A prequel to "Jane Eyre." An Englishman in nineteenth-century Jamaica falls into a tortured marriage with a native Creole. When the woman begins to go mad, her husband takes her back to his gothic estate in England, where ... more »he locks her in the attic.« less
"Wide Sargasso Sea (John Duigan, 1993)John Duigan, who aggressively makes indie films, got the most notoriety of his career out of his adaptation of Jean Rhys' prequel to Jane Eyre. It's a very pretty thing, to be sure, but really-how much can you expect of any film made after the mid-eighties that plays up the casting of Michael York?Let's face it, the main reason to watch Wide Sargasso Sea is that Antioniette (Karina Lombard, whose biggest role since has been in Kull the Conqueror) and Amelie (Rowena King, most recently seen in Proof of Life), who are battling for the affections of Antoinette's husband Edward (Nathaniel Parker, whose days are occupied making the Inspector Lynley mysteries presently), spend a whole lot of their screen time unclothed. (One wishes the same could be said of Naomi Watts, who has a small part here, but one can't have everything.) The story itself is about as riveting as... well, let's put it this way. It's a prequel to Jane Eyre. They share a certain leisure of plot.Once Michael York's scenery-chewing is out of the way (he plays Antoinette's father, and is only seen in the scenes where she's young), the film settles down into a nice, quiet lull for the rest of its length. The scenery is beautiful, the bodies are beautiful, it's like Winged Migration with nudity and an attempt at a storyline. ** ½"
The Wide Sargasso Sea: A Rich and Thrilling Seachange
Aleta M. Daley | Norwich, CT | 06/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When "The Wide Sargasso Sea" was first released in New York, it had received excellent reviews, an R rating and very little attention. I just happened to see a small advertisement in the New York Times one day. It was the title alone that intrigued me. From the moment the film began with that sensual and evocative soundtrack, I sensed we were in for something truly different and original. "The Wide Sargasso Sea" is a brilliant collaboration of a gifted director, John Duigan, a strong, well paced screenplay and actors who are sublimely suited to their roles. Set in 19th century Jamaica,the screenplay transforms a fairly literal story by Jean Rhys into a rich and thrilling drama, which is driven as much by the individual conflicts and misunderstandings as it is by the cultural. "The Wide Sargasso Sea" is one of the few films that successfully combines the erotic with the lyrical;that depicts the complexity of human passion without becoming either literal or pedestrian. With its lush, exotic setting,it is easy to become enmeshed in the endlessly subtle and colorful aspects of this film from the psychological to the sociological, individual difference to social conventions. But the story of Antoinette and Edward is the story of the delicate and precarious balance between love and knowledge, intimacy and trust, choice and destiny. So that once seeing "The Wide Sargasso Sea", you will have to see it again. Years later I bought the VHS and found that "The Wide Sargasso Sea" is one of those superb films that stands the test of time. If only, the producers had recorded the soundtrack with music by Stuart Copeland and some wonderfully original, electronic interpretations of classical string quartets. Why didn't they?"
Best film on the Caribbean
Aleta M. Daley | 06/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is quite faithful to the tone and flow of the novel, which is now recognized as one of the great novels of the 20th century. I have been living in the Caribbean for the past year, and by doing so have more than ever begun to recognize the genius of this film. The film has a haunting quantity, and one can just feel the humid and seething sensuality of the place. The casting is wonderful, and the heroine is is a casting gem. She truly captures the vulnerability, possessiveness, and tragic qualities of Rhys' character. There really is no film that I know of that better captures the sense of the Caribbean as it was in the 18th/19th century better than this. A must see for those interested in the period, or the background to Jane Eyre."
Nice prequel to Jane Eyre
Robert J. Crawford | Balmette Talloires, France | 01/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many reviewers here did not like this, but I found it quite interesting. You get the young Rochester, and this time around his pre-crazy wife is shown completely sympathetically, like a victim of his insensitivity rather than the curse hidden away (that he had to bear due to fate alone). In my opinion, this adds depth to the characters. It is easy, of course, to interpret her insanity as inevitable, but I saw it as a role that was created for her in the marriage, and it didn't need to be that way - Rochester allowed it to happen, even participated in it, and so bears some responsibility; he then abandons her once a better life-style opportunity arises. Also, the film stands very well on its own; it was only after I saw it that I realized it was the characters from Bronte. The acting is very good, particularly Lombard.
Beautiful look at clash of cultures
Robert J. Crawford | 05/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie captures the eye throughout with beautiful scenery, colors and people. Though generally described as a sexy romance, the movie really looks at the clash of staid British culture (and imperialism) with the more emotional and erotic African/Creole peoples in the Caribbean. Not a perfect film, but filled with passion."