film adaptations of Jane Eyre

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film adaptations of Jane Eyre

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1ElizabethPotter
Ago 30, 2009, 2:29pm

I thought this might be an interesting topic. There are so many of them. Which one is you favorite or least favorite? Why? I have strong opinions on the matter, but I wanted to know what others thought.

2celiacardun
Ago 30, 2009, 2:36pm

I'm definitely voting for 2006. I love that adaptation! It made me read the book, which the 1983 version with Zelah Clarke not at all accomplished. I didn't really know the story when I saw that one (because my sister in law really wanted that particular DVD) and wasn't inspired. And I sure was when I saw the 2006 one!

3CurrerBell
Ago 30, 2009, 3:56pm

My own personal choice is the 1973 miniseries, in large part because of the absolutely perfect casting of Tina Heath as Helen.

4ElizabethPotter
Sep 13, 2009, 5:34pm

My favorite version depends on my mood. If I am in a Jane mood, I would choose the Masterpiece Theatre version. Ruth Wilson plays Jane so well. It isn't even how she says the lines. Her body language feels like Jane Eyre's. The tilt of her head, the lowing of her eyes, a frown all seem to place the character at the right emotional spot in the text.

My favorite scene in the version was after she saves Mr. Rochester from the fire, and she returns to her room. She smiles and looks at her hand and sits on her bed. This is such an important moment in the novel, and she showed Jane beginning her delightful struggle. This is the scene that won me over and made this one a favorite.

5atimco
Oct 19, 2009, 9:57am

I just watched my first JE adaptation yesterday, the 1983 miniseries starring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. I really liked how faithful it was to the book (though I missed certain parts, like Rochester's amazing speech at the end). I liked Zelah Clarke as Jane though I agree with the criticism that she was too reserved. Timothy Dalton did a good job with the fiery and impetuous Rochester, but he was a bit too handsome for the part. Is there ever a Rochester with the broad, broad chest and shoulders of the book's character?

The adaptation suffered a little from looking dated, especially the somewhat stagey cinematography. But I was watching it for the story and characters, not the camera angles, and both of those elements were strong enough to even captivate my husband, who had never read the novel and whose tolerance for stagey TV adaptations is far less than my own. He ended up enjoying the whole thing with me.

Young Jane was a decent actress, but attacked her part with too much vim. She did look a LOT like Clarke, though!

They didn't really show enough of Bertha. The book's description of her is absolutely bloodcurdling. She seemed almost tame at the end of the attic scene with Mason and Jane and the parson.

They also didn't show enough of the drawing room scenes with Miss Blanche Ingram and the constant belittling that Jane had to undergo.

It seems there are a lot of fans of the 2006 miniseries. I've heard bad things about it, that purists should stay away because they took some liberties with the story (especially with sexing things up and replacing all the dialogue). I've heard enough from both sides to make me very curious, and I'll probably watch it eventually.

I'm not opposed to watching the 1973 version. CurrerBell, besides the casting for Helen, what makes that your favorite version?

I also want to see the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine version. Any thoughts on that one?

6ElizabethPotter
Editado: Nov 9, 2009, 9:33pm

I love the 1983 version as well. I love how it stays so close to the book. They don't take huge liberties with the plot. I also love Timothy Dalton as Rochester. When I am in a Rochester mood that is the one I watch. Dalton was dark enough to play Rochester. I realize it is hard to find someone with really dark hair but it is important. However, I think Zelah Clark is a little pudgy for Jane. I know that is a little silly but it is the truth. I love this version's rendition of Chapter 27.

I did feel that the 2006 version did "sex" things up in a way that was not necessary for purists. However I do like that version again because of Ruth Wilson. However I know that my teenage self would not have been happy with all the changes in the plot and dialogue.

7atimco
Oct 27, 2009, 2:51pm

We recently watched the 1944 version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine.
My initial impression of this film (perhaps unfairly since I just came off reading the book and seeing the extremely faithful 1983 miniseries) is that it is way too rushed.

