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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive adaptation
Superbly cast; excellently photographed. This adaptation is the definitive version. The subdued passion, heartbreak and ultimate joy is caught to perfection. A 'must have' for any serious Bronte reader.
Published on 30 Jan 2006 by Tracey Drummond

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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware: plot spoilers! But an honest review
I'm glad I went with the reviews on this one. The actors are true to the story and most of the important bits are included in it when it comes to the build up of the relationship between Jane and Rochester. In all that it does, the film manages it okay(with a few story mixes to involve the Rivers.. see later).
On the down side:
It's just too short!
The...
Published on 8 July 2005 by FrancesAndrew


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware: plot spoilers! But an honest review, 8 July 2005
This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I'm glad I went with the reviews on this one. The actors are true to the story and most of the important bits are included in it when it comes to the build up of the relationship between Jane and Rochester. In all that it does, the film manages it okay(with a few story mixes to involve the Rivers.. see later).
On the down side:
It's just too short!
The story spends about a fifth of the time on Jane's time at Lowood only covering her time as a pupil and spends about ten minutes on her time with the Rivers.
This is the downfall of this film as I always find the long section that follows Jane on her tortuous journey from Thornfield to the Rivers is so painful and heart wrenching and this is completely missed out, plus the fact that she finds family is completely omitted. Again, the pain felt when she finds out about Thornfield in the village is also omitted, leaving it to the viewer to work out Rochestor is blind.
The large plot that sees Rochestor use Blanche Ingram to make Jane jealous at the house party falls completely flat. Yet it holds itself with many other great moments between the two.
What can I say to summarise?
A good film, but there are times when the book is far superior (if only they had followed it properly), and you can almost watch it without reading the book, but there are times when it woud be helpful to have read it in order to fill in the gaps.
Oh, and they missed out the "love calling" bit. Bad idea.
Watch it, but make sure you read the book. Lots.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive adaptation, 30 Jan 2006
By 
Tracey Drummond "drummondt" (Kuwait) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Superbly cast; excellently photographed. This adaptation is the definitive version. The subdued passion, heartbreak and ultimate joy is caught to perfection. A 'must have' for any serious Bronte reader.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully presented film, Jane Eyre stays in your memory, 18 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
I happen to favour this version of Jane Eyre because it is so beautifully done. The music and scenery are a treasure and enhance the tale that is so well known. We are shown some different aspects of the story so this is not a mere re-run. As with any movie based on a book, one does not have the benefit of all the fine insights set down on a page, but the movie moves along creditably, each actor giving a sensitive performance through a wide range of emotions, the joys and despair we share with them, and ultimately the serene closing of a memorable tale. This movie is a must for all romantics!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of the novel, 16 Jan 2009
This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This 1996 movie was the first adaptation of Jane Eyre that I ever watched and when I did so I was appalled by it. So much of the novel had been left out and I considered William Hurt to be terribly miscast as Rochester. Since then I have watched all the other noteworthy adaptations of the novel, the three short versions of '44, '70 and '97 and the three mini series of '73, '83 and 2006, and I have noticed that there are worse adaptations and worse Rochesters.

This is without doubt the most exquisite Jane Eyre adaptation as far as cinematography is concerned. Director Franco Zerifferelli revels in beautiful long shots of snow falling from a winter sky, of lonely Rochester standing on a rock, and of Jane looking out of the window - but he is less good at telling a story and bringing characters to life. In addition, his script merely scratches the surface of the novel by leaving out many important scenes. As a consequence the film does not show the depth and complexity of the relationship between Jane and Rochester, and sadly it does also not include the humorous side of their intercourse. There are a number of short conversations between Rochester and Jane, each of them beautifully staged, but the couple of sentences they exchange do not suffice to show the audience that they are drawn to each other. We know that they are supposed to fall in love, but we never see it actually happen. The scene in which Rochester wants to find out Jane's reaction to his dilemma by putting his case in hypothetical form before her after the wounded Mason has left the house is completely missing, and the farewell scene, the most important scene - the climax - of the novel is reduced to four sentences. Zerifferelli does not make the mistake other scriptwriters have made in substituting their own poor writing for Brontė's superb lines, neither are crucial scenes completely changed and rewritten, but he makes the less offensive but in the end similarly great mistake of simply leaving many important scenes out. What remains is just a glimpse of the novel, which does no justice to Charlotte Brontė's masterpiece.

The cast is a mixed bag: While Fiona Shaw is an excellent Mrs Reed, Anna Paquin's young Jane is more an ill-mannered, pout Lolita than a lonely little girl, longing for love. The ever-reliable Joan Plowright makes a very likable, but far too shrewd Mrs Fairfaix, and one cannot help feeling that Billie Whitelaw is supposed to play the village witch instead of plain-looking, hard-working Grace Poole. Charlotte Gainsbourgh as the grown-up heroine, however, is physically a perfect choice for playing Jane Eyre. Looking every bit like 18, thin and frail, with irregular, strong features, she comes closest to my inner vision of Jane than any other actress in that role. And during the first 15 minutes of her screen time I was enchanted by her performance. Gainsbourgh manages well to let the audience guess at the inner fire and the strong will which are hidden behind the stoic mask. But unfortunately the script never allows her to expand the more passionate and lively side of Jane's character any further. As a result of leaving out so many scenes and shortening so much of the dialogues, Gainsbourgh's portrayal of Jane must necessarily remain incomplete and therefore ultimately unsatisfactory. This is a pity, as with a better script Charlotte Gainsbourgh might have been as good a Jane as Zelah Clarke in the '83 version.

