Made-for-TV BBC feature-length adaptation of Jean Rhys's prequel novel to Jane Eyre. Sumptuously shot with a minimal cast, it focuses on the troubled marriage between Edward Rochester (Rafe Spall) and Antoinette (who became the madwoman in the attic). Their courtship is touchingly but concisely portrayed, forced together by family pressures. Edward Rochester is the second son of a family with a good name and has been sent to Jamaica to find his own fortune and marry a well dowried wife. Antoinette is a beautiful creole with £30,000. Their early passion is soon cooled by a whispering campaign amongst the local servants and Antoinette's half-brother.
The dialogue is often dubbed over jumpy editing and creates an unsettling effect, augmented by the heavy soundtrack of wildlife and atmospheric music, when, really, the actors were doing a good enough job by themselves. The soundtrack does, however, recreate the over-sensuous feel of the book, the bewildering over-stimulation of love in a strange place.
Nugget: at 85 minutes this is sensibly concise. Just a shame it had to be cut in half by the 10 O'Clock News on BBC1.