From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
I vividly remember sitting in the theatre in 2005 waiting for the curtain to rise on the new Pride & Prejudice movie starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden. I was excited that one of my favorite Jane Austen novels was being trotted out as a major motion picture. It had been 65 years since MGM released its theatrical version of Pride and Prejudice and I was looking forward to two hours of sumptuous costumes and eye-popping settings that were not set in the Victorian era!
A New Mr. Darcy
I had been reading about the Focus Features production for months on the Internet, especially at Austenblog, where the editrix Mags had been following the media promotional machine very closely. I had no idea who the British actor slated to portray the iconic romantic hero Mr. Darcy was. My sympathy for him was already acute. How could he possibly fill those big, black, shiny Hessian boots that Colin Firth’s strode about in so effortlessly in 1995? Queue fanfare music and red velvet curtain rising at the theater.
Overcoming Pride and Prejudice, Again
Since this movie was released eight years ago and has been available on DVD since February 2006, is there Janeite left in the world who has not seen it? Just in case you don’t know what it is about here is the blurb from the production notes:
Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?
An Entirely New Interpretation of Austen’s Story
Adapted from Jane Austen’s classic novel by Deborah Moggach, with a spit polish on the dialogue by Emma Thompson (uncredited), director Joe Wright had a definite vision of what his movie version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice would be—and it is entirely different from what we had seen on screen or television before. Even though he assembled a fine cast of British actors, and a talented production team to relay his concept, my first impressions were ill-favored. However, the movie is appreciated by many and received four Academy Award nominations, including best actress for Knightley. Some Austen fans absolutely adored it—others not so much. I remained in the grey zone. Even after many years and several viewings, I am ambivalent, and that is the problem. The good stuff seemed to cancel out the bad stuff and left me in Switzerland.
Television Mini-Series VS. Movie Version
Comparing it to its predecessors is unfair, but it is inevitable. This movie is only two hours and nine minutes long, versus the five hours plus 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries. For those who enjoyed the Colin Firth version, which attentively followed much of Austen’s plot and included many lines of her dialogue, the transition to a shorter length will seem truncated—and rightly so. Wright’s version is set in the late eighteenth century and not in the prettified early nineteenth century of the 1995 miniseries. Honestly, the fashions in the late eighteenth century are not as striking as the Regency era. Are we swayed by pretty things? Heck yes!
Deeper Social Chasm
The most disturbing difference in the two versions is in the social chasm between the two adaptations Bennet families. The 2005 version’s clothing, furnishing, attitudes, and manners are decidedly lower in station, bordering upon peasant class. This stark contrast makes the social class difference between the heroine Elizabeth Bennet’s lower-class landed gentry upbringing and the very wealthy and refined upper-class Mr. Darcy very wide indeed, and all the more amazing that he chooses her as his bride. Love truly wins the day.
What Would Austen Say?
In the 2005 adaptation, Austen still has the final say on many social issues she was chiding in her novel, but the Byronic depths that screenwriter Moggach and director Wright use to achieve their vision of the story were disappointing. Of note: Austen would have cringed during the first proposal scene with Elizabeth and Darcy. Her hero was never meant to be a wet, sad-eyed puppy, nor her heroine tempted to kiss him.
The Good Stuff
At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, I will say that there were changes and interpretations that I did like. The family dynamics were interesting to watch in both the Bennet and the Bingley household. The Bennet sisters seemed more in tune with each other and concerned about each other’s welfare. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are more affectionate and logical. While this seemed more agreeable over-all, it made the dynamics rather bland and canceled out what Austen achieved in her characterizations. There were a few performances that held the dictum. Simon Woods as Charles Bingley really gave the standout performance of the film adding an empty-headed and open-hearted suitor that was truly endearing. Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins was hysterical. Will we ever think about potatoes in the same way again? Judi Dench is by far the most imposing and imperious Lady Catherine de Bourgh to date. Her hot laser stare sent chills up the back of my neck during the scene at Longbourn when she asks Elizabeth to deny an engagement to her nephew, Mr. Darcy.
The Not So Good Stuff
Matthew Macfadyen as the proud hero had a fabulous speaking voice which was really a plus, but what the director made his character do really canceled out his finer qualities. Keira Knightley as the decidedly impertinent Lizzy Bennet did have her moments of spark and fire, but an Oscar nomination? Hardly. I understand the “you have bewitched me body and soul” ending was added for the benefit of American audiences. One assumes by this addition that we did not like how Austen had written it? We were not amused. The music by Dario Marianelli saved the entire film for me. Happily, it is the last thing we hear as the credits roll.
