Well, one of the most powerful scenes from this story is when Jane and Mr. Rochester finally discuss their future. To understand what each character is dealing with, and what actors should be portraying in the movie or series adaptations, some info (spoilers!):
a) Jane has finally found a soulmate, that really adores her because of her inner qualities.b) But after realizing she's in love with him and that he cares about her, she finds out that he's going to get married with an aristocratic lady he has nothing in common with. At least that's what she believes.c) She has been on an emotional roller coaster for months now, her mind is probably very tired of thinking every moment how to solve the situation.d) Rochester had a very terrible life: the woman he married turned out to come from a family that, like Cary Grant would say, "Insanity doesn't run in the family, it gallops". So after she went completely nuts and even attacked him, he decided to secretly take care of her in the castle instead of sending her to a mental hospital.e) To this depressed and troubled man, the Jane Eyre's inner calmness, understanding and intelligence is the best that could happen to him. But he has to keep his secret and by proposing he's also defying social rules and risking their friendship.
Well, some guy at Imdb compiled the proposal scene of a lot of adaptations, the scene where all the emotions described in the list (should) finally flourish. I haven't seen every adaptation, so I'll comment what I see. I'll embed the pivotal videos, and link the others.
1943 Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles did a good job, considering the movie left out a lot of details...but I don't like the special effects added, they make the scene look creepy.
1972 The guys in this Czech black and white adaptation did a decent job...but overall they don't nail the emotions described: she looks more angry and pissed off and Rochester seems too relaxed (Scene | Imdb)
1983 This one is considered one of the best adaptations, and Timothy Dalton one of the best Rochester...I don't like the actress' performance, kind of bland and recitative (Imdb)
1996 I remember seeing this film as a kid and loving it. My younger-self approves Franco Zefirelli's version. (Scene | Imdb)
1997 Reading some comments I thought this one was awful, but it's ok. The girl does a great job and Ciarán Hinds looks ok. (Scene | Imdb)
2007 The BBC's mini series adaptation is my personal favorite. I love Toby Stephens (son of Maggie Smith) as Mr. Rochester, here he makes you feel that this moment is crucial, that he's thinking every word, that his happiness is at stake. And Ruth Wilson decided to play the scene as Jane's final relief, with all the emotions she restrained for so long pouring out, with sadness, impotence, anger...something you can't control. I always end up crying here. Awesome!
2011I overall liked the latest movie version, but I felt the final editing was wrong: they cut out a lot of scenes that were filmed and were interesting. The way the proposal part is presented is too rushed, very circumstantial; and of all the emotions she could have shown, Mia Masikowska picked anger as the main one... or at least that's why I interpret from that disdainful look she gives Mr. Rochester every two seconds.
What do you think? Which one is your personal favorite?