Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Jane Eyre, 2006 movie

Jane Eyre with Wilson Wilson

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

June 27, 2009 Posted by | movies | , | 11 Comments

Jane Eyre, 1983 movie

Cover Image*****

Okay, this is my third Jane Eyre movie in a few month’s time and it was the best of the three.  Your comments led me to believe it would be and you were right! 

Timothy Dalton was an almost perfect Edward Rochester.  He was harsh, commanding, moody, and dark.  I could listen to that voice all day.  I said almost perfect because he was really too good looking for the role, but there are worse things than a handsome Mr. Rochester so we’ll move on.

I really liked Zelah Clarks as Jane.  She showed Jane’s strength and depth that I found lacking in the other two adaptations. 

The BBC miniseries was four hours long so it was obviously the most thorough of the movies and it was a delight to see how much more was included.  I thought it may have skimped a little on Jane’s time at Lowood School, but it allowed for richer, fuller scenes later.  The production itself seemed dated, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing since Jane Eyre wasn’t written yesterday 🙂

I will probably watch more versions, I hear the latest BBC production is great, but will need to take some time off from Jane and Edward.  I certainly don’t want to tire of them!  As a Jane Eyre fan I was not disappointed with this version and highly recommend it.

December 23, 2008 Posted by | movies | , , , , | 2 Comments

Jane Eyre, 1944 movie

Jane Eyre****

After watching the 1996 iterpretation of Jane Eyre (review here) and reading the comments I thought I’d try another version.  I watched the 1944 movie with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine and loved it!  It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was a vast improvement over the last. 

This movie contained more of the story and details in less time than the 1996 version.  There wasn’t a wasted moment and I surprised at how much they were able to show in the 96 minutes.  Her time at the school was well done; I wouldn’t want to attend the strict school.  I thought it did a good job at showing the growing relationship between Rochester and Jane.

The cast was wonderful.  Orson Welles did a good job as Mr. Rochester.  He was dark, menacing, and a commanding presence.  He may not have been old enough, but if that is my main complaint, that’s not bad.  I thought Joan Fontaine captured the spirit of Jane, if not the personality.  I was enchanted by young Jane, Peggy Ann Garner, and Adele, Margaret O’Brien.  And I was surprised to see a young Elizabeth Taylor as young Jane’s friend, Helen.  She was beautiful even at such a young age!

I also have the BBC miniseries checked out of the library and am looking forward to watching it soon.  Maybe after I’ve watched all of the different versions I can choose my dream cast!

December 10, 2008 Posted by | movies | , , , , | 4 Comments

Jane Eyre, 1996 movie

Jane EyreJane 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.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | movies | , , , | 5 Comments

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

Cover ImageFinished 3-3-08, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2006

  This is a beautifully written mystery, family study, and ghost story all wrapped up in one.  Margaret, lonely employee of her father’s bookstore and Vida, ailing best-selling author, come together for a wonderful tale that envelopes you completely.   Vida needs someone to tell her life story before she dies and she chooses Margaret, who has never before written a biography about a living person.  The friendship between the two women grows as Vida’s story is told. 

Vida draws us into a world of incest, neglect, insanity, love, murder, and jealousy.  Even as you are drawn in there is uncertainty about the truth which encourages you to keep turning the pages as fast as you can so that you can know what is real.  As Vida tells her story, we also are involved in Margaret’s life of loneliness and secrets.  The stories intertwine perfectly to make this a compelling novel.

At last the truth is revealed and all is right with the world.  My only small (very small) complaint was that the end seemed to wrap up a bit easily.  This book has been compared to Jane Eyre and Rebecca and I don’t disagree.  They feel similar although at its heart this is not a love story.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves books, words, and fans of Jane Eyre and Rebecca.

March 7, 2008 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , , , , , | Leave a comment