How To Choose Which Jane Eyre Adaptation To Watch.

I received many envy-inducing out of office replies while I was at work today, on a Sunday. Apparently none of my coworkers will be back in the office until January 4th, but don’t worry, in case of library emergency, please contact “insert my work email here”.  Merry, merry!

I’m not really quite so grinchy. By the time I get home tonight, I will be tired and ready to watch…Jane Eyre. It’s the holiday season (and super cold here in Denver) and I’m not inclined to take on any big projects, so movies are a good option for me. Which Jane? I do not know, but I did find this fantastic illustration to help you figure it out (Sky Friedlander is the brilliant illustrator behind this).

Jane Eyre Illustration Here’s my rough breakdown for those interested:

Jane Eyre (2011). The one with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. It’s gorgeous to watch, but lacks a lot of the novel’s depth. Despite being mostly modern, I pined after Jane’s hair and dresses throughout the film.

Jane Eyre (2006). Far and away, this is the best of the bunch. Rather a bit racy in comparison to the other.

Jane Eyre (1996). The one with Charlotte Gainsbourg. I saw this one before I read the book and fell in love with William Hurt. Don’t judge (yes, I know he’s not very good). I believed Anna Paquin was the best actress ever around the time I watched this. My opinion was based on Fly Away Home.

Jane Eyre (1983). Bond! And I did not care for Zelah Clarke as Jane, at all.

Jane Eyre (1997). Rochester was sometimes a jerk, but generally not an outright asshole.

Jane Eyre (1943). I like it, but not enough to watch it again. Calling Joan Fontaine plain is also quite a stretch.

Jane Eyre The Musical. I don’t know what to say, and no, I have not watched (or listened) to it.

Best of luck in choosing! Let me know if you have a favorite. I’ll likely watch part of the 2006 adaptation.

11 thoughts on “How To Choose Which Jane Eyre Adaptation To Watch.

  1. The 2006 BBC series? I liked it until The Affair was on tele here. Because it seems so wrong having the same actress in both – can’t separate them in my mind.


  2. Oh goodness, I don’t think I have ever seen a film adaption. And I am in that odd spot of wondering if I really ever did read this – I think so? would have been years and years and years ago? I probably should just go read it (again) and then watch all of these to pay for my doubting. THAT would serve me right.


  3. Love this! I’ve only seen the 1996, 2006 and 2011 ( as far as I can remember) and agree with you on all accounts. Now I want to go back and watch the BBC one because I just realized that Jane is the star on The Affair and she always looked familiar on the show.


  4. Agreed re: the 2011 adaptation: absolutely stunning with the cinematography and the soundtrack but lacked the depth of the novel (not to mention the abrupt ending *still sore about this*). I suppose I should check out the 1997 adaptation (for Ciaran Hinds, really) but yeah, the 2006 is still by far my favourite adaptation 🙂


  5. 2006 is definitely my favorite, though there’s a lot to like about the 2011 version too. I don’t care for the rest and I think I’ve seen them all, though I’m a little fuzzy about the Ciaran Hinds version. Usually I found that the actress playing Jane would be the one who is the most ‘off’ – not necessarily the actress’ fault in all cases, as it can be a matter of screenplay and directing as well. They don’t always capture the complexity of the character. They sometimes make her more “feisty”. That said, Zelah Clarke was the worst – very “twittery” or something, can’t put my finger on it. Prudish and prim, maybe? The actors playing Mr. Rochester don’t have as hard a job of it – mostly just have to be brooding, really.


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