Book to Movie: Jane Eyre (2006 Mini-series)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

While I truly loved Focus Films' adaptation of Jane Eyre, I was sad about a few things that were left out and decided that I wanted to see a more comprehensive production (and, by the way, have you noticed there are approximately 387 productions of Jane Eyre? There is even a musical). So to my beloved Provo Library I went, and I was not disappointed.

Instead of going into in-depth analysis about the quality of the film and the cinematic elements (subjects I know nothing about, other than what pleases my eye and what doesn't), I am going to make for you a lovely little list of things I enjoyed about this movie. It is tied in my affections with the 2011 version, because they are both appealing for different reasons.

1. Lucy Pevensie plays the young Jane Eyre. (Okay, her real name is Georgie Henley). I hadn't seen her in anything but the Narnia films and I think she is adorable. It was nice to see her acting in a new type of role.

2. The gypsy scene is (somewhat) intact. It doesn't follow precisely with the book (AVERT THINE EYES IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS) - Mr. Rochester isn't dressed up as the gypsy; he has simply employed her. (SPOILERS END) Although the scene wasn't perfectly faithful to the novel, I do think it is important enough to be included.

3. For frivolity's sake -- I simply can't decide which Mr. Rochester I like better. I was completely taken with the portrayal in the 2011 film by Michael Fassbender, but I think that Toby Stephens may have beaten him out in this film. His emotions are brought wildly to the surface, and we see a bit of the madness that threatens him due to the burden of his wife, although it isn't allowed to take hold. Compare and decide for yourselves, oh readers.
Toby Stephens
Michael Fassbender
4. The veil scene happened, albeit quickly and still not as freakily as I would have hoped.

5. The end scene between Jane and Mr. Rochester was more powerful, I thought, in the 2006 version than in the 2011 version. I was more emotionally moved - I felt that their emotions were stronger and more present. It was honestly one of the more touching scenes I think I've seen in a movie ever.

Granted, there are also aspects of the Focus Films production I preferred. I loved the portrayal of St. John Rivers (although deplored the exclusion of Rosamund) and his sisters. The landscapes were breathtaking. The music was beautiful. And Jane herself was played very well by Mia Wasikowska.

Both films have something to offer is my point I suppose. The 2006 production of Jane Eyre is more thorough and certain scenes have more power, but the new 2011 adaptation is certainly not a film to miss.


  1. I haven't seen either one. :-( But 2011 is on my Netflix list. :-)

  2. Haven't seen this one, but I was recently told I must watch it because it's very good. High on my list, then.

    Question for you, though: I've never read Jane Eyre. I saw the Focus Films adaptation a few months ago and loved it, it was brilliant. But I don't understand why people love Mr. Rochester. He didn't seem redeemable to me. Maybe he's better in the book, but I really didn't like him as a person. Can you explain the fascination? Or do I really just need to read it?

  3. I ave not seen the newer film adaptation, but I love the one that you're reviewing here. It is, to date, my favorite of the various Jane Eyre adaptations I've seen.

  4. I really need to see the new version. I loved the 2006 version immensely, and agree with you about Toby Stephen's portrayal of Rochester--it was powerful! [Speaking of Toby Stephens performances, do check out the film adaptation of Anne Bronte's novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall--a simply superb novel and film!]. Great posting! I loved the comparison/contrasting of the two films. Cheers! Chris

  5. Agreed. I saw the two films in reverse order. The '06 was the first I ever watched and I absolutely loved it. Then the '11 came out and offered everything that I had counted as "missing" in the '06 and I couldn't decide which one I liked more.

    If you like comparing Jane Eyre, you should definitely pop on over to my blog. Over the past few weeks I've been comparing scenes from all the available adaptations.

  6. I love the 2006 series! I have only seen the first ten minutes of the 2011 movie, though - I didn't like it much so I stopped. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, so I'll try to watch it again, you make it sound good.

  7. @Jillian - They were both wonderful! Obviously not quite comparable to the book, but I always enjoy seeing a book I enjoyed in front of my eyes, even if it is different.

    @Allison - I agree with you that Mr. Rochester isn't the typical heartthrob leading man. I think for me part of it is in the character in the book. He is odd and quirky but passionate, and I think one of the best parts is the way he finds himself completely enchanted by Jane despite himself.

    @As the Crowe Flies and Reads - It seems like it is probably the most complete, although I haven't seen any earlier adaptations.

    @Chris - Thank you for the recommendation! I really need to read Anne Bronte's novels - I have them downloaded on my Kindle but just haven't gotten around to them yet. And knowing Stephens is in the movie is further impetus to get to the novel so I can watch it. Thanks!

    @LitLover - ooh, I will definitely have to stop by! Thank you for pointing that out!

    @Pepca - I thought the 2011 was strange in the place it started, although it was interesting to see it from that perspective. I can certainly see how it wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I'd give it a second chance. :)

  8. We read Jane Eyre in my Literature and Film class (great class, if you haven't taken it) and watched portions of several film adaptations including the 2006 version. That was definitely my favorite. The professor pointed out how that version shows Rochester's humor and I noticed that throughout the film. And I agree that the last scene is really powerful.

    Great book and movie! :)

  9. I like seeing his humor in this one too! I feel like everyone is down on Rochester (and granted, he does some horrible things) but I love how sarcastic he is. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I just saw this post, and have to say that the 2006 version portrays everything that I love about the book. To me, the 2011 version was just... missing something.

    1. I really loved the 2011 version but it definitely had a different interpretation. I think the 2006 was way more complete.


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