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Back in early 2011, As part of my quest to prepare for the release of Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre adaptation, I decided to watch as many of the previous films as possible to give me some context. I’ll be re-posting these reviews from my old blog over the next few days.

“Well,” said Nick* as the credits for the 1997 version of Jane Eyre, starring Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds, began to roll, “that was devoid of emotional impact.”

JaneeyreIIAnd yeah, it was. It was the kind of adaptation so stilted, so weakly scripted, that I cringed with embarrassment several times.

In a previous post in this series, I discussed one of my issues with book to film translation. This movie tried to cram a lot in, but with next to no respect for the material. There were some scenes that were so chopped up, so stripped of meaning, I wondered why the filmmakers had bothered to keep it at all. Wouldn’t it be so much better to simply choose the scenes you believed to be the most important, and make them mean something?

The script was gawdawful, which there’s no excuse for, since the dialogue in the novel is excellent and really needs very little altering.

Samantha Morton was okay, but she didn’t have much to work with. Ciaran Hinds, normally a competent actor, was hamming it UP. There was no chemistry between the two; their scenes together felt creepy and again, embarrassing.

I could barely pay attention to this movie, and I’m as manic a fan of the book as it is possible to be. One lightning bolt, for Samantha Morton’s effort at making something out of this travesty.

 

*Loyal spouse who binge-watches adaptation of Victorian novels with me.

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