A Pig in the Kitchen?
This review would not be complete if I did not mention the pig in the kitchen scene. Honestly, it was a low point in the movie for me. Why it was added I shall never understand. May I speak for Austen fans everywhere and say we are appalled? Now the tomato throwing may commence.
A Great Introduction for the Uninitiated
In the end this film version of Pride and Prejudice was beautifully produced, visually stunning, and quite humorous. The English manor houses (including Chatsworth where some claim that Austen got her inspiration for Pemberley from) were a welcome visit. The comedy was a highlight as were the ensemble of British actors. I recommend this version to the uninitiated as an introduction to Austen on film to teens and those adults who skipped the 1995 mini-series because of the five hour running time. The 2005 Pride and Prejudice is total eye candy to those who love period dramas, and for those who need a short respite in England with Jane Austen.
4 out of 5 Stars
- Pride & Prejudice (2005)
- Studio: Focus Features
- Director: Joe Wright
- Screenplay: Deborah Moggach based on the novel by Jane Austen
- Length: (129) minutes
- Genre: Period Drama, Romantic Drama
- Mr. Bennet — Donald Sutherland
- Mrs. Bennet — Brenda Blethyn
- Jane Bennet — Rosamund Pike
- Elizabeth Bennet — Keira Knightley
- Mary Bennet — Talulah Riley
- Kitty Bennet — Carey Mulligan
- Lydia Bennet — Jena Malone
- Sir William Lucas — Sylvester Morand
- Charlotte Lucas — Claudie Blakley
- Mr. Bingley — Simon Woods
- Caroline Bingley — Kelly Reilly
- Mr. Darcy — Matthew Macfadyen
- Mr. Wickham — Rupert Friend
- Mr. Collins — Tom Hollander
- Lady Catherine de Bourg — Judi Dench
- Colonel Fitzwilliam — Cornelius Booth
- Mrs. Gardiner — Penelope Wilton
- Mr. Gardiner — Peter Wight
- Georgiana Darcy — Tamzin Merchant
We purchased a copy of the movie for our own enjoyment. Images courtesy of Focus Features © 2005. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, austenprose.com. Updated 3 April 2022.
I loved that movie. I never got to see the version with Colin Firth, but I can honestly say I didnt find this movie the least bit upsetting. I loved the actors’ performances and the soundtrack was equisite. Its one of myfavorite movies to watch!!
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I love the book. I loved the Colin Firth miniseries. And I LOVED the 2005 movie. There was nothing about it that I didn’t like. I thought the casting was fabulous. For once, Jane was really beautiful, as she’s supposed to be. The cinematography and music were first-rate. Of course, it’s shorter and had to leave out a few plot elements. That’s true with most book to movie adaptations. But I can sit down and watch it any time I want instead of having to wait for a holiday in order to justify the time commitment of either the miniseries or re-reading the book.
And Matthew Macfadyen? No need to feel sorry for him. He more than held his own. I loved him. He’s everything I pictured Mr. Darcy to be. And I was more breathless watching him walk across the meadow than I ever was watching Colin Firth come out of the water. That felt gratuitous while the meadow literally took my breath away.
I loved this movie (and this Mr. Darcy) so much that I wrote a book that Austenprose reviewed just a few days ago called My Own Mr. Darcy. As you can see, I not only loved this movie, I found it inspiring.
sammiek25, you really do need to see the Colin Firth version! You are missing an adaption that focused on being as true to the book and time period as possible, and is different enough from the 2005 version that you will not find them in competition.
I found the 2005 film a little disappointing (which didn’t stop me from buying it on DVD and rewatching), because it had too strong of a Gothic romance atmosphere, more Bronte than Austen. In itself, it is a fun way to retell the story. The Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson version with the major plot changes and completely the wrong costumes, better captured the sparkling wit of the original. (In spite of it all, Olivier is still my favorite Darcy. Just think what he would have done with a faithful script.)
What is so great about this story is that in another 20 years someone will do another remake, and we will all eagerly see it, too.
I had similar reactions to this one. I both loved certain things, but other things I didn’t like. Pig made me laugh, but yeah, not a high point of the story. I did prefer the more austere Darcys like Rintool and Firth, but its because of how I pictured him after reading the book. At the same time, I really loved that it was on the earlier time line being more Georgian than Regency because that’s when she originally wrote First Impressions and I did enjoy the more familial Bennets of this one more than the others.
