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Jane Eyre (1997) – DVD Review

Jane Eyre (1997) DVD cover art


Written by: Richard Hawley, Kay Mellor & Peter Wright, based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte
Directed by: Robert Young
Starring: Samantha Morton, Ciarán Hinds, Gemma Jones, Richard Hawley, Abigail Cruttenden


  • “About Charlotte Bronte”

Released by: A&E
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Avoid it.

The titular character (Morton) has had a bit of a hard life. She was an orphan, she was picked on by the people in charge of her, and she had only one friend–who of course perished. She finally survives her childhood and seeks employment as a governess. She finds a position at Thornfield Hall, where she is to tutor the energetic little French girl Adele (Timia Berthomé). But there’s something mysterious afoot–it begins with Mr. Rochester (Hinds), the owner of the estate. And it continues with the strange laughing creature who prowls the halls of Thornfield at night.

[ad#longpost]As I’ve said recently in my review of the Emma DVD, this is a type of classical literature that I just don’t get. I don’t understand the draw to what amounts to an incredibly overdone, melodramatic, staple-gun-my-wrist-to-my-forehead foray of characters parading about and being alternately ridiculously melancholy and disgustingly joyous. Let me interject here and say that the cast, especially Morton and Hinds, are quite good–the problem is that they’re acting way, way, WAY too much. The further problem is that…well, that’s exactly what the material calls for, I fear. When you’ve got a storyline this cheeseball and ludicrous, all you can do is go for 110% and hope for the best. So more power to them.

As far as features go, this is total bare bones action. A couple of screens about Charlotte Bronte as a bio, and that’s it. Some interviews with the stars would have been nice, even. But alas, when the back of the case touts “Chaptering lets you jump to your favorite scenes instantly!” you know you’re getting the thing for the film only.

Which leads me to sum up: if you like this sort of thing, then this flick and disc are for you. If you’re like me, and you want your drama a little less hanging-from-the-rafters, then I would pass.

Ciaran Hinds and Samanta Morton from Jane Eyre (1997)
Ciaran Hinds and Samanta Morton from Jane Eyre (1997)