Welles was okay as Rochester, but not nearly passionate enough. I almost laughed at the part where he is pleading with Jane not to leave. "Jane, Jane, Jane" says he in a fading voice. Oh dear. Rochester would not have stood there so lamely and watched her depart, not by a long shot! Jane had to leave the house secretly! He would have at least given her money; that was his main concern in the book, that she not be cast destitute on the world because of him.

I rather liked Fontaine as Jane, though she was certainly too pretty for the part. Having her in that role reminded me forcibly of how much Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca owes to Jane Eyre; just think of the similarities in story! But I like Jane better than the unnamed narrator of Rebecca. I get the feeling that the second Mrs. de Winter did not have quite the strength of will and moral compass of Jane.

I also missed the gypsy scene. And why did they change small things that didn't need to be changed, like making Jane's sojourn at Lowood ten years instead of eight (what did that accomplish?). I didn't like how they removed the Rivers from the story entirely, replacing them with a Dr. Rivers.

They gave Brocklehurst a much more prominent and direct role in Helen's death (it was interesting to see the young Elizabeth Taylor in that uncredited role, by the by). But they never allowed Lowood to be redeemed as it is in the book; the epidemic doesn't happen and apparently Jane lives at the school for ten years under Brocklehurst's harsh rule. That doesn't make sense... they clearly state that she is ten years old when she goes there, and she is still a student at age twenty? Because she never teaches at Lowood in this version; the impetus for her leaving Lowood is when Brocklehurst tries to get her to be a teacher because it will be cheaper than getting someone from the outside. *sigh*

I missed Miss Temple, and even Jane's female cousins Georgiana and Eliza.

I also didn't like how they rewrote parts of the story and had Jane narrate it, actually showing an image of the "book" and the text she was reading — when it was totally different from the book's text! It was almost deceptive. If I had not read the book I would have been completely fooled.

I was also disappointed in Bertha. They never really showed her, and when they did the scene was so silly. Rochester is bringing the group to Bertha's room upstairs and when he opens the door she leaps on him with her hands on his neck. It was kind of lame how they choreographed it, to be honest. They also cut out the part where she creeps into Jane's room and rips her veil — of the most deliciously terrifying parts of the entire story.

The ending felt anticlimatic. Don't have much more to say about it than that. Oh, they're back together, how nice.

I know this sounds scathing but it isn't so bad as all that. I did enjoy it, it's just not going to be a favorite. I'd rather get the full story in the miniseries version.

I'm a little more than halfway through the 1973 version (yes 220, I'm starting to dislike that word too!). It's pretty good, though Michael Jayston is not at all the physical type for Rochester. He's barely taller than Jane! And the makeup he is wearing is a bit stagey (come on, eyeliner??). I am really liking Sorcha Cusack as Jane though. She has a very slightly elfin look, and is less reserved that Zelah Clarke. Though Zelah Clarke is very good too!

8atimco
Mar 5, 2010, 8:41am

Reviving this thread... has anyone seen the 1997 adaptation with Ciarán Hinds and Samantha Morton? I picked it up at a going-out-of-business sale and we will probably watch it tonight.

9ncgraham
Mar 5, 2010, 12:53pm

Oh dear, Hinds' Rochester looks scary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pknp7GaRMg

10atimco
Mar 5, 2010, 1:27pm

I would watch that, but I'm at work. I'll be able to give a full report on Hinds' scariness after tonight :)

11atimco
Editado: Mar 6, 2010, 9:07am

Well, we watched it last night and my feelings are mixed (as usual). I knew they would have to abbreviate much of the story to fit everything into an hour and forty-some minutes, so besides a little grumble at the skipped bits (notably Lowood and Jane's visit to her dying aunt... the latter was completely skipped), I resigned myself. So that wasn't really the problem.

Criticisms:

• The dialogue was modernized a bit too much. We did not get nearly enough of the stirring lines from the book.

