"Jane Eyre" Comparisons

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is my favorite novel.  I've seen quite a few movie versions, so I thought it might nice to collect them all on one page like I have for all the Hamlet productions I've seen.


1943 -- Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles.  Moody and atmospheric, gorgeously shot.  Fontaine is a calm and sensible Jane, and Welles is a surprisingly likable and puckish Mr. Rochester.  Excellent work from child actors Margaret O'Brien, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peggy Ann Garner, too.


1983 -- Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton.  My favorite.  Clarke is sweet, strong, and composed as Jane, and Dalton is so delightfully broody as Mr. Rochester.  I love that the longer run time means they can delve more into the non-Rochester parts of Jane's story too.


1996 -- Charlotte Gainsburg and William Hurt.  I am not a fan.  Gainsburg is a sympathetic and appealing enough Jane, but Hurt bored me so much that I wanted to slap him to wake him up.


1997 -- Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds.  I like this one rather well.  Morton is a determined and feisty Jane, and Hinds really brings out Rochester's anger with the world over his perceived mistreatment at the hands of the universe.  Does he shout a little more than might be necessary?  Yes.  Do I mind?  Not really.


2006 -- Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens.  Grr.  Wilson is a wonderful Jane.  And Stephens would be an adequate Rochester if they hadn't written him to be so pushy and mean and WHINY.  Ugh.  Also, that bed scene.  Not at all called for, very out of character for Jane, and so cringe-inducing.  Not a fan.


2011 -- Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.  Almost my favorite.  I didn't love it at first, as that initial review shows, but it has grown so dear to me.  Wasikowska is an intelligent, naive, brave Jane, and Fassbender is by turns inscrutable, abrupt, and watchful as Rochester.  The supporting cast is great, and I dig the visual aesthetic too.

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