Saturday, December 10, 2005


I finally saw the new Pride and Prejudice today. I started reading Athena's post a couple weeks ago about the movie, but stopped before the spoiler. If you are reading this and haven't seen the movie yet, STOP! Read no further. Get thee to the nearest theater and see this movie.

I wasn't going to see it. I saw the trailer and was unfavorable impressed. And I didn't want to be