• At the end when Jane returns to Rochester, she says something like, "I've fought my emotions for so long; I can fight them no longer." What?! That completely undermines the strength of her virtuous sacrifice, implying that she would have come back to him whether Bertha still lived or no. We're back together, that's all that matters — what a different Jane from the one who wrenched herself away in the first place. It's just poor writing... they must not have thought it through.

Another criticism with that final scene is that once again, Rochester's amazing speech of repentance is excised. But then, every other version does the same thing. I just don't understand how directors miss the incredible potential of that speech.

• St. John was portrayed as a very nice, non-fanatical young man, pleasant and complimentary toward Jane, and *yet* she says, for no apparent reason, that she knew he could not love her. The subplot with the inheritance is completely cut out and there is only one sister, Diana. That part is very rushed.

• What bothered me the most was how they handled the scene in Bertha's attic. They did NOT think through the ramifications of having Bertha's cleavage hanging out as she *cringe* offers herself to Rochester. When he rejects her, gently saying, "No, Bertha," that's when she attacks him. (The attack is very weak, btw; it's as if we are to pity Bertha *more* than fear/revile her, and both reactions are necessary to really understand the character.) Then when she is being calmed by Grace Poole, Rochester goes over, hugs her, and gives her a kiss on the top of her head!

Did they not realize that this hints at sexual activity between the two of them despite Bertha's madness? That such relations WOULD make Rochester a bigamist in the worst sense of the word? This was definitely the worst version of that scene that I have ever seen. Ugh.

But up till that scene, I was actually rather enjoying it. Good points include:

• Excellent casting for Jane and Rochester, Samantha Morton (who probably looks the most like my mental Jane) and Ciarán Hinds (who plays his part with an almost alarming energy). I wasn't sure how I would like Hinds as Rochester, and his first appearance on horseback did not really work for me. Maybe it was the combination of the mustache and hat, I don't know. But later he won me over.

• I also really liked Mrs. Fairfax (the same actress who plays Elinor's and Marianne's mother in Thompson's S&S). They gave her quite a bit of screentime, too, showing her snapping out orders to the servants and bustling around the house.

• This one boasts a very good rendition of Bertha's invasion of Jane's room. My husband was creeped out by it, and that's saying something!

• Despite the lack of his broken speech about repentance at the end, Rochester's reaction to Jane's return is very powerful. Such a good performance!

Overall, I'm glad to have seen this and wouldn't be opposed to watching it again. But it confirms the superiority of the Dalton/Clarke version, no question. And Timothy Dalton is still our favorite Rochester.

12ElizabethPotter
Mar 7, 2010, 7:18pm

ncgraham- Yes, Mr. Rochester did strike me as being very angry in that scene. I have heard it leveled against him that Hinds makes Rochester too angry.

My big "problem" with this version is that they did not lift dialogue from the book. It is the same story told with different words. This new words do respect the characters generally, but I want to hear certain speeches. It makes for strange viewing.

I did like Samantha Morton as Jane and I will agree WW that she does come closest to my mental picture of Jane.

Hinds has a mostache and Mr. Rochester doesn't. I have seen Hinds in other things without one. Why did the producers make this decision? Were they trying to portray Rochester as more of a villain (fingers playing with the end of his mustache)? Not that Rochester does this.

As for the meeting Bertha scene, I had never thought of it that way WW, but I can totally see your point. What always struck me was how much Bertha runs in circles hitting the wall every few steps. This was never how I imagined her. She is mad but I don't see her as being disoriented physically so as to run into things in that way. If that were the case it would make it rather unbelievable that she could manage to get downstairs and cause all the havoc that she does.

On the whole not one of my favorites, but not terrible.

13ncgraham
Mar 7, 2010, 10:33pm

Hinds has done a great deal of period film work, including Persuasion, Ivanhoe, The Mayor of Casterbridge, "Rome," and Amazing Grace. In general, I admire his work greatly, but am not sure I would like his Rochester.