Here’s my latest toward the challenge. I enjoyed Alexa Adam’s Holidays at Pemberley for my 18th entry. Good Reads review link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/758063157
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I have read the book many times and each time i see this movie, I try to match the events (the important ones from my point of view) with the book. I agree the proposal in the movie didn’t agree as i have always pictured as in the book. I also failed to understand the pig event. But overall the movie was good and for non readers it would be a good regency movie.
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At no point in this film is there any pig (or any other live animal) in any kitchen.
And the scene in with the word “bewitched” occurs (a word also used by Austen in the novel, btw.) is not the ending in any version of the film either.
I get the feeling this was written a very long time after you saw the film. Maybe you should give it another go.
Thank you! I wrote a whole blog post (here) about how the pig is clearly not inside the house.
This version has it’s faults. So does the 1995. For me, the book will always be the best, but I can enjoy both this and the 1995 on their own merits too.
I reviewed this several months ago, and Ialso put it second to the Colin Firth version. My reading for this month was a new book focusing on the period between the engagement and the wedding, Violet Bedford’s Betrothed to Mr. Darcy. See it at http://homecomingbook.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/betrothed-to-mr-darcy-by-violet-bedford-review-ian1/
I completely understand all your reservations, Laurel Ann. I didn’t particularly enjoy the film the first time I saw it, but I went with a friend who completely loved it and begged me to go a second time; on the second viewing, having put aside all my disgruntlement over what I didn’t like, the sheer romance of the story (I am a sucker for P&P in all forms!), the beautiful cinematography and the score pulled me in.
Like you, I found Judi Dench’s Lady Catherine superb and I loved Simon Woods as Bingley. One other thing I did like was that the Bennet sisters seemed more appropriately cast in terms of age. I always felt that in the 95 series some of the girls came across as a little too old, and I think Rosamund Pike was a beautiful Jane.
I made my peace with it long ago over the things that didn’t ring true to the book because I simply love the story. I can watch any of the films, series, plays, in any interpretation and I’ll always find something I love about it somewhere. :)
Thank you for sharing your review; I really enjoyed reading it, and I loved your reference to being ‘in Switzerland’ on it!
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I disliked the film totally. I have only managed to see it twice. Macfadyen spoke much too quickly, Bingley was turned into an idiot, and the plot flaws!, and I made the mistake of watching the American ending, oh dear
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I love P & P but not this movie version. I honestly have to admit that I could not make it through the entire film. I found Kiera Knightley so annoying and so completely miscast that I couldn’t get past it. Having said all that, I am sure that Laurel Ann’s assessment was spot on!
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I too experienced quite a bit of angst with this version. After alot of reflection, I decided that the spirit of the story was there but remained disturbed at the failure of the movie to adequately portray the strength of Elizabeth and Jane’s relationship. This version did seem to resonate more with a less Janeite audience and I am grateful for anything that makes a new generation want to know more about Austen. I do have a DVD which I use when I want a quick fix but dont have time for the 95 version. Having said that I love the reference to Switzerland and I join you there.
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I am one of the ones who loved the movie. Maybe it is my love for Matthew Macfadyen or Keira Knightly, or maybe it’s because it can be watched in a fraction of the time of the BBC version. Maybe it’s because the heart of the story remains and that is enough for me. I watch this movie all the time and never tire of it. Yes, the pig in the kitchen scene was pointless and unneeded, but the rest of the movie was perfect. I won’t watch the American version. I hate the last scene with Darcy and Elizabeth deciding what he should call her. I always turn it off for that scene. The rest of it though, I was quite pleased with. Yes, there are differences between it and the book, but it’s foolish to believe that people don’t see books differently and that any movie will be as good as the books we love. Plus, directors need to do something to give them an edge. You don’t want to come across as a copy-cat. Changes happen and you have to roll with them. For everything it was, I enjoyed it.
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I went into the theater prepared to hate the film, and I walked out a convert. This is a film that I have watched too many times to count. Yes, it is a departure in tone, costume design from the BBC mini series, but I still love it. Wright sets the scenes up like portraits. He’s now one of my all time fav directors because of this film. I highly recommend watching the director’s cut of the film. He addresses the Elizabeth – Jane relationship. They wanted to show over the course of events the sister moving away from each other.
