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Jane Eyre (1996)

Cast: William Hurt, William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsbourg, more...
Director: Franco Zeffirelli, Franco Zeffirelli
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Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Genre: Drama, Romance, Costume Drama/Period Piece, British Drama
Running Time: 116 min.
Subtitles: English
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Director Franco Zeffirelli stresses emotional realism over gothic chills in this restrained adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic. The screenplay, by Zeffirelli and Hugh Whitmore, remains relatively faithful to the original story, beginning with a condensed look at the troubled childhood of young Jane (Anna Paquin) and her mistreatment by a cruel aunt (Fiona Shaw). The bulk of the film centers on Jane as an adult (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a prim governess who accepts a position at Thornfield Hall caring for the young Adele (Josephine Serre). There Jane also must deal with the estate's head, Edward Rochester (William Hurt), a mysteriously brooding yet oddly alluring older man. She finds herself drawn to Rochester, but their potential romance is threatened by Jane's fears and Rochester's internal torment. Rather than the spooky visuals of earlier adaptations, Zeffirelli and cinematographer David Watkins opt for a subdued gloominess, placing emphasis on Gainsbourg's and Hurt's wounded portrayals. Fans of the gothic will likely find Zeffirelli's interpretation anemic in comparison to the passionate 1944 version with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, though others may appreciate the more naturalistic and faithful approach. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Good Eyre production by Texan99 September 4, 2010 - 12:02 PM PDT
Hurt and Gainsbourg were more persuasive in this production than most Rochesters and Eyres; their chemistry was compelling. The trick in a Jane Eyre production often is to get across how easily Jane can fall for a Rochester who, despite his harsh and offputting style, is alive to her unusual qualities and treats her with more respect than anyone else has done since she was orphaned. This version pulls it off ably. It's true that the script jettisoned some of the wilder coincidences in the plot, but that probably was an improvement as well as a necessity in anything shorter than a miniseries.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.00)
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