But while it is still obvious that Gainsbourgh is trying to play Jane, there is no trace whatsoever of Rochester in the character that William Hurt portrays. Hurt, who has proven himself to be a fine actor in many good movies, must have been aware that he was physically and type-wise so miscast that he did not even attempt at playing the Rochester of the novel. His Rochester, besides being blond and blue-eyed, is a soft-spoken, well-mannered nobleman, shy and quiet, slightly queer and eccentric, but basically good-natured and mild. He is so far from being irascible, moody and grim that lines referring to these traits of his character sound absolutely ridiculous. Additionally, during many moments of the movie, Hurt's facial expression leaves one wondering if he is fighting against acute attacks of the sleeping sickness. Particularly in the proposal scene he grimaces like a patient rallying from a general anaesthetic and is hardly able to keep his eyes open. If you compare his Rochester to the strong-willed and charming protagonist of the novel, simply bursting with energy and temperament, it is no wonder that many viewers are disappointed in Hurt's performance. Still, he offends me less than the Rochesters in the '70, '97 and 2006 versions and I would in general rank this Jane Eyre higher than these three other ones. Hurt obviously had the wits to recognise that he could not be the Rochester of the novel and therefore did not try to do so, whereas George C. Scott, Ciaràn Hinds and Toby Stephens thought they could, but failed miserably, and I'd rather watch a character other than Rochester than a Rochester who is badly played. And I'd rather watch a Jane Eyre movie which leaves out many lines of the novel but does not invent new ones than a version which uses modernised dialogues which sound as if they could be uttered by a today's couple in a Starbucks café. Of course this Jane Eyre is a failure, but at least it is an inoffensive one, which is more than one can say of the '97 and 2006 adaptations. I would therefore not desist anyone from watching this adaptation: You will not find Jane Eyre, but at least you will find a beautifully made movie.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent film, 12 Feb 2007
This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
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!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy attempt at Jane Eyre, 3 Sep 2006
By 
C. Gent "Cogent1" (Cardiff UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
With wonderful casting, (especially Charlotte Gainsbourg as a magical Jane)and top-notch cinematography, this production is bound to please most people. What a shame that time constraints have led to parts of the original story being severely truncated or completely omitted, so that some depth is lost. However, what has been retained is well-acted and produced. If you are not familiar with the original, you will find this version to be a good story in its own right. William Hurt is convincingly surly, while Charlotte Gainsbourg is pathos, vulnerability and nobility personified, managing to be plain and beautiful at the same time. Recommended.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars true romance, 22 Dec 2003
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
jane eyre happens to be my all time favourite. although in my opinion, no film version will beat the book, this version is as close as you're going to get. it has stunning settings, a good plot, and it is a story that will never go out of date. it is not just a film for those studying it academically, but it is a film to be enjoyed by everyone who watches it. guaranteed enjoyment. a must see film.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film to drink hot chocolate to..., 28 Mar 2003
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
Truly magical. Zephirelli doesn't dwell on the boring stuff but zooms in on what we all want shedloads of - jane and rochester. Fast moving, beautiful, some truly spine-tingling moments. A film to drink hot chocolate to...
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And so I married him...., 25 Mar 2004
By 
C. Leenhouwers "claireann82" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I have to show appreciation to anyone who tries to put classic works of literature onto the big screen. There is always the chance that you won't be able to live up to the greatness of the book and will fall short of glory.
The story of Jane Eyre is well known but I will recap. Jane has a cruel upbringing but survives, determined that she will be independent and survive on her own. She goes to work as a governess at the residence of Mr Rochester, Thornfield Hall. She begins to fall in love with him not knowing his mysterious past. As the story continues the mystery unravels.
This adaption of Jane Eyre has a superb cast. Anna Paquin plays Jane Eyre in her younger years and is defiant and beautiful in the role. She renews the sparkle that she had in 'The Piano'.
William Hurt is also brilliant as Mr Rochester. He is reserved and yet sensitive and passionate enough to see why Jane is attracted to him. Charlotte Gainsbourg simply is Jane Eyre. What I loved about this film is that they didn't cast a beautiful girl and try and make her plain. Gainsbourg is not what we have been led to believe, is beautiful. She plays Jane as well spoken, intelligent, dignified and painfully aware of her background and her insufficient beauty.
This is one of the greatest love stories of all time and the romance is not lost in this adaption. It was the fight for independence and Jane's determination to work for herself without the assistance of a man that leads me to feel that this adaption focuses very much on women's emancipation and survival. Jane Eyre is powerful and gripping stuff! You have to see it or read it at least once!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant actors give a well-known story new life, 17 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Jane Eyre [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg create magic. The most beautiful and heart-breaking moments are presented in such a sublime manner that you can hardly pin-point what it was. Usually it is a face expression, a glanze (especially from Hurt) that sets the tone of bittersweet love. Accompanied by the magical surroundings and well-chosen music this is prefection.
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Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996]
Jane Eyre [DVD] [1996] by Franco Zeffirelli (DVD - 2003)
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