Admit it: watching the movie version of a book in high school was such a good alternative to actually READING the book. I’m not entirely sure how I managed to make it through four years of high school English (including a year of Honors English and a year of AP English) without reading a single book from covereth to covereth, but somehow I did! Of course, I knew then that I was probably cheating myself of literary greatness, but when my TBR list was already so extensive, why would I waste my time reading old boring books?*
*Please note this is the opinion of my 17 year old self, not my current intellectually stimulated self.
In case you’re like me and put off reading Paradise Lost or The Scarlet Letter for school in order to read the latest best-seller, I’ve decided to share with you the movie versions of some of high school’s old favorites. Who knows? You may get inspired to actually read the books! READ THE BOOKS!!!!
Today’s book? Jane Eyre
I literally feel like I’ve seen just about every movie version of Jane Eyre that has ever been made. Why? I LOVE the pants off the story. A plain Jane (no pun intended) who falls in love with her dark and mysterious, albeit somewhat gruff, employer only to find out he’s hiding a dark secret? Yes please! If I were an actress I would kill to play Jane Eyre. It would be my most coveted role. As I am not an actress, despite what I may have thought back in high school, I have to live vicariously through the movies. Here are my favorite versions – and whether they’ll help you pass that test!
I have also included links to the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) site so you can check out further information.
1) Jane Eyre – 1943 – Orson Wells, Joan Fontaine
To me, this is probably the most “classic” of the versions. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s the best. If you love black and white movies, like I do, it’s worth checking out. Orson Wells really captures the moodiness and scariness of what we normally think Mr. Rochester to be – although I think it’s a little hard to fall in love with him. Also, try as she might, Joan Fontaine is never going to convince me that she’s plain and not very pretty.
2) Jane Eyre – 1973 – BBC Production
Gasp! I haven’t seen this one! However, this is supposed to be one of the better versions with script that is lifted from the book. And c’mon… if the BBC interpreted this, it’s gonna be good.
3) Jane Eyre – 1983 – BBC Production
What can I say? The British like to remake their classics. This particular version stars Timothy Dalton and, while I’m a fan, I sometimes can’t get past him. He’s sometimes a little too much. But the movie holds pretty true to the book and might get you a solid B on that exam.
4) Jane Eyre – 1996 – Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt
This is the version that I always think of when I think of a movie adaptation of Jane Eyre. Not because it’s my favorite but because I think the actors are fairly spot on in their portrayals of Jane and Mr. Rochester. Also, out of all the versions, I think Adele and Mrs. Fairfax in this version are my favorites.
5) Jane Eyre – 2006 – Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens
Ah, another BBC version. This one is my absolute favorite out of any and every version of Jane Eyre. I own it. I’ve watched it several times. I love it more and more every time I see it. Do you get the picture? Jane in this version isn’t so… Jane. She’s still the dry, dull woman she always is but there’s a little something to her that makes her almost loveable. She’s got a sharper wit than the others I think. Not to mention Mr. Rochester! I’ve never been too fond of him until this version. He’s still gruff and grumpy, but matches Jane’s wit – or does she match his? – word for word. I do have issues with Adele in this version. She’s too old I think. But, this isn’t a bad thing for the movie because one of the worries everyone has for her is that she’ll become just like her mother, a French dancer, and you can tell she’s already become very flirtatious and coy.
6) Jane Eyre – 2011 – Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender
When I saw there was a new version starring Mia Whatsherface I was super excited. Then got very depressed when I found out the movie was only playing in select cities. However, when I finally got to watch it on video, I realized I didn’t miss much. It was good, but just kind of eh. I enjoyed it, but didn’t think it was all that great. It might help out on a test though.
I feel like I should point out I’ve never actually read Jane Eyre. I may have started it in high school, but got bored and watched the movie. Fie upon my younger self!