Of course, I'm probably far too attached to the Fontaine/Welles film for my own good.

14ElizabethPotter
Mar 16, 2010, 4:51pm

The Morton/Hinds adaptation always makes me wonder about the dialogue. I think a good adaptation lifts from the book. Of course some of the dialogue needs to be tweaked to make it more speakable. A good example of this would be the book says, "You will give me your love, nobly...generously" as opposed to "You will give me your love, you will..you will.."(dalton/clarke) which can more easily be shouted after Jane as she retreats to her room.

Why would the Morton/Hinds give up on all the excellent writing? It is a puzzle.

15JosephPoisso
Mayo 6, 2010, 11:25pm

Positively awful!!

The story is so mangled that it is barely Bronte. The only thing original is the title. I can't even begin to tell how disappointing this movie is...AND Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine too. I expected more of them. It just goes to show that even the great ones can product a stinker. The only thing good about it....I paid $6.95 which was way too much.

16katylit
Ago 14, 2010, 10:23am

There is going to be yet another adaptation made!! Oh my. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229822/ This one will have Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax (I think she'll be wonderful - but then, when isn't she?), and the actress who played Alice in Wonderland recently will be Jane. Ahhh, that might be good casting. What do you think?

17atimco
Ago 15, 2010, 2:06pm

Wow, that's really interesting! If they are faithful to the book it should be brilliant. Thanks for the heads-up, katylit!

18ElizabethPotter
Ago 15, 2010, 10:35pm

I have actually been dreading this film as long as I have known about it. "Alice" is too pretty or so the few pictures of her lead me to believe. I hear the actor for Rochester was in 300. I think it is also supposed to appeal to the twilight crowd.

All that being said, I did read a quote somewhere on imdb that the director wanted to play up the "dark" elements in JE which instills a bit of confidence in me.

I don't know what to make of it.

19katylit
Ago 16, 2010, 6:26am

I think it's inevitable that Jane will be pretty in a movie. Just the nature of the beast, that is Hollywood, or to a much lesser extent I grant you, BBC. They play with the rest of the story, changing it here and there, they're certainly going to give us a pretty Jane every time.

That does sound encouraging, if the director wants to play up the "dark" elements.

My hope is (like wisewoman's), that this time they're more faithful to the book! (despite a pretty Jane) ;-)

20atimco
Ago 16, 2010, 8:19am

That's funny. I've seen the new Alice in Wonderland and didn't really think the actress playing Alice was all that pretty. I think they can "plain her down" and create a passable Jane... maybe. What you are saying about the film appealing to the Twilight crowd makes me a little nervous though :-S

21ncgraham
Ago 16, 2010, 9:53am

Certainly the "new" Alice/Jane is not as pretty as some of the previous Janes—Joan Fontaine, Sally Ann Howes, Susannah York, and Ruth Wilson are all examples of beautiful women who played the role. And despite their natural good looks I've enjoyed both Wilson and Fontaine's takes on Jane. With the right makeup, costumes, and hair, I think Mia will be more than acceptable. Take a gander at the early scenes in Alice where she is pale and out of health, Elizabeth Potter; she looks much plainer there than in other parts of the movie.

I'm crossing my fingers with regards to this version. It's being produced by BBC films, who has gotten into a habit recently of making movie adaptations of books a few years after they've put them onto television as miniseries. So this film is "linked" to the 2006 miniseries, which I didn't like at all. But from what I've heard, the film of The Other Boleyn Girl (the first to start this miniseries-to-movie trend) was significantly different from the series, so let's hope that stays the same here.

22ElizabethPotter
Ago 16, 2010, 8:51pm

Joan Fontaine was beautiful and it made the "poor, obscure, plain and little" line funny. I always assumed that at the time there were no plain actresses. That is how I explained it.

Susannah York and Sally Ann Howes I have never seen so cannot really judge.

