I recently got lured back to Netflix with their offer to take another free month trial. I found that they have several Jane Eyre movies available in their streaming service. Miller and I watched three of them over the course of a week while the scientist was away. By now, I'm sure Miller wishes he'd never heard of Mr. Rochester.
I originally discovered Jane Eyre through the PBS Masterpiece version that I'll post at the end of this list. I read the book back when Miller was a baby, and I enjoyed it. Jane had a lot of bad things happen to her, and she was often treated unfairly. But she always remained a kind and forgiving person, and she never compromised her morals. She never came across to me as a very religious person, and yet she always conducted herself in a very Godly manner. I've always thought that she simply saw the value in doing things God's way, from a logical analysis of it. I find that refreshing.
This was the first Netflix Jane Eyre I watched:
It was made in 1996 and is 116 minutes long. I didn't particularly like this one. It was unmemorable. In fact, I abandoned it about 3/4 through. Later, though, I went back and watched the end. This Jane was a bit too un-animated for my taste, and Mr. Rochester was a bit too mean and rude. I felt their affection for each other was not believable. And there were some serious plot changes that really bothered me, particularly in the third section of the story. They completely changed the Saint John character and wove him in to the story in a different way. Dumb!
This was the second Netflix Jane Eyre I watched:
Edit: I re-watched this one, and realized that the Saint-John character was actually pretty faithful to the book - they just rearranged and put his part of the story at the beginning (!)
Here was the third Netflix Jane Eyre I watched.
This one was from 1983 and is a series with 11 half-hour episodes. I definitely prefer the series or mini series format, as they can include much more of the story and stay more faithful to the text. This Jane Eyre was a lot more lively than the previous two. I liked that, but it seemed to go a little too far - she was downright bubbly at times. This version would be my second favorite, although it did seem long. And I also have to say it felt very dated.
And finally, my favorite version of Jane Eyre, which I also recently watched again, but not on Netflix:
This one is a 2-part mini series from 2006. It is about 4 hours long. This one is pretty faithful to the book and includes much of the third part of the story. Mr. Rochester is severe but also endearing. Jane is reserved but shows emotion. Their developing love is believable. I really love this version. It is my favorite, and I have watched it many times, and I will watch it many more times I'm sure.
It was really interesting to watch so many versions back to back - to see the things they had in common and which things were different. I am reading the book again right now. I'm almost to the wedding. I like the book because it is told in first person, so you have a sense that eventually everything is going to work out for Jane.
This might sound like a strange comparison, but I've always thought that Sookie Stackhouse was a modern (if urban fantastical) version of Jane Eyre. They were both orphans, both different from their peers and often treated unkindly. Yet both were good people who always did what they thought was right, even knowing that doing so would cause them pain and trouble. And in the end they are both rewarded in the lives they lead. Just what I like in a good read.