Jane Eyre has always been one of my favorite books. I think it may have been the first classic I read by choice. I love the independent Jane Eyre and the mysterious Edward Rochester and the spookiness of Thornfield. About 5 years ago they opened the musical on Broadway and I loved it. The music and cast were wonderful. I think I actually preferred the casting of the Broadway musical to that of this movie.
Anna Paquin plays young Jane Eyre who is orphaned, rejected by her aunt, and mistreated at the school for girls she is sent to live. After she is old enough she accepts the position of governess at Thornfield and is immediately drawn in by the manor, her ward, Adele, and the master of the house, Edward Rochester. Edward makes Jane jealous by bringing home a girlfriend, Blanche played by Elle McPhearson. Jane doesn’t want to believe that Edward loves her and when she does she is crushed by betrayal.
I like the setting of Thornfield in the movie. It is real and eerie. William Hurt is Edward Rochester and Charlotte Gainsbourg is Jane Eyre. They are both adequate, but not great. I do not think that William Hurt captured the brooding Mr. Rochester. Although the movie hits the major plot points of the book I think it neglected to show how Jane and Edward fell in love which is the whole point of the book!
This is the first movie adaptation of the book I’ve watched and cannot recommend it. It does make me curious to check out the other adaptations and see if they did it better.