Jane Eyre 2006

Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens

"That look. No judgment, no pity. That look could pry secrets from the blackest of souls." -Mr. Rochester

"And we agreed that you'd never be cold again." -Mr. Rochester

Another BBC mini-series of which I always expect alot. In some ways this adaptation delivered and in others it fell short. Production values were excellent of course. Ruth Wilson as Jane was a revelation. I've always thought it was hard to portray Jane's inner emotions as detailed in the novel but Ruth manages to make her thoughts visible facially. Voiceovers were really not necessary. She's just so good and so nuanced, well-rounded, I loved her portrayal of Jane. There are a couple of scenes in this version that have never been previously adapted. Namely the "carriage scene" when Rochester takes Jane to Millcote to buy dresses. The carriage scene dialogue with Adele in tow is so cute and playful and shows a wonderful side to all three characters. There is also the scene where Jane runs out in the rain to catch up to Mr. Rochester the night before their wedding. The dream sequence also makes it in- with Jane holding a baby while being kept away from Rochester. All scenes that I very much enjoyed watching.

Disappointingly, the script in general didn't quite capture "Jane Eyre" in my opinion. The dialogue and changes to Mr. Rochester's character specifically did not feel right. And of course there is THAT scene on the bed that really felt out of place for the story and for Jane's principles. And why does Mr. Rochester hire a gypsy to trick Jane? It seems like there's an attempt to minimize some theatrical elements (Rochester cross-dressing, the voice across the moors- now scientifically explained!) to maximize on other theatrical elements (dream sequences, Rochester's bed on fire- which looked like a pyre, and the terrifying secret in the attic). There really doesn't seem to be much point to emphasizing one and not the other.

Mr. Rochester often seemed a little immature, too boyish maybe, in his eagerness to collect dead insects maybe? I never really felt that Toby Stephens captured Mr. Rochester's sophistication. The efforts to increase the sexual tension did not improve my opinion of Rochester, because Rochester getting Jane into bed was just a low blow. For the most part, I'd watch this version for Ruth Wilson and some of the humor and playfulness they put into the story.