This is the third version of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre that I have seen in the last three years. All three have been very good and there is enough mystery, convolution, cruelty and love in the story that I was quite emotionally affected by this version. In the olden days, Britain had religious fundamentalists and today America has fundamentalist Southern Baptists. Both groups can be quite scary, strict, and cruel.
Some books should not be movies, and Jane Eyre is Exhibit A. Look at VPL's list of 13 DVDs, and note the best versions are not movies but mini-series, which give the story a chance to stretch (although...why the Michael Jayston hate? Arguably, his version is closest to the book.) The 2003 version has a near-ideal cast and some daring moments, but can't overcome the story compression, not to mention clunky, over-explicit dialogue and dull direction. Pity. Special to William Hurt haters: yes, he's American, and, horrors! blond. But he captures Rochester's whiny, manipulative side, which other actors are scared to show.
As an FYI, this film was released in 1996 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Eyre_(1996_film)) and is not the one that was recently in theatres.
It seems to be missing some elements between the two.
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