Miramax Triple Feature [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Jane Eyre
Director Franco Zeffirelli stresses emotional realism over gothic chills in this restrained adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic. The screenplay, by Zeffirelli and Hugh Whitmore, remains relatively faithful to the original story, beginning with a condensed look at the troubled childhood of young Jane (Anna Paquin) and her mistreatment by a cruel aunt (Fiona Shaw). The bulk of the film centers on Jane as an adult (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a prim governess who accepts a position at Thornfield Hall caring for the young Adele (Josephine Serre). There Jane also must deal with the estate's head, Edward Rochester (William Hurt), a mysteriously brooding yet oddly alluring older man. She finds herself drawn to Rochester, but their potential romance is threatened by Jane's fears and Rochester's internal torment. Rather than the spooky visuals of earlier adaptations, Zeffirelli and cinematographer David Watkins opt for a subdued gloominess, placing emphasis on Gainsbourg's and Hurt's wounded portrayals. Fans of the gothic will likely find Zeffirelli's interpretation anemic in comparison to the passionate 1944 version with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, though others may appreciate the more naturalistic and faithful approach. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Becoming Jane
Events from the life of the author Jane Austen inspired this romantic historical drama, which speculates of a romance that may have had a significant impact on her life and work. Twenty-year-old Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) is the daughter of Rev. Austen (James Cromwell), a minister who looks after a flock in a small rural community in Southern England with his wife (Julie Walters). While her older sister, Cassandra (Anna Maxwell Martin), is engaged to be married, Jane resists her family's efforts to match her up with Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox), the wealthy but dull nephew of Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith), a minor member of the British nobility. Jane has the heart of an artist, and hopes to distinguish herself as a musician or a writer, though her parents don't think much of her prospects. When Jane meets Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), a young man her own age, she's intrigued; while he scoffs at her writing style, he clearly sees she has talent, and is eager for her to learn more of the larger world by exposing her to more daring literature and modern pastimes such as boxing. As Tom begins to court Jane, she finds herself increasingly attracted to this poor but keenly intelligent man, though she soon realizes her own ideas about love and marriage are sometimes at odds with the conventions of the society in which she lives. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Brideshead Revisited
Evelyn Waugh's classic novel of love and the British class system has been given a polished screen adaptation in this film version from director Julian Jarrold. The tale opens during WWII, when Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode), an English military officer, is stationed at a country estate that has been converted into a military base. Jarrold uses this time-frame and setting as a framing device, and then flashes back in time to Charles' days as a scholar in the 1920s. It becomes clear that he was raised in a middle-class household; though he was fortunate enough to have been accepted into Oxford, he doesn't belong to the British upper crust. At Oxford, Charles strikes up a friendship with twentysomething Lord Sebastian (Ben Whishaw). Charles is captivated by the splendor of Sebastian's life at his family's Brideshead Castle, and he finds himself drawn into a web of decadent comfort. For Sebastian, though, the familial estate represents a prison from which he longs to escape, and in desperation, he hits the bottle. Charles develops an infatuation with Sebastian's sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell), but also senses that his bond with Sebastian may be something far deeper than simple friendship. Also present at Brideshead is Sebastian and Julia's mother, Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson), an ice water-veined woman still reeling from her abandonment some time prior at the hands of her husband. Though bitter, the matriarch perceives Charles as an emotional anchor for the increasingly unstable Sebastian, and therefore suggests that Charles join Sebastian and Julia on a trip to see their father (Michael Gambon) and his mistress (Greta Scacchi) in Venice. Unfortunately, the romantic bond between Charles and Julia deepens, which threatens to destroy Sebastian. This feature constitutes the second major version of Brideshead Revisited to reach viewers; an earlier, 11-hour miniseries adaptation ran on television in 1981. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • William Hurt
    William Hurt - Edward Rochester
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg
    Charlotte Gainsbourg - Jane Eyre
  • Joan Plowright
    Joan Plowright - Mrs. Fairfax
  • Anna Paquin
    Anna Paquin - Young Jane
  • Geraldine Chaplin
    Geraldine Chaplin - Miss Scatcherd

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