Of all the versions of Jane Eyre, this one seems to evoke the most differing reactions from people who've watched it. I happen to be one of those who really enjoyed this adaptation, and adaptation it is. It is true that chunks of the book have been left out or slightly altered in parts, but as this is a film, there is a limit to what can be included. Approaching it as a film rather than a screen-book, I found the overall atmosphere of the novel to be faithfully represented. The differences in Jane and Mr Rochster's social status is always underlying, yet the actors manage to convincingly portray the narrowing of that gap as they grow closer to each other.
Unlike many who dislike Hurt's Rochester, I found him to be excellent. With minimal melodrama or unnecessary posturing, he managed to be subtle but passionate at the same time, and perfectly portrays the lonely, sad, bitter Mr Rochester, strangely drawn to the governess, and battling his own demons in the process. As for Charlotte Gainsbourg, I thought her wonderful as the pious, intelligent, ego-less Jane Eyre. She has that 'other-worldly' quality in her persona, with oddly-stunning, awkward looks and introspective demeanour, and I found the chemistry between her and Rochester really palpable, boiling subtly under the surface.
Although it's all subjective, and I can see why some may hate it, I can only say I thought it to be excellent. With fabulous music and cinematography, plus great supporting cast, I would say definitely watch it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!