I would say Ruth Wilson is not pretty. I'm not saying she is ugly but not pretty by the usual standards. She does look prettier when she has standard make up on. I have also heard one person complain that she was not pretty enough which surprised me since she is not meant to be pretty.

So I guess it just goes to prove beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

23atimco
Abr 9, 2011, 4:20pm

To revive this topic... I've seen the new Jane Eyre film! Here's my review:

So I'm a bit of a Jane Eyre connoisseur. I've read the book several times, having rediscovered it two or three years ago, and it is truly one of the most powerful stories in English literature (my longwinded book review is here: http://www.librarything.com/review/14524965). And this power has appealed to generations of filmmakers and audiences, with the story being endlessly adapted to film and TV productions. I've seen many of these, including:

• The 1973 BBC miniseries (very good but definitely dated and influenced by stage productions... Rochester wears eyeliner!)

• The 1983 BBC miniseries, still our favorite! (further thoughts here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/72075#1556715)

• The 2006 miniseries (okay but not great; they modernized a lot)

• The 1944 film (further thoughts here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/72075#1571430)

• The Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds version (further thoughts here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/72075#1836543)

But Jane Eyre is such a brilliant story, we never get tired of seeing new adaptations :). So we were very excited this past Thursday to see the new film starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. When a film is praised so highly — and not just by film critics, but by fans of the book — it's hard not to go in with high expectations. Maybe it will be a faithful adaptation. Maybe Hollywood will get it right this time!

And they did get a lot of things right; this is a fine addition to the multitude of film and TV adaptations of this classic story and I enjoyed it very much. It was artistic and contemplative. And yet I walked out feeling slightly cheated. There were no moments of "ugh, they did NOT just do that!" as I've experienced in other adaptations, and for that I am very thankful. This adaptation stays close to the book thematically, for the most part. Where it fails for me as a purist is not in what they included, but in what they left out.

The script assumes that the viewer knows the story, and in light of the multitude of adaptations and the general consciousness our culture has of this very famous story, I suppose that works. But it cheats the person who is truly new to the tale. For example, we see nothing of Jane's Reed cousins except John. Miss Temple and Grace Poole are completely effaced from the story, and the Lowood scenes are much abbreviated. St. John Rivers is rather softened, though he still comes across as harsh enough in the proposal scenes. His backstory is gone; there is no hint of what temptation he overcame or his ambitions. There is no Rochester-disguised-as-a-gypsy scene, and no chilling scene of Bertha stealing into Jane's room and ripping the wedding veil.

And will any adaptation ever include Rochester's brilliant paragraph of a repentance speech? Ever? Please?

The lens is very tight, and part of this is because the screenwriter assumes we know everything already. We see nothing of the epidemic at Lowood; Helen Burns dies and that's it. There is no word about things improving once the abuses of the school were made known through the epidemic. We see nothing of the Rivers sisters' poverty and you wouldn't even know they were working as governesses. Other characters — even Rochester — are simply incidental to Jane. There isn't even an explanation of Adele's doubtful parentage, and nothing about Rochester's past. I think this was an especially problematic oversight, as the whole crux of his relationship with Jane is the contrast between her and the other women, between her purity and moral strength and his debauchery and weakness. There has to be a reason that her virtue and intelligence are so appealing to him.

I liked the way the story started with Jane's wanderings, interspersing her recovery at the Rivers' home with her memories of childhood and then focusing on her time at Thornfield without too many scenes in the present moment.

One thing I didn't like was how dark the movie was. I'm not talking in terms of content (any Gothic story will be heavy in that regard) but just visually. I'm sure it's faithful to the period, but candlelight is only a meager illumination and I felt I was straining to see what was going on. I felt that I couldn't see what I wanted to in any given scene, and I would mentally breathe a sigh of relief when a new scene would open outdoors or somewhere decently lighted. I suppose this is modern filmmaking. I find I have an affection for the old.

