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Jane Eyre - 2006 (BBC) - 16.98

Continuing the BBC's unrivalled reputation for costume drama, their new adaptation of Jane Eyre proved to be one of the television triumphs of 2006. Based, as you'd expect, on the Charlotte Bronte book of the same name, this two-disc set brings together the full series, spread across the best part of four sumptuous hours.

It's a faithful adaptation, with Ruth Wilson giving an exceptional performance in the title role. Mr Rochester's boots, meanwhile, are filled by Toby Stephenson, and both prove to be wise choices. Backed up by an excellent supporting cast, they're also supported by some quite superb scenery, warm photography and skilful, at times neatly understated the direction, that gives the story space to develop.

Is the best adaptation of Jane Eyre? It certainly builds a compelling case, and while there's the odd slight misstep along the way, it's primarily a terrific interpretation of a classic romance. Perhaps the only real disappointment is that the DVD release itself doesn't offer more in the way of added features, but given the presentation and quality of the main attraction, that's unlikely, rightly, to deter those in search of some classic BBC drama. --Jon Foster

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
The best Jane Eyre to date. :
I have read the book many times both in English and Russian (translated beautifully) and like many other readers am in absolute love with the novel. All screen versions that have come out over the past two decades always had a flaw of some sort. This one is as good as perfect though. Ruth Wilson's portrayal of Jane Eyre is so very true to the book. She made Jane passionate, daring, and fearless. In contrast to the Janes created by other actresses, Wilson's Jane is not submissive, inhibited, boring or over-passive. And she does look like a 18 year old and behaves accordingly. Toby Stephens is stupendous as a Rochester (if perhaps too handsome for him). Truly, they could not have cast the film better.

Rating: 2:
Has the director acutally read the novel? : Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books ever, one of the best love stories ever written. I read many positive reviews of this adaptation, so I was eager to watch it. And I can only say I am disappointed. I got the impression that no-one actually bothered to read the novel. They produced a modernized period drama, where everything looks like it's 1850 but people act like it's 2007.

Mr Rochester is too good-looking, too young and lacks the dark quality in his character. In the film he is just mean, without any of the ambignouity and inner conflict of the book. I found him rather boring, and it was hard to understand why Jane falls in love with him.
Jane is too self-confident and bold, while at the same time somehow lacking in inner strength.

But the major flaw of this adaptation is the total lack of period-consistent behaviour displayed by Jane and Mr Rochester. They act like a couple would nowadays, which is miles from how they would have acted 150 years ago. The biggest damage was done to the scene after the failed wedding, where Jane and Mr Rochester lie on the bed, kissing, close to tearing each other's clothes off. Jane is supposed to resist Mr Rochester, although it is breaking her heart. The struggels to keep her moral integrity and NOT follow her heart are missing throughout the adaptation.

The two stars go to costumes, sets and many of the supporting cast.

Rating: 5:
Well written, well cast, well directed : I often feel let down by adaptations of novels but this one managed to edit the story down to its essentials making it enjoyable for a viewer who knows the novel, and accessible for a viewer who does not. This is the best 'Jane Eyre' adaptation I have seen, and one of the best novel adaptations too.

The book was adapted with respect for the novel and caught the spirit of the book really well. The cast was extremely well chosen especially the roles of Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason. Jane was played by Ruth Wilson, who gave her all the spirit and intelligence that you would expect from Jane Eyre. Wilson's look was absolutely perfect, it seemed like her face was different every time you saw her sometimes plain, sometimes beautiful, always expressive. It was very unusual to have Bertha Mason played by a beautiful, 'sane-looking' woman, normally she is styled as a stereotypical crazy hag, which doesn't really make sense. This choice made it easy to see why Mr Rochester had been fooled by her family, and the contrast between her appearance and her violent tendencies made her all the more menacing.

The only weakness in the series is the opening. Jane's childhood is dealt with a little two quickly, the suffering she endured is not really made clear, so the strength, independence and liveliness that she has as an adult does not come across as the accomplishment that it really is. The scene in the red room is particularly weak, the director failed to take us into the mind of the child as Bronte manages to do so well. I appreciate however that `Jane Eyre' is a very long novel so some parts must be condensed and Jane's adult life is dramatised so well that it certainly compensates.

Rating: 5:
Love Jane Eyre......Amazing service from Amazon UK : I received my copy of Jane Eyre on DVD and both of the DVD disc's are scratched. I sent a email to Amazon uk to inform them that the order was received with the DVD's scratched. But I was happy to keep the item as the disc's played fine in the DVD player and I could get them repaired at my local video store for the same amount of money to sent it back in postage.
Amazon has offered to replace the item anyway. Amazon uk customer service is truly amazing and I will return to shop here often.
BBC has done a wonderful production. However I would like to warn customers that this JE version is not a family friendly production. Toby and Ruth were cast correctly for the roles. They truly but 100% into their roles and it shows along with an amazing support cast. Enjoyed JE very much, although it would have been even better if the scene of Bertha and a man having sex was not in the movie. It is a short scene but in my view not needed.
Giving this 5 stars for the wonderful service I received from Amazon.
NOTE: For Australian Customers this DVD is region code 2 and 4. It will play on Australian DVD Players as this version of Persuasion is not avaliable in Australia.

Rating: 5:
BRILLIANT Eyre : One of the best things I have seen on television! The story was sufficiently mysterious and entrancing by turns. I felt that, although no Colin Firth, Tobby Stephens was a sizzling hero who, by the fourth episode, you not only pitied, but also loved. Ruth Wilson was the perfect choice for Jane; wonderfully sensible yet full of passion and clearly made for Stephens's Rochester. I am a huge fan of the book and my expectations of this adaptation were not all that high. However, after watching the first episode I found myself almost begging for the next week and with it the next episode. An absolute must-see for all who enjoy a thrilling and chilling story and a romance that leaves your heart fluttering!

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