All that being said, Firth is the quintessential Darcy, for me at least. I did enjoy Macfadyen, esp the sunrise declaration of love. It worked for me.
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I really didn’t like that movie. I felt it sanitized Austen’s wit, particularly with Mr. and Mrs Bennet, taking the absurdity away from Collins and Lady Catherine. Longbourn would not have been that shabby – Mr Bennet may not be in Darcy’s league but he certainly could afford to paint his walls. I found Macfadyen and Knightley’s acting atrocious, particularly in the first half of the movie. It totally negated Caroline Bingley’s and the Gardiner’s importance to the story, not to mention eradicating the Hursts altogether. Charles Bingley was reduced a 2 dimensional cardboard cutout shadow of himself — I really had to wonder what Jane Bennet saw in him. The movie was hard to follow even with my familiarity with the books and my friends who were not familiar with the story were confused as all get out what it was about. The one thing I can say about the movie was that it had beautiful cinematography.
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I liked this remake and own and watch it regularly. I have also seen the A&E version several times and is actually how I was introduced to Pride & Prejudice. I love Macfayden’s Mr. Darcy, but agree with others; I’d love to have seen him in a more faithful adaptation. I think the biggest appeal of this version is the brevity, which is great if you already know the plot. I made my husband watch this with me and I filled in the details left out of the plot lines. If I hadn’t done that, he would have dismissed the movie altogether as illogical. I also had him watch the A&E version with me (over several nights), which was a real chore for him because of the length and as he put it “the great amount of words.”
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As a huge fan of ‘North and South’, both book and BBC film, I can understand the dilemma of trying to love both versions of a favorite story. I forgive all the unrealistic and off-canon twists the movie version of N&S made to make the story come alive in the film medium AND to make the movie appeal to the average modern movie goer. What this movie version of P&P got right was the emotion of the story. Gosh, and it was beautiful to watch! The impact of sights and sounds and the drama of the unfolding story was done well, even if certain liberties were taken that were recognizable to those who know the text very well. It was a beautiful love story, based very closely on Austen’s famous story. Beautiful film. I love it. It was a resounding success as a film piece. Oh and the music…!
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I agree, this version was awful!!! The BEnnett’s had a butler, maids and cook but the 2005 version did make them look like peasants, not country squires. The women never seemed to wear hats which may sound like a trite complaint but hats were a symbol and were worn as status as well as protection. Mr. And Mrs. Bennett did not seem believable to me at all. I only watched it once as that was all i could manage, despite adoring Judi Dench’s work generally. The 1995 version had a few concerns but it remains my favourite for Colin and Jennifer’s performances made it for me with the rest of that wonderful cast and that is when i really started reading Jane A more seriously. Thanks, peace
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I am a clear 3/5 on this version myself. Some things I really liked, such as Mrs Bennet, who for me, is just about perfectly portrayed. I also loved Jane and thought that Lydia was much better cast in this version that many others. I thought Mr Darcy’s gorgeous voice and all his impassioned looks were marvellous.
However, I didn’t like the dirt, some of the changes to the story were nice cinematically but didn’t really make sense to me, I didn’t like Bingley’s portrayal as an idiot, and the thing that I find spoils this film for me is how fast the dialogue was delivered, it’s very distracting.
The “you have bewitched me, body and soul” line is gorgeous, but it’s not Austen, as you say, and now it’s quoted as though it is. I seem to recall the quote was Darcy had never been as bewitched by any woman as he was by her, or something along those lines, it’s just before Elizabeth leaves Netherfield.
I think if this is the first version of Pride and Prejudice you’ve seen you’d like it, but it’s not as good if you’ve seen previous versions. Bearing in mind it’s so much shorter it does a pretty good job.
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I absolutely love the 2005 film version.
