Young Jane Eyre, an orphan, lives with her rich but cruel Aunt, Mrs. Reed and her cousins at Gateshead Hall until Mrs. Reed sends her away to Lowood School to be educated and be rid of her. Ten years after receiving an education and without connections, Jane becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall to young Adele Varens, the ward of Thornfield's master, Mr. Edward Rochester. Thornfield itself holds many secrets and Mr. Rochester is very mysterious and strange, but Jane eventually falls in love with him.
There weren't too many cast members that I recognized from other period dramas in this version of Jane Eyre, but here are some that you may recognize from other period dramas:
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Zelah Clarke||Jane Eyre||Poldark (1975) as Woman in Coach (Pilot episode)|
|Timothy Dalton||Mr. Rochester||Wuthering Heights (1970) as Heathcliff|
|Judy Cornwell||Aunt Reed||Persuasion (1995) as Mrs. Musgrove, Keeping Up Appearances as Daisy (not a period drama)|
One of the big pluses about this miniseries is the episode length. Since each episode is only a half hour long, it's very easy to watch this miniseries quickly. Since I've been very busy as of late, this was great because I didn't have to devote a whole hour to watching unless I had the time to watch an episodes. And then the next thing I knew, it was over and I had a new period drama to review! Though the episodes were short, the entire miniseries was also long enough to include scenes that are usually left out of shorter versions of Jane Eyre; some of these scenes included the gypsy scene, Jane conversing with her cousins when Jane visits the ill Mrs. Reed, Spoiler and Mr. Rochester's confession scene after the attempted wedding. Other scenes, like Jane's stay with her cousins, the Rivers, are extended. End of Spoiler
|Jane, Mrs. Reed, and Mr. Brocklehurst|
|*Facepalm* (Sorry, couldn't resist! ;-) )|
The rest of the episodes recount Jane's life as an adult and getting a position as a governess at Thornfield. I will sound like a broken record player at this point, but... well, here we go! These episodes were also very detailed and took their time to tell the story. These episodes also take their time to develop Jane's and Mr. Rochester's relationship, which is something that the other versions of Jane Eyre rush through. Sure, some scenes occur that weren't in the book (at least as far as I remember) like Jane saying hello to Mr. Rochester in the hallway and who ignores her, but it said a lot about their personalities. The extra scenes, I thought, added something to this miniseries that isn't often expressed very well in the movies about how their relationship grows.
|Mr. Rochester played by Timothy Dalton|
|Jane viewing the scenery from the|
top of Thornfield
Like with a lot of period dramas produced by BBC at the time, the scenery isn't anything to scream about. Many of the scenes looked like they were filmed on sound stages, though some of the outdoor scenes look like they were filmed on location (see the picture at the right). The sets did get the job done and weren't bad, just nothing special.
The costumes were okay and got the job done, but I didn't think they were anything special. One advantage of the costumes is that I was able to place the approximate date of the story. In this Jane Eyre, it looked like the story started sometime in the 1820s, but ended sometime in the 1840s.
|Jane during the proposal scene: notice the white pelerine she|
|Jane visits the disfigured Mr. Rochester. Notice the mullet?|
There is very little music in this miniseries. There's the opening theme song and some piano music here and there, but other than that, there really isn't much music to hear or to leave an impression in your mind.
Though Jane Eyre is not my favorite story, this is probably the best/most accurate version that I've seen. It stays pretty close to the story and the details in the book (as far as I can remember). The shorter episodes easily fit into my busy schedule, so I was able to watch it easily. I was entertained by it and rather liked that the pace of the story was slower than other versions, but if you're new to Jane Eyre, than you might find the pace of the story to be a bit slow. The scenery and costumes aren't the best, but the story-telling is of good quality and the actors suited their roles. If you have to watch one version of Jane Eyre, I would recommend this one since it is the most accurate.
I would say this miniseries was about TV-PG. There are some intense scenes and some suggestive dialogue (concerning Mr. Rochester's past), but it's nothing out of the ordinary and is pretty much the content that you would find in the original novel.
Jane Eyre is available on DVD in various boxed sets and on Netflix. The entire miniseries runs about 239 minutes and is made up of eleven 30-minute episodes.