I almost wrote about this last week, but I felt I had to see the second part before I could really say anything. The new BBC Masterpiece Theatre Jane Eyre, I watched it the last two Sunday evenings, and I saw that it was good. Not perfect, of course, and watching made it clear I need to read Jane Eyre again soon, as I wasn’t certain of my memory of it. But overall, I find this a Jane Eyre I can love. Mostly thanks to Ruth Wilson as she was the first Jane since Zelah Clarkethat has had, in my opinion, the right balance of reserve and spunk. Now let’s see, Mr. Rochester – the other piece of the puzzle imperative for satisfaction: Toby Stephens seemed too young and a bit too small to me, and I would have welcomed just a touch more brooding, a few more blazing stares, but overall, I have to say, I liked him. His hair was atrocious; it was delightful! True, he was Timothy Dalton, but let us not forget, Timothy had his own flaws – far too good looking to play Rochester. Here’s what the new mini-series has to offer that the old is so sadly lacking (by the way, I only acknowledge these two Jane Eyres – please never mention any other film version to me; they aren’t worthy of the same title as these two), setting and cinematography. The old mini-series was shot on video. It’s so sad; such a a crime to the performances the actors give.
I will love it always, but to have the pleasure to watch Jane and Mr. Rochester strolling through the gardens, gazing from windows of the delightfully sinister Thornfield Hall, I just love it. Mind you, this modern fast cutting camera work Masterpiece Theatre has adopted must stop, it’s been bothering me for a while now. But to look at the two mini-series side by side is painful.
So there’s my take. The first mini-series can never be replaced, but I wouldn’t feel guilty owning this version in addition; I thought it quite good.