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Well I am not afraid to respond in favor of this adaptation. Hopefully my Life Membership with JASNA will not be revoked. As a moody teenager, I was introduced to the sparkling wit and happy endings of JA. I admit I was partial to the hopeless despair in the likes of Thomas Hardy’s Tess & Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Dare i say i might have been prejudiced against Austen’s happily ever afters. I missed the P&P 1995 hooplah w/ Firth & Ehle. So when my sister recommended I see it, I went not really remembering the synopsis. Anyway sitting in the movie theatre, I was mesmerized by the beautiful Marianelli soundtrack, sweeping cinematography, funny dialog, beautiful characters and overall story. I remember my mother leaning over and asking me if that daybreak scene happened in the book, and I think I said, “shhhhhh… I don’t think like this.” I left the theatre thinking, wow that was awesome, I need to read that book. So I did, and after reading the 6, delved in the online fanfiction, bought the few adaptations available circa 2006, joined JASNA, went to my first AGM — and the rest is history. Since then, under the tutelage of Laurel Ann, countless authors and periodicals, films… I have learned much about the period, dear Miss Austen, etc etc. and recognize the gigantic latitude the director took with Austen’s masterpiece to create this film. The change in period clothing was his nod to Austen’s earlier attempt at P&P as “1st Impressions”, supposedly. And despite the pig scene, the run down Longbourne, D&E’s daybreak meet – her in her bedclothes! He sans cravat! the missed opportunities of authentic Austen dialog, Lizzy sans gloves & often a bonnet, the cutting and pasting of original, etc etc. it still is a favorite. I liken it to the ultimate fanfiction. And when I think of it like that, not a true adaptation of Austen, I forgive all those artistic director interpretations. Besides it was the catalyst to bringing me to Austen. So with that I do. I do forgive Joe Wright. It’s a gorgeous film that I am sentimental about. Now I will duck behind the couch in wait of the tomatoes.
You won’t get any tomatoes from me. You sound like you experienced what my main character in My Own Mr. Darcy experienced. It changed her life, too.
Once again, Laurel Ann, I experienced the greatest delight in reading your review and finding so well articulated many of my own experiences with this version of P&P, which I also saw when it first appeared in the movie theater. I did enjoy the warmth of relationships and the less annoying mother herein depicted, and thought Judi Dench a delightful Lady Catherine, but was unsatisfied with the ending variation from the original! It is romantic and I still watch it on occasion to satisfy an Austen craving, however! :-)
My November choice is “Second Impressions” by A Virginia Farmer… aka Ava Farmer… aka Sandy Lerner. I purchased this book after being enthralled by the chapter in Deborah Yaffe’s “Among the Janeites” in which she tells the amazing story of Sandy Lerner, cofounder of Cisco Systems, an organic farmer, a creator of a small grunge cosmetic company, and a Janeite heroine extraordinaire! She used her wealth to salvage Chawton House and turn it into a Library and source for the study of early English women’s writing, including a vast collection of Jane Austen material and editions of her books! She began her novel when, like so many others, finished reading all that dear Jane had written and feeling bereft and in need of continuing the story. With her very busy life, the novel she began wasn’t finished until 26 years later!
“Second Impressions” takes place 10 years after the conclusion of P&P and depicts our beloved couple at home at Pemberley, in London, and traveling around both England and Europe, with well researched descriptions and commentary on the culture and times of the places visited. It tells a sweet story of Georgiana, and an amazing come-uppance for Lady Catherine! :-) She also brings into the story a relationship of Mr. Darcy with Mr. Knightly, comparing farming practices, and Anne Elliot-Wentworth as a friend of Elizabeth. Since she has so thoroughly researched everything about Austen’s world, from the politics, culture, and words used, it is very faithful to Jane’s writing style even to the humor and self-criticism and growth of the main characters! It was not as light reading as many I’ve been immersed in this year, but well worth the effort!
Hi. I just LOVE that version. I love that Lizzie more than the other one (of the series). And Darcy, well, I love them both (movie and series) Nice choice for the month :)
My review of november:
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I enjoy, and mostly agree with your review of this version of P&P. Technically and musically it is wonderful, but overall it’s certainly not my favourite. For me it wasn’t the pig, but it was the dirt and disarray that the Bennet’s function in, the complete absence of Mr. and Mrs. Hurst, and Mr. Bingley sticking his head in Jane’s sickroom at Netherfield. I was horrified. Interestingly enough, those last two items were also present in the Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson version.
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I saw this movie before I read the book. It’s actually why I read the book. I love the movie and the book so so much. I haven’t completely seen the mini series yet, but I did start it long enough to find that Elizabeth was prettier than Jane, which I didn’t like, and the Mr. Bennet was very cynical versus sarcastic and humorous. I didn’t like him from what I saw in the mini series. I thought the casting for the movie was perfect. While Keira is pretty, Rosamund has an ethereal beauty to her that makes her stand out. Like others have said, Judy Dench was perfect for Lady Catherine. The parts I did have a problem with (after I read the book obviously) was that Mr. Collins wasn’t the same in the movie as he was in the book, physically, but I understand why. And the movie doesn’t really show that Lizzy and Charlotte drifted apart significantly after Charlotte’s marriage. Other than that, I loved the movie and now I feel the need to watch more of the miniseries.
