Marion Hart
November 08, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Jane Eyre (Movie - 1996)

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
112 minutes
performer
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anna Paquin, Geraldine Chaplin, William Hurt, Joan Plowright
director
Franco Zeffirelli
distributor
Miramax
author
Hugh Whitemore, Franco Zeffirelli
genre
Romance, Drama

We gave it an A-

Director Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre is full of striking big-screen images: rows of tombstones in an orphanage cemetery, stretches of unspoiled countryside rolling out to an overcast horizon. Those scenes are undiminished on video, but seeing Jane on TV shifts your focus to the turbulent emotional landscape, etched onto the delicate face of Gainsbourg’s Jane and the furrowed brow of Hurt’s Rochester. As the story unfolds — lonely governess Jane falls for her magnetic but damaged employer, Rochester, who’d marry her if it weren’t for his lunatic wife in the attic — you feel like you’re spying on two lovers grappling with fate. A renowned opera director, Zeffirelli endows Jane with that medium’s earmarks: visual splendor and empathic intensity. A-

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