The movie, WIDE SARGASSO SEA, based on the novel by Jean Rhys, is a prequel to the 19th-century Charlotte Bronte novel, JANE EYRE, and tells of sexual obsession between a transplanted English aristocrat (the young Mr. Rochester) and the French island beauty, he takes as his wife. Edward Rochester sails to the West Indies in the 1840’s to begin an arranged marriage to the exotic-looking Antoinette Cosway. Antoinette is nothing like the English girls he has known, and they are wonderfully happy together–until a letter from a certain Daniel arrives telling Rochester about the insanity of Antoinette’s mother and the probable latent insanity of Antoinette. The letter serves to warn Rochester of his marriage’s impending doom.
The film has received an NC-17 rating because of its sensuality and violence. The Jamaican atmosphere is so vivid that it comes as a mild shock to be thrust suddenly into the world of Northern England, Thornfield Hall, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. There isn’t a great deal to this film other than interesting scenery (interesting, rather than beautiful, because the viewer feels the oppressiveness of the heat and the ubiquity of the insects), great-looking period costumes, occultism, extreme violence, adultery, and a whole lot of nudity and feverish sex. The performances are great, but who cares about these characters? These people are nothing more than selfish, sensual, boring, malcontents.
(A/D, NNN, O, SSS, VVV) Alcohol abuse; extensive nudity--male and female; occultism; graphic sex and adultery; and, extreme violence.