To those who know me personally and/or follow my blog, this will come as no surprise: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is one of my all-time favorite novels. I’ve lost exact count of how many times I’ve read it, but I know it’s at least a dozen. I’ve also watched a few video adaptations of the story. So, I decided to review three movies/television series and a modern retelling of the story.
If you have never read Jane Eyre (shame on you!), here is a spoiler-free synopsis: When Jane Eyre’s caretaker grows weary of the young girl’s company, the caretaker sends her to boarding school where she overcomes injustice, illness, and starvation. Once Jane becomes an adult, she accepts a position at Thornfield Hall as the governess of Mr. Rochester’s ward. Jane lives happily at Thornfield until circumstances bring her the greatest challenge of all: follow her heart and lose her self-respect or sever her soul from the one she loves and seek a new position.
BBC 1973 Version ~ This is my earliest introduction to Jane Eyre. My mother and I watched it in CBS syndication when I was four years old. I enjoyed it, but the portrayal of Bertha Mason terrified me.
I recently watched this series with my mother. It is by far the most accurate adaptation; most of the script is the novel verbatim. However, it’s not the most entertaining.
Movie 1996 ~ I didn’t make it through this version. It strayed too far from the original story.
Movie 2011 ~ The most recent movie adaptation is the most entertaining and is actually my favorite. It keeps the main plot points of the story. However, the ending seems rushed.
How hard is it to find a black-haired, dark-eyed, middle-aged actor who can portray an intelligent, tormented, brooding character? In every one of these adaptations, the actress matches the description of Jane, but Mr. Rochester? Nut-brown hair with blue or hazel eyes. Really, film directors, really? With wigs and contacts, you can’t do better than that?
Jane by April Lindner ~ This retelling stays true to the plot, but Mr. Rochester is a rock star and Jane is his daughter’s nanny.
If you own a Kindle, you can download this remarkable story free by clicking here. Those who prefer an actual book can find many inexpensive, new and used copies of the novel.
As for the video adaptations, the movies should be available via streaming services (Amazon, Netflix, etc.) and video rental stores. Good luck finding an actual copy of the BBC 1973 version (it’s on YouTube). If you find it, it’s definitely worth your money!
Until the next post . . . keep smiling!