Franco Zeffirelli's compelling screen interpretation of Charlotte Bronte's classic 1847 novel Jane Eyre is brave, brooding, and enchanting.
Anna Paquin plays the young Jane as a fierce individualist who suffers various indignities at the hands of some tyrannical adults. Charlotte Gainsbourg reveals the soulful depths of the older Jane as a capable but reticent governess at the spooky estate of the moody, remote, and seductive Rochester (William Hurt).
From their first encounter, they are kindred spirits, slowly and cautiously opening up to each other. Zeffirelli teases the passion out of these two anguished individuals as they move beyond the divides of employer and employee, nobleman and commoner. When Jane's soul finally finds its full expression, we rejoice in the fulfillment of her ardent search for love and respect. This is by far the most convincing and mesmerizing screen interpretation of Jane Eyre that's been done.