Title: Jane Eyre
Collection: Masterpiece Theatre
Viewing Time: 228 minutes
After a wretched childhood, orphaned Jane Eyre yearns for new experiences. She accepts a governess position at Thornfield Hall, where she tutors a lively French girl named Adele. She soon finds herself falling in love with the brooding master of the house - the passionate Mr. Rochester. Jane gradually wins his heart, but they must overcome the dark secrets of the past before they can find happiness. When Jane saves Rochester from an eerie fire, she begins to suspect that there are many mysteries behind the walls of Thornfield Hall. Her fears are confirmed when Rochester's secret past is revealed, destroying her chance for happiness, and forcing Jane to flee Thornfield. Penniless and hungry, she finds shelter and friendship in the shape of a kind clergyman and his family. But she is soon shocked to uncover the deeply hidden truth of her own past. This lavish and sensual new version of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel is modern and moody, timeless and romantic. Starring Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester, Ruth Wilson as Jane, and Francesca Annis as Lady Ingram (amazon.com).
Jane Eyre has always been one of my favorite classic novels. I first read it my freshman year of high school and try to re-read it every few years. The first time I read the novel, I had a really hard go at it. My mom suggested I see the movie first and maybe it would help me to better understand and enjoy the novel. We rented the 1944 version starring Orson Wells and Jane Fontaine and it has always remained my favorite rendition of the movie. However, after discussing it with one of the girls at work, she gave me her Masterpiece Theater version to watch and I have to say that I absolutely loved it.
This adaptation of Jane Eyre focuses primary on Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester, a relationship that tends to be brushed over sometimes, with many adaptations instead focusing on Jane's horrible and cruel childhood. However, the essence of the story will always be the love story between these two main characters. I can't say enough about Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson's performances as Jane and Mr. Rochester. The chemistry that these two had on screen was absolutely marvelous and had me glued to the screen. The love story between Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre is and will always be one of the most hauntingly romantic things I have ever seen or read.
If you have ever struggled with reading Jane Eyre or feel that it's not the novel for you, I'd suggest you give watching this movie a try. It may just inspire you to pick up the novel. I know that I'll be re-reading Jane Eyre again in the next few weeks. There's nothing like losing yourself in the pages of the book, as you imagine yourself walking the hallowed halls of Thornfield.
Finally, I found myself extremely attracted to Mr Rochester in this movie. The actor playing Mr Rochester is Toby Stephens, who is best known for his role in the 2002 Jame's Bond movie Die Another Day (which I have never seen and probably never will). However, I was quite taken by his looks and his portrayal of Mr. Rochester and was truly everything I always thought Mr Rochester would be. His dark broodiness was fabulous for the role and his facial expressions, especially at the end of the movie were quite phenomenal.