Distant period piece based upon Charlotte Bronte's novel. The story begins as
young penniless Jane (played here by Anna Paquin) is transferred from the cold and
uncaring home of her cruel aunt to a cold and uncaring boarding school. She manages
to survive her adolescent torment, and as a young woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is
hired to be the governess of the ward/daughter of the mysterious and wealthy Mr. Rochester
(William Hurt). Jane is smitten, but could it be that Mr. Rochester has one too many secrets?
The best word that describes this film is "cold". Not only does it sum up many of the
supporting characters' attitudes toward Jane, but it sums up the characterizations of Jane
and Mr. Rochester as well. They are both rather dispassionate folks, and nothing in Jane
Eyre ever occurs to truly draw in the audience. The strongest emotion Jane Eyre might arouse is pity,
particularly in its early boarding school segments. Without any distracting emotional attachments
to the characters, the viewer is left to analyze the surroundings of the picture, and, as in most
period pieces, they are nice to look at, but you're left with a feeling that there should be something more
to this film.
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