I saw this movie twice; not because I liked it but because I couldn’t believe it could be so off base. The second viewing convinced me that Joe Wright had read the P&P Cliff Notes and decided to embroider on that. There undoubtedly was all that dirt and mess during the period depicted but this a P&P film not God’s Little Acre. Another thing that bothered me a lot was the way Joe Wright filmed Judi Dench as though she was starring in a horror film with every pore and wrinkle highlighted in order to scare the audience. I could say more about Keira Knightley mugging for the camera and Matthew Macfayden looking like a little lost boy and the horribly miscast Donald Sutherland, but I won’t! Nuff said…
Amazing review, Laurel Ann! As I said in my own review some months ago, it is not my favourite adaptation. But anyway, there are some things I would not despise :) I agree with you about the proposal in the rain and the scene with the pig… Wright could have done better!
My selection for this month was “Mr. Darcy’s secret” by Jane Odiwe. This is the link:
I loved the feel of the 2005 P&P and I thought the dirty Georgian farmhouse take was interesting. My big beef is that Mr. Wickham didn’t seem bad enough. Adorable, yes. Villainous, not so much. Sigh. Here’s my review of Longbourn by Jo Baker: http://www.groggspot.com/pride-prejudice-bicentenary-challenge-2013-november-review/
Thank you for your balanced review Laurel Ann
My friend Jill and I went to see the 2005 film together at the cinema and we found we liked Judi Dench but disliked the way poor Mr Bingley was reduced to an idiot. The cannot sleep ending that we watched was not a patch for us on the 1995 Colin Firth version of the ending.
Mr. Darcy’s Refuge: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review
As I have never read any of Abigail Reynold’s variations I am approaching this book with a degree of trepidation. I have heard that my idea of how Mr Darcy may reveal himself as being a gentleman and how this character develops in this book may be very different but I shall plunge into this book and see how I feel at the end.
It could be that 21st century attitudes have been written for a character that I see as very much from the time of Jane Austen. But I am getting ahead of myself and I shall have to wait, be patient and read the text.
This variation is going to be my 13th review for this Pride and Prejudice challenge.
Challenge is the right word to use for some of my reading of this book. I found it very difficult and uncomfortable to read some of the passages involving Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt as if I was reading scenes where I did not want to be reading. So next time when I am not reviewing the book I can employ my Kindle buttons and skip over them.
The rest of the book did feel easy to read. The text flowed enjoyably along despite the fact I could be reading for example about the river in Hunsford being in full flood and the danger to citizens and property.I think this is because Abigail Reynolds writes so vividly.
From the opening sentence on I was drawn in
The break in the rain seemed like a sign. It meant Darcy could ride to the parsonage and discover what was troubling Elizabeth.
What will happen then – Abigail Reynolds writes her variation and nudges at the Jane Austen text and pulls out ideas and sentences from the original novel of Pride and Prejudice and then ricochet markedly away from the original plot.
Darcy thinks that Elizabeth is plotting how to ensure that Darcy proposes to her As reader I thought that the story was going to be all about following in the footsteps of Jane Austen and having Elizabeth worried about Darcy separating her sister Jane from Darcy’s friend Bingley and about Wickham being denied his inheritance. The plot however goes off in all sorts of unexpected directions from ones I was expecting and in the end the various couples came together but not in the same way as Jane Austen envisaged and wrote at all.
Some of the characters that Jane Austen created have unexpected back stories added on by Abigail Reynolds. Mr Bennet changes in his manner to Elizabeth as a result of his back story and did not seem to me to be such a friend to Elizabeth. In fact at times I quite disliked him.
I liked the addition of characters created by Abigail Reynolds from the village of Hunsford, and from the vicarage itself as well as a fearsome uncle for Darcy.
Poor Bingley seems to be even wetter in this variation than Jane Austen portrayed him in Pride and Prejudice and I felt sad about that.
Overall I did enjoy most of this variation apart from the drawback and challenge as mentioned at the beginning of the review. I think I would read another Abigail Reynolds variation with great caution and being ready to skip bits.
