Jane Eyre Movie Review

One of these days, Hollywood is going to run out of old Brontë sisters/Jane Austen books to make into films. Then, and only then, will the world be safe once again.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Sense And Sensibility (it even made my 1995 top ten list), but I gave Persuasion one of the worst reviews of the year. Here comes Jane Eyre to follow in the latter's footsteps.

Jane Eyre is based on one of those books you were supposed to read in high school (entitled, oddly, Jane Eyre), but which was so damn boring you couldn't even get through the Cliff's Notes. The film is almost as exciting as one would expect a film about, say, the book, Jane Eyre, to be. It's full of longing glances, Jane (Charlotte Gainsbourg) staring into the hills of England, Jane prancing through the meadow, Jane in a carriage, and important lines like, "He is a proud man." And, sadly, not much else.

The hopelessly archaic story is one of love and idiocy in the early 1800s, when men could keep their insane first wives locked up in the spare room of the castle (those were the days!). It was also a time when, for no apparent reason, you could expect a young governess to fall in love with her invalid boss. There are some other plot points of note, but really, who cares? There are much better things to laugh about! Such as:

Gainsbourg, best described as a British girl with a really long neck and really fat cheeks, was recently seen in the film Kung Fu Master! Who better to play Ms. Eyre, really? Anna Paquin plays Young Jane but is completely devoid of the charm that endeared her to me in The Piano (and won her an Oscar). Elle Macpherson is Rochester's girly friend (inexplicably jilted in the second film within a month)! Maria Schneider pulls off a totally toys-in-the-attic portrayal of Blanche, the crazy first wife. Amanda Root, who sucked in Persuasion, doesn't suck as badly here, but still causes me to break out in hives when she's on screen (fortunately briefly). And...the kicker...William Hurt as Rochester!? Ho ho ho!

As if the casting and acting weren't enough to make this a bomb, we've got an interminable story that just won't end, a really dumb ending when it finally does, half of the audience laughing at the "high drama," the other half asleep, and, worst of all, a film that is so archaic and out-of-date that it's almost insulting to watch. How helpful and/or truly relevant is this story of Victorian obsession and self-destruction today? Who would act in a manner remotely similar to these people, except my psychopathic ex who fancied herself to be Blanche (but that's another story)? Putting it all together, Jane Eyre manages to be not just a very bad movie, but to be irresponsible as well. Keep away.

Jane, searching for a clue, somewhere--anywhere.


gabster's picture


that was a very harsh review of the movie. The book was wonderful, and the movie was great with the portral of each of the Characters. William Hurt did a great job of playing Mr. Rochester. I guess to appreciate the movie, you have to enjoy the book, and be a romantic who enjoys "out-of-date" literature.

8 years 8 months ago
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rosemaryanne's picture


Re Jane Eyre: I think you were too harsh. I've just discovered the DVD & was quite taken with it. Admittedly the story is very dated but I enjoyed the preformances of the main characters, especially William Hurt as Mr Rochester.To enjoy Jane Eyre you must be a real romantic I suppose!

8 years 10 months ago
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genny's picture


i also believe u were too harsh on the movie (you're practically critizising the book itself!) something you shouldn't be doing when you're trying to talk about how bad the film was (haha) i personally think both the movie and the book were great-- and not hollywood trying to win some money but trying to bring the book to life. however i prefer the book because its more based on a 3rd person pov where the film's narrator is ore omniscent. But yes they were both excellent.

6 years 10 months ago
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garibaldi's picture


I have seen only that dramatisation of the book, and I liked both main charachters, especialy Jane.She was like most of us, we don't have to watch perfectly looked women on the screen all the time. I liked her as an actress, too.

6 years 11 months ago
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Chrissie Haines's picture

Chrissie Haines

I thought this review of "Jane Eyre" was cruel and unfair in the extreme. It is a fantastic book (I've read it several times) and Charlotte Gainsbourg is the BEST Jane Eyre I've ever seen (all the others have been much too glamourous). The whole film had marvellous atmosphere and an almost surreal quality, and the acting was superb.

5 years 8 months ago
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Donata's picture


This version of the movie I did not really care for, but the book was very nice and there have been much better movies based on this book. You don't have to be romantic to like this story - my brothers like this book and they aren't exactly the romantic type. :) If you approach this story dreading it and determined to dislike it (as you apparently did) you will not like it. One must keep an open mind if one is to write a review on it.

7 years 8 months ago
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Jane Eyre Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: PG, 1996


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