It was a little odd to have Ms. Fairfax meet Jane in the ruins of Thornfield Hall; why would a respectable older woman be lingering like a madwoman in the ruins of a burned house? There is no explanation given. I see why they did it — cinematically it just works, and of course when you have Judi Dench in your film you want to utilize her as much as possible. And the scene itself is excellent. But I think I'll always hesitate a bit at the setup and Mrs. Fairfax's convenient presence at just that moment.

Oh, I did remember one startling moment. Did the Rochester of the book ever insult Mrs. Fairfax as he does in this movie? He says something in her hearing about not being amused by "simpleminded old women," and they show her face as she overhears. I don't remember that kind of conscious savagery in the book or other films, and it was certainly not needed here. We know exactly how Rochester rates Mrs. Fairfax without needing to see blatant cruelty on his part.

The music by Dario Marianelli is simply lovely, carried by an understated violin that occasionally bursts to the forefront as if it just can't help itself. The overall tone of the score reminds me of James Newton Howard's calmer compositions for The Village. There are also some gentle piano pieces that are reminiscent of another Marianelli score I love, his Pride & Prejudice. The music leads the viewer to really contemplate the characters' inner lives. It's brilliant.

I enjoyed the little quirks of humor here and there, understated and wry rather than comical. I'm thinking of the day after Rochester arrives, when the ladies are eating breakfast and he goes outside and starts shooting. Judi Dench's winces are great! And every now and then there would be a quirk of a laugh in the back-and-forth between Jane and Rochester. Wasikowska is a wonderful Jane and her acting is lovely, though I wish they would have given her more dialogue. Same for Michael Fassbender; their scenes always felt so abbreviated to me. He's second behind Timothy Dalton as my favorite Rochester. Of course he is far too handsome for the role, but we won't hold that against him :P

Overall, this is a very good sketch of the story, beautifully rendered and set in a lovely frame of sets and costumes and music. But it's still just a sketch done in black ink, shaded delicately but all gray, with none of the rich colors and tones of the fuller story. I think the filmmakers went for this minimalist approach quite deliberately given their two-hour time limit, and for what it is, it succeeds. Purists, be ready to fill in the blanks; all others, I hope it inspires you to read Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece for yourself.

24celiacardun
Abr 15, 2011, 6:48am

Thanks wisewoman for that extensive review! I'll have to wait until October until it airs in Europe (apparently), but I definitely want to see it in the cinema! I'm looking forward to it, although according to your review it does seem that they left quite some essentials out...

25ElizabethPotter
Editado: Abr 21, 2011, 10:41pm

SPOILERS FOR BOOK AND NEW MOVIE

I went to see the new Jane Eyre last Monday. I find that the longer I think about it the less I liked it. I believe to do JE right, it needs to be 4 hours long. This film tried to keep everything in and do it in two hours. This led to my first big problem: I had to remind myself that Jane and Rochester were in love. They said the lines, but I only felt bits of attaction. Because the producer/director/writer wanted to keep everything, they shortened scenes and cut the dialogue that showed the relationship evolving. ie: When Jane says she must visit her dying aunt, they take care of business, but Rochester shows no concern for her traveling alone, and I don't even remember any leave taking: "Farewell, Mr. Rochester for the present." Many scenes were like this.

The parts that were cut were not cut well. There is no typhus at Lowood, but Aunt Reed writes Uncle John that Jane died of the Typhus while there.

Also as Wisewoman complained, many backstories were cut, but not even completely.
Adele's mother is mention as "charming my British gold out of my English breeches pocket," but there is never any explination. One must assume that she is Rochester's daughter.

This leads to a terrible assumption if one has not read the book. Bertha is the only past woman in Rochester's life. The scene after the wedding Bertha moves slowly into Rochester's arms and he holds her. Almost as if it causes him pain to see her in pain. I felt like it was an illustration of a quote from the book, "If you raved my arms world restrain you and not a straitcoat. In your quiet moments you would have no watcher or nurse but me." (The quote of course applied to Jane and not Bertha.) I do not fear that the relationship is ongoing or that he is sleeping with her now, but it leads one to believe that he loved her before she went completely mad and that they had a marriage. Which leads us to ask, is Adele Mr. Rochester and Bertha's child?

