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The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.
The T.V. adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre is about a young woman who becomes governess to the ward of Mr. Rochester, a brooding and enigmatic man. She falls in love with him. But what secrets lie in his past and threaten to enter his future? Written by
Jane Eyre is a tough adaptation. You need a host of competent actors for the minor roles, good child actors and a brooding, fiery Bronte hero for Rochester, capable of attaching a variety of women and inspiring devotion in one of literature's great heroines.
There have been plenty of great Rochesters, George C Scott and Ciaran Hinds to name but two, and Toby Stephens may be another. The ladies certainly seem to think so.
But in Ruth Wilson we may finally have a memorable Jane Eyre. An actress who is strikingly beautiful but not superficially pretty. Who can look dour and empty, who is believably dull and innocent and yet simultaneously contains the fire for a great love story. She has fabulous poise and control. Only the smallest alterations of expression are required to communicate changing emotions bubbling below the surface. One of the reasons it fits so well into four hours is that Ruth can do 10 pages of prose with one change of expression. Adorable.
It goes along at a fair old pace. Jane is into and out of Lowood in the first 10 minutes. But the texture is right. The two central characters have sparked on and off each other very convincingly.
Will it be the one?
(After the Final Episode) There's no doubt. It is THE one. Started extremely well and got better and better. There are so many outstanding moments between the two leads and not just in the big scenes. Watch Ruth Wilson's incredible acting in the stairwell as she summons up the courage to enter the tower room to nurse Mason, balanced by Toby's concern followed by his wordless decision to trust her. Or his petulance as he welcomes her return from Gateshead, turning to delight in Jane's pleasure in coming home. The last episode is unforgettable. As good as television gets.
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