Jane Eyre (1996)

Franco Zeffirelli adapts Charlotte Bronte and the result is a 
starchy, slow-moving soap opera that, depending upon your sense and 
sensibility about these things, will leave you either swooning or 
sick to your stomach.  The plot revolves around a homely governess 
(Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her adventures in a gothic mansion full 
of secrets and other surprises.  (That mansion is great, BTW.  I 
half-expected to see Uncle Fester scurrying by in the background.) 
Zeffirelli's film has an EYRE of cheesiness about it; from the 
sweeping music-accompanied scene changes, to the self-important 
dialogue delivery, done so slowly that you can almost count to ten 
between each line.  (Unlike, say, those Austen adaptations, which 
are far from trashy.)  The international cast is quite a treat.  
Ms. Gainsbourg is all neck, William Hurt is very good, and Joan 
Plowright, fresh the deadly duo of MR. WRONG and THE SCARLET 
LETTER, is her usual smiling self.  Other familiar faces include 
Anna Paquin, Amanda Root, Fiona Shaw, and, even, Elle MacPherson.  
The audience that I saw this with applauded at the end, but were 
they happy at the outcome, or just happy that it was over?  (Rated 
"PG"/116 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: April 27, 1996

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