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Archive for October, 2010

Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time.  So it’s no surprise that I approached this adaptation with some trepidation.  However, I needn’t have worried – this mini series captured the mood of the book perfectly.

A brief recap on the story for anyone who isn’t familiar with it: In the 19th century, Jane Eyre is an orphan raised by an unfeeling aunt, who sends her away to boarding school.  After finishing school, Jane becomes a governess to a young French girl, Adele, at Thornfield Hall, the home of the mysterious Mr Rochester.

Rochester is abrupt and has difficulty relating to people, but Jane finds herself drawn to him.  But dark secrets from the past threaten her happiness, and unexpected twists and turns in her life may throw Jane from her chosen path…

This is more than just a love story – it is a story of a woman who insists on staying true to herself and her values.  Who displays integrity and strength of character, even when it hurts her unbearably to do so.

Ruth Wilson plays Jane Eyre, and she is perfect for the part.  She is an incredibly skilful actress, and captures Jane’s combination of strength and vulnerability perfectly; she can convey so much with just an expression on her face or a small gesture.  I thought that this was an inspired piece of casting.

Rochester (my favourite romantic hero from any novel – because he is a flawed man who struggles with his inner demons, but he is ultimately a very decent person) is played by Toby Stephens.  Other reviewers have suggested that Stephens is possibly too handsome to play the dour hero – and it’s true that he is absolutely gorgeous here (long flowing locks and a brooding intensity) – but he too perfectly inhabits the character.  There was real chemistry between the two leads, and it was lovely to see how their feelings developed.

Strong support was provided by Pam Ferris as Grace Pool – a mysterious woman who works at Thornfield – and Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs Fairfax, housekeeper at Thornfield.

With some beautiful scenery and music, this adaptation is well worth watching.  The only thing I would mention is that less time is spent on Jane’s childhood than was given to it in the book – however, that did not spoil my enjoyment at all.

I would definitely recommend this series – both to fans of the novel, and people who have never read the story.

Year of release: 2006

Director: Susanna White

Writers: Charlotte Bronte (book), Sandy Welch

Main cast: Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens, Lorraine Ashbourne

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Click here for my review of the 1944 movie adaptation.

Click here for my review of the 1996 movie adaptation.

Click here for my review of the 1997 movie adaptation.

Click here for my review of the novel.

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