Jane Eyre, one of the most profound books of all time has been read throughout time by a variety of people who all come from different backgrounds and lead different lives. Unfortunately, in my opinion the films were not able to capture the unique spark that Charlotte Brönte portrayed in her novel, and thoroughly lacked staying true to the book. People are able to learn not only so much about the time period in which Brönte was living in, but also many moral values and lessons that can help people lead a peaceful life from the book. 

The novel has been adapted to a film several times. However every time the films have failed to entertain the audience or provide any educational value. 

1934 Version

Despite this being the most comedic version of Jane Eyre, it continued to disappoint me as firstly, the camera angles were horrendous, with transitions between frames being even worse. To continue, in the original novel, Brönte has specifically made Jane to be a “plain...dull” protagonist. However, in this film, Jane is decked up like a model, creating an unrealistic representation of what Brönte would have wanted. To make things even worse, the director makes Rochester fall off his horse in an overly dramatic way, to then make the audience find out that he has only hurt his ankle after the fall. These series of events were laughable to the viewer and are unable to be taken seriously. 

Entertainment: 4/5

Education: 1/5

1970 Version

This film, similarly to the previous one, portrayed an unrealistic image of Jane who is meant to look “plain,” but did not. This is thoroughly frustrating, as neither does it capture what Brönte was trying to portray, but has also steered away from Jane Eyre’s character. To add to this travesty, the first shot of the scene shows the sun beaming, while the weather is pleasantly relaxing. This idyllic landscape is a complete contrast to how Rochester and Jane first meet, in dark and gloomy conditions, and more specifically at night. Although, unlike Jane’s character, Rochester was much more realistic to how Brönte describes him in her novel. However, Rochester’s over dramatic and Jane screaming atrociously after he does so, made me laugh in hysteria. 

Entertainment: 3/5

Education: 3/5

1973 Version

This version of the novel showed the director having chosen to adhere to the original book and set the meeting at night in an eerie and mysterious setting. I was pleased with this version a lot more than the others; voice overs were included to represent Jane's thoughts and ideas, which no other film has done. This helped the audience to get a better sense of Jane's character, and discover the intensity of her contained passion. The casting directors also succeeded in finding actors who were quite realistic to Brönte’s characters, thereby sticking to the book. The film also had Rochester reference to “Jane” as an elf, thereby including parts of the novel and helping increase the authenticity of the film. 

Entertainment: 3/5

Education: 4/5

1983 Version

Quite oddly, in this version of the novel, Rochester seems to have a semi-Scottish accent, which is highly amusing for the viewer due to it being incomprehensible. Despite this setback, Jane has thankfully been casted correctly. Furthermore, the actress has the ability to present Jane’s emotion and passion in the scene well. 

Entertainment: 3/5

Education: 3/5

2011 Version 

The most recent film version of Jane Eyre had this scene take place in the dark, like in the novel, and had a well casted actress. Not only did she look the part, but also acted well; the actress was able to portray Jane’s persona extremely well. However, once again my face fell when I realised that this scene was filled with overdramatic falls that simply don't make sense. To add to that, Rochester once again had a bit of a Scottish accent, for no apparent reason, making this film seem unusual. Although, it correctly presented the novel’s events and was excellent in terms of its educational value.

Entertainment: 4/5

Education: 5/5

Overall, the majority of the films were a comical watch, considering how radical and absurd they were; ranging from the overdramatic falls of Rochester all the way to his Scottish accent! However, they ranged in their level of educational value and how much they would help for a last minute revision session on Jane Eyre exams!

By Priyal Dhanjal