I really like this version – it’s not exactly page-to-screen Austen, but it’s a gorgeous film. I agree with your comment about the music saving it, too.
It’s definitely an adaptation – Wright wanted to make a movie about Elizabeth’s coming of age (especially in terms of sexuality) so there’s a ton of focus on the body, place, setting, etc. It’s not the same as reading the book, of course, but that’s why we can always reread and trust our imaginations!
That said, I don’t understand the pig in the kitchen either. :P
I agree with Laurel Ann – I’m in Switzerland. What I liked was the overall beauty of it (including the music). The casting of all the young parts was all very good and very age-appropriate. I agree with others about Jane’s beauty (excellent) and Bingley’s idiocy (not-so-much). Mr. Collins ought to have been “large” (tall? fat? both?), but at least he was young and introduced an appealing vulnerability to the role.
But then it is all spoiled by the casting of the parents’ generation with actors (fabulous actors all) who are old enough to be the grandparents. Brenda Blethyn was over 60; Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench over 70. Mrs Bennet should be about 40; we don’t know how old Lady Catherine is, but I shouldn’t think any more than 50. Mrs. Gardiner should be about 35! And what happened to the Gardiners’ children?
As for KK – some love her and some hate her – she looked awfully skeletal in this movie.
The pig was comic relief.
I mostly agree with Laurel Ann’s review and won’t add much to the many comments. I will say I may be in the minority in preferring Barbara Lee-Hunt as Lady Catherine in the 1995 mini series to the esteemed Dame Judi Dench. I didn’t dislike Dame Judi (who could?), but thought Miss Lee-Hunt gave a magnificent performance. I much prefer the 1995 version partially for the length but also for the superlative casting. A couple of further comments: I do agree with those who find Rosamund Pike to be a more satisfactory Jane Bennet than any I’ve seen before. As for Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet, I didn’t think she was at all like Jane Austen’s creation, but BB is a hard actress to resist. The film with Keira Knightley was fun to watch but as others have said, the Bennets were portrayed in a much lower class than they should have been. As for Rupert Friend (so fine as Prince Albert in The Young Victoria), his role as Wickham was so whittled down, he never got much chance to show his villainy, but he sure was cute!
Oops! Spelled Barbara Leigh-Hunt’s name, it didn’t look right even as I was writing it.
This isn’t my favorite movie adaptation, but it’s still enjoyable. My daughter loves it, though.
My 13th review for the challenge is The Red Chrysanthemum by Linda Beutler:
I also read The Pursuit of Mary Bennet for the challenge this month:
I like this version very much, though not for its accuracy. The costumes are very nice, and Mr Darcy quite handsome (yes, sometimes I am shallow). My 6th entry (5th blog post) for the challenge is ‘Mr Darcy takes a wife’, which I enjoyed, but probably will not read again. As I’ve read 2 more books, I expect to review them soon and also put them in a comment below this November review.
Just made it!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I thought it fitting to read P+P before the year was up. This 5th entry makes my commitment for Disciple complete. As I read I would think of the scenes from the movie or one of the series, which ever one did justice to that particular scene. It’s always enjoyable to dive into Austen.
Just for fun:
first 13 seconds. Love it!
I loved that! It even sparked a short conversation about it with the guys at work.
I love Big Bang Theory but even more now with Sheldon’s comment. LOL!
The conversations that Austen books spark up are always fun aren’t they.So are the Big Bang ones.
I have seen the 2005 film only once. I know opinion is much divided on it but to be honest I have no strong feelings either way – I didn’t think it was wonderful but I wasn’t scandalised by the differences between that and the book (or between that and the 1995 BBC version!) I’d love to see an adaptation where Mr Collins isn’t way too old, though. They always make him about 40.
For my November entry I have reviewed the audiobook of Jo Baker’s “Longbourn”, read by Emma Fielding http://wp.me/pUrhc-Ee
You’re feelings on this film are very similar to mine, Laurel Ann, Particular in regards to that pig.
I reviewed three books this month for the challenge:
The Darcy’s of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow:
Return to Longbourn byt the same kind lady:
and Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe:
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I’m slightly late but it’s been a long month so I hope I’ll be forgiven.
My book review is for Pride’s Prejudice by Misty Dawn Pulsipher https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/777510661
I also re-watched an old favourite..
