As imagined by Jean Rhys, the infamous madwoman in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre becomes an innocent, born into two cultures but belonging to none.
The exotic Caribbean confounds young Englishman Edward Rochester when he arrives in 1830s Jamaica to pursue his fortune. Nevertheless, he finds nothing to fear in beautiful Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway. She eagerly succumbs to his courtship, entrusting him with her dowry and her destiny. In the intoxicating surroundings of their honeymoon house, ecstatic lust turns to suspicion and betrayal as her world and his disastrously collide.
In this passionate and heartbreaking love story, the shadowy character created by one brilliant novelist becomes fully realized in the hands of another. Rafe Spall (The Chatterley Affair) and Rebecca Hall (The Prestige) star in a fresh adaptation that captures all the sensuality, suspense, and nuance of Rhys’s masterpiece.
Approximately 84 minutes, DVD Special Features: biography of Jean Rhys and Cast filmographies
Wide Sargasso Sea opens with Bertha escaping from her room and setting Mr. Rochester’s sitting room aflame. From there, the viewer is transported to the first meeting of Edward and Antoinette (Jean Rhys has decided to call give Bertha the name of Antoinette, I will not say the reason for the name change, it’s something that you should discover on your own).
Seemingly of sound mind and with a handsome dowry, Antoinette’s beauty and money attracted Edward, who as a second son has went to Jamaica to make his own fortune. Spending their honeymoon in a secluded house with only two servants to accompany them, they allow their passion to rule them.
When Edward encounters a man claiming to be Antoinette’s brother and family secrets are revealed, Edward begins to question who his wife really is and the revelation is enough to make him wish he hadn’t married her.
Highly sensual and utterly riveting, Antoinette’s descent into madness made it impossible to turn away from the telly. Rebecca Hall does a lovely and convincing job portraying the mercurial Antoinette. Although I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Rafe Spall’s portrayal of Rochester as I always see his character as a darker sort, yet twenty minutes into the film and I found that Rafe Spall’s portrayal was spot-on.
With it’s candlelit scenes and lush landscapes, Wide Sargasso Sea holds the viewer transfixed as it tells the tale of the early days of Rochester and Bertha’s marriage and his introduction to the madness that eventually consumed her.
I would like to thank BBC America Shop for sending me this dvd to review.
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