I realize the writer/director were trying to soften Mr. Rochester's defects for a modern viewer. However it ruins everything else when they do this.

The Adele/Bertha idea did not occur to me as I watched the film, but later as I thought about it. Am I completely off base? wisewoman?

26Herenya
Abr 22, 2011, 3:41am

The Jane Eyre film doesn't come out where I live for some months (August, I think), but I have been very curious about this new film and to what extent it is a faithful adaptation.
So thank you wisewoman and ElizabethPotter for your thoughts on the film - you've both answered some of the things I was wondering about.

27atimco
Mayo 3, 2011, 3:19pm

ElizabethPotter — sorry I didn't respond sooner! I agree with your thoughts on the film. It seemed that they relied overmuch on the story being well known when they were cutting out so many crucial details. I did hear that the original cut was three hours or something like that... wish that version would make it to DVD.

Ooh, I didn't even think about the implication of Bertha being Adele's mother! But if you just saw the film, that would be a perfectly legitimate assumption. How weird.

And what is up with the way the Bertha scene is constantly mishandled? The Ciaran Hinds version is still the worst offender in this regard — the clear implication is that he's sleeping with her currently ("not now, Bertha" he says as she offers herself). Ugh.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the new film again when it's released on DVD. In the context of all the other adaptations, I like it quite well. By itself, not so much.

28ElizabethPotter
Mayo 8, 2011, 5:14pm

Thanks for affirming that I am not crazy.

I think the reason the Bertha scene gets mishandled is mainly because issue causes twenty-first century viewers many problems. They forget to look at the situation historically. Bertha is in about as comfortable a situation as possible. However the modern audience sees it as neglect. Hence Mr. Rochester's speech about madhouses in the film. Also there is something disconcerting about Mr. Rochester's hate for Bertha, even if she is mad. Hollywood tries to soften this hate, so that his character is more likeable. However this has dangerous consequences for the Jane/Rochester relationship. I felt this film went too far and that destroyed the film for me.

I also think a film has to make a decision about just how violent Bertha is. In this film and the Masterpiece Theatre film, she was less violent (and seemed closer to sane.) In the Dalton version she was very violent. Now each reader willl have a different idea of Bertha. I have heard that in the Masterpiece version some thought she was too quiet/sane. I did not feel that way but some did.

It is just difficult to do "crazy".

29jfetting
Mayo 17, 2011, 3:07pm

How could they leave out the part about the Rivers family being Jane's cousins! That really bothered me. With them being Jane's cousins, the whole splitting-the-fortune thing makes sense. As they filmed it, she basically said "oh! Hey! Thanks for being my friends kind of and saving my life! Here, take 3/4 of my brand new fortune!" The whole POINT of that is Jane's happiness at having real, honest-to-God family members, not that Jane is some saint-like person that goes around handing money out.

I didn't think the movie implied Bertha was Adele's mom. Adele herself said that she lived with her mother, who is "with the angels now" or something (according to the subtitles), right before she does her little song and dance routine - I don't remember the exact wording but I thought it stayed true to the book. We are led to assume she is Rochester's daughter, but I don't think that the book rules this option out (even if Adele doesn't resemble him - some children do take after one parent much more than the other, after all). I completely agree that the movie needs to be much longer, though, and that the backstories shouldn't be cut this much.

30ElizabethPotter
Jun 5, 2011, 7:53pm

Jfetting-- I knew ahead of time that they messed with the order of things. I was just glad that Rochester was not relegated to memory status. I knew it would be Rivers heavy. I really wished they could have left one line in something to the effect of "Celine, Adele's mother," even if they cut out the entire story of the calvary officer.