What makes this one the BEST version of Jane Eyre? Well, it is so very, very faithful to the book. If you LOVE the book, if you love Bronte's writing, her dialogue, her pacing, her characterization, etc., then this one could hardly disappoint. There isn't as much interpretation going on, there aren't as many liberties taken with the story, the characters, the dialogue, the scenes. For better or worse. (I admit that some (but by no means all) of the added scenes in the 2006 adaptation were lovely, were faithful in spirit to the original novel, but they still weren't exactly in the book.)
It does help that this adaptation is over five hours in length!!! 311 wonderful minutes; 11 episodes of 28 or 29 minutes apiece. Because it is so long--the perfect length in my opinion--nothing felt rushed, nothing was left out for time, nothing left unexplored. Time could be spent on her childhood, her school years, even her time as a teacher at Lowood while she's waiting to hear a reply to her advertisement. Time could be spent at Thornfield Hall; viewers get a real chance to get to know Mrs. Fairfax and Adele, a chance to be spooked by Grace Poole. And then, of course, there is the arrival of Mr. Rochester.
While this adaptation isn't the absolute best at capturing the gothic ambiance, it did an adequate job at presenting things as they were: the incidences leading up to the big reveal. I personally feel that this adaptation--the 1983 one--is best at capturing what happens after the big reveal. Most make the mistake of going completely, completely over the top and to all extremes. Read the scene(s) in the book after watching some of the other adaptations and you'll see what I mean. But this one gets it just right. You can see the pain, the heartbreak, the sorrow, the regret, the tenderness, the torture.
I thought the film did a good job with Jane's cousins as well. They truly captured the hideousness of St. John Rivers!!! In some versions you merely get that he was not the one, or not the one for her, but that he wasn't a bad sort of guy. That he was capable of making someone happy, not just Jane. In this one, his views on marriage, on women, on love, on duty, on relationships was so horrid, so horrible, so offensive that it was EASY to see why he's not husband material. ("God and nature meant you for a missionary's wife. You are formed for labor, not for love. I claim you. Not for my pleasure but for my sovereign service." And if that wasn't enough...."Jane, you are docile, disinterested, faithful, and courageous. Very gentle and heroic.") Enjoyed her (unspoken) commentary on his proposal! And I loved, LOVED, loved her spoken rejection!
And I loved the ending!!!!
After the "Wedding,"
Jane With Her Cousins, Receiving Her Inheritance, the other "proposal"
Fan Music Video for Jane Eyre
Have you seen this adaptation? What did you think of it? What is your favorite adaptation? Are you willing to watch other adaptations?
Watch Jane Eyre
- If you're a fan of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
- If you're a fan of romantic, dramatic, mysterious movies
- If you're a fan of Timothy Dalton
- If you're a fan of period dramas