Pride and Prejudice 1940
It happened in OLD ENGLAND in the village of Meryton. – Opening Titles of Pride and Prejudice 1940
I approached this review in the same way as my previous ones, by making notes of the good and bad points while I watched the film. I shall try to be objective but I must confess that I love this film and have since I was a child, and I think perhaps in some cases the good and bad points are one and the same.
Now this version has even more scenes and people missing than the 2005 version but as I made the choice not to comment on that for a film then, I will mostly do the same here. A film’s time is limited so what is important, to my way of thinking, is to keep the essence of the story line and characters intact. In this the 1940 version succeeds where the 2005 one fails. Was it a faithful adaption? Of course not. Was it a beautiful story? Most definitely. The style of the film is definitely classic Hollywood and I think there is something magical about films from that era. They were made to make you feel good, to make you smile and to uplift you, even when they were sad. Modern films in some ways might be more realistic but they have lost something.
The most evident ‘mistake’ is the costumes, it’s obviously been set after the regency period but whilst the style is incorrect to the book, their dresses are suitable for young women of their station in life. Likewise their ages, though they are all clearly older than the characters they depict, are in proportion to each other. The conversations are recognisable but the words are not Jane Austen’s. Having said that there is some great banter that doesn’t feel out of place in the film or coming from the characters, whether that is the dialogue itself or the actors’ ability to deliver the lines, is possibly open for debate.
Another area which I think falls into both the good and bad category is the humour. They ham it up a little in places, for example, Lady Catherine walking into the chaos at Longbourne and accidentally sitting on Kitty’s music box, which again is not out of keeping with the style of the film, and so does not jar you or make you cringe, but you can’t necessarily imagine it in the more tranquil confines of the book.
A few odd things… Charlotte Lucas whilst professing to be as plain as she is in the original work, is anything but, Mr Collins is Lady Catherine’s librarian and not a clergyman, and Caroline Bingley whom at no point appears to be friendly to anyone other than her own party and Jane, is apparently in correspondence with someone residing in Meryton. A production point, that I’ve always rather liked, is the fact that certain characters have their own background music that plays whenever they are centre screen for that scene. A grand and imposing tune for those of the upper classes and something rather more whimsical for Mr Collins… it does add a certain atmosphere but now I know it well enough to notice, it also makes me smile. Another thing that I have always appreciated is the name they give to Colonel Forster’s regiment, where ‘the ___shire’s’ from the book, is literally pronounced as ‘the Blankshire’s’.
Possibly the one thing that I don’t think should have been altered was Lady Catherine’s attitude at the end. It wasn’t really necessary to change her into a loving aunt just looking out for her nephew, but this film has a neatly tied up happy ending for all its characters and I suppose they felt it might spoil it for her to remain opposed to the last.
What I think really makes this film work for me however, are the characters. Despite everything I have listed, the characters themselves remain true to their basic natures. They’re graceful, they have poise, and at first glance can pass for what they are meant to be. They have faults but it’s not in manners. There’s a general affection between the Bennetts that makes them seem like a family even when they’re at odds. The younger Bennett girls are immature but not vulgar or fast or particularly childish. They’re just enjoying themselves and being silly, and they’re also trusting where they shouldn’t be. Bingley is a gentleman and not stupid, Wickham is handsome and gentlemanlike, Caroline Bingley is delightfully snobby, Mrs Bennett is just the right mix of well brought up and dizzy, desperate to marry off her girls because that’s her job and old enough to have become a gossip. Jane is beautiful and sweet whilst Elizabeth played by Greer Garson is the stronger character, protective and caring of all her sisters. Mr Collins wonderfully pompous, Lady Catherine is suitably imposing and Mr Bennett is the perfect mix of dignified gentleman, resigned husband, and affectionate but disinterested/mocking father. And of course Laurence Olivier as Mr Darcy is the strong male lead, stiff at first but learning to bend to please Lizzy as he learns about her and himself.
On the whole it was a beautifully made romantic film and I would highly recommend watching it.
To comment on 1995 movie. I also have reviewed this in July. I love it. I still agree with a comment that was said in an earlier blog (I think you said it Laurel Ann) that the first version you fall in love with stays dear in your heart. I saw this before I read the book for the first time. I then noticed all the changes of course. But somehow it made me feel like this movie was a remake to other movies which would explain many changes. Like a rumor things get changed the more it is told. Anyway the cinematography & music continue to tug at my heart. And even though Colin Firth is the best Darcy, I love MacFadyen wearing his heart on his sleeve. (sorry but I thought Bingley was adorible.)