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Jonny Lee Miller
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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
...but now I am truly hooked. As I waited patiently for each hour of more Jane, I grew to admire the way the book was handled. Yes, much of Jane's past is missing, but what is there is captivating. Georgie Henley is scarily mature - more than she has a right to be - and her understanding of young Jane's gravity and passion was wonderfully portrayed.
When Ruth Wilson took the scene, I didn't see at first how she was the unearthly Jane I had read. But it became clearer and clearer, and by far she is the most human and understandable Jane yet. Her face speaks volumes as she says nothing. "That face," comments Toby Stephens' Rochester. It is true. Though we see her silent face many times, we have no problem guessing exactly what she is feeling.
At first, I thought Toby was disappointing. I quite liked the sarcasm of William Hurt in the 1996 version, and Mr. Stephens seemed more brash than sarcastic, more flirting than teasing. But it was the chemistry that quite obviously grew between these two characters that has solidified Toby Stephens as Edward Fairfax Rochester for me. For the first time in a movie version, I realized how much the two had become friends first, and then soul mates.
Two other things were handled extraordinarily. The sex and the scary. From dark corridors and floating candles, burning beds, portraits of mad people and blood dripping, Susanna White got her Gothic right. It is almost a ghost story. This suspense keeps the story from being overly lovey-dovey, and shows a real contrast between the white taffeta-covered aristocracy, and the darkly-clad Jane in Rochester's dim study.
As for the X factor, this is not Jane Austen. Women can have conversations with men alone in rooms. Dark-haired, exotic beauties can seduce with a look, cheat with a smile and sin the world round. All of it is not afraid to show up in this version. Rochester and Jane's connection, displayed quite innocently and platonic in some versions, blazes with passion in this. The flashbacks in the final hour of series are some of the steamiest and most emotionally charged parts of this production.
It's heart-warming, passionate, suspenseful, full of beautiful scenery and costuming; all in all, a whole 4 hours of excellent entertainment. Don't miss out.
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