32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Another BBC Period Drama Classic,
This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD]  (DVD)
This is a beautiful screen adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic, however Bronte purists may find screen-writer Sandy Welch's interpretation of the novel at odds with their own conceptions.
"Jane Eyre" is a Victorian Gothic novel, therefore screen productions have a tendency towards melodrama and theatricality which would not go down well with a modern audience. Sandy Welch has focused on the relationship between orphan governess, Jane Eyre and her employer, the egnimatic Edward Rochester. In this production excessive melodrama has been avoided and Jane and Rochester seem to be real people with whom the audience can relate.
Toby Stephens is excellent as the tortured Rochester, battling with himself and his feelings. Ruth Wilson is able to convey everything Jane is thinking and feeling with little dialogue and superlative acting. We see the character of Jane flower and mature from an 18 year old falling in love for the first time (emotions all over the place) to a self-possessed young woman, in control of her (and her lover's) destiny. This Jane Eyre has the right mix of vulnerability and toughness which makes the story so gripping and she displays a subtle sense of humour in her teasing of Rochesterand self-depricating comments.
The screen chemistry between the two leading actors is enthralling. With Susannah White's direction and Rob Lane's haunting music the audience is totally engaged. The production has its faults, but it is already on many people's lists of favourites with other great BBC period dramas such as "North and South", "Bleak House" and and "Pride and Prejudice" .
If you have not read the book, or only have a passing acquaintance with it, then you should thoroughly enjoy this production (and perhaps be inspired to (re-) read the original novel).
If you are a Bronte devotee, then you may be disappointed. However if you can leave the book on the bookshelf for a while and stop picking at every piece of dialogue and scene. Then sit back and enjoy a really great piece of television period drama.