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In this prequel to Jane Eyre, Edward Rochester finds himself in Jamaica looking to make his fortune. As the second son, the expectation is that his brother will inherit the family estate and so his future must lie elsewhere. He soon meets Antoinette Cosway and is offered a substantial dowry to marry her. Only after the wedding does he learn of her family history, including the madness that afflicted her mother. Their relationship in a constant downward spiral, he decides that they should return to England where he keeps her locked away in her room. Written by
I loved this place. I loved it with all my heart, and now you've made it a place I hate. I used to think if I lost everything I would still have this, but now I have nothing and I hate it like I hate you and I swear before I die I will show you just how much!
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Running 1:24, about 15 minutes shorter than the 1993 film, this one cut out much more of the plot, apparently by design as much as necessity. We never see Antoinette's traumatic childhood experiences or her convent-school education; she mentions them briefly later.
After a lead-in scene previewing her time at Thornfield, the movie begins with Antoinette meeting Rochester for the first time. Some of its main drawbacks are immediately apparent. Antoinette, despite her West Indies upbringing, is portrayed as speaking with a native English accent (with occasional hints of Scots); she also comes across as more cheery and self-assured than in the book. Meanwhile, Rochester's brusque, rapid mumbling is often hard to understand.
This production focuses almost exclusively on the one main relationship, with far less effort devoted to adding island "flavor" or other atmospheric components. Scenes of Antoinette and Rochester dominate the screenplay: their excitement at meeting and marrying each other, their passionate physical encounters, their later conflicts as Rochester grows uncertain about her background and his situation. We see a bit less of the scheming Christophine and the seductive Amelie and only the tiniest evidence of other servants. Daniel Cosway, bearer of secrets about Antoinette's past, appears suddenly, rather than making himself known to Rochester through letters. It all feels a bit rushed.
Labeled NR (Not Rated), the film contains a few bits of female frontal nudity, some naked bodies placed strategically so nothing much shows, and lots of shadowy groping and panting.
This film features some beautiful scenery and nice production values (film angles, lighting, costumes, etc.). Due to its questionable portrayals and abbreviated plot lines, though, I wouldn't recommend it as highly as the 1993 version.
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