornfield Hall. For me, the romance of Jane Eyre is, of course, the storybook love of Edward, master of Thornfield, and Jane, the governess, but the love story ebbs and flows, and, for me, there is a concurrent theme that is equally satisfying. I am drawn to the stark reality of the separate lives of Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre, and their gritty willingness to endure that reality, even as they yearn and yearn for the improbably better lives that they can profoundly imagine. Right up to very end, they don't know how it's going to turn out. Read more on my blogs: Barley Literate and History: Bottom Lines