This is my fourth movie version on Jane Eyre in 8 months! Mr. Rochester was played by Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson was Jane. I really don’t want to get into the story again – so I’ll just compare it with the other three versions I’ve watched.
I was going to start with the things I liked, but the things that come to mind first are the things that bothered me. So, let me start by saying that I did not like Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester, although he did have a nice head of hair! He was playful and flirtatious and way too accessible. Mr. Rochester is a commanding man and I didn’t get that from Stephens. Now, I’ve made my husband sit through one of the movies, parts of another, AND take me to see it on Broadway years ago. So, just to make sure I wasn’t being too judgemental I made him watch 15 minutes of this version and he said after 5 that Rochester was not serious enough. I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I thought Ruth Wilson was fine as Jane Eyre. But this whole movie felt like a slick, sexy, modern 4 hour version of the book. The production was outstanding and as a movie I really liked it, but as an interpretation of the book, not so much.
I know many people love this movie, so comment away :)
Here’s my ranking of the four that I’ve seen so far…
1. 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. I reviewed it here
2. 1944 version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. I reviewed it here
3. This 2006 version.
4. 1996 version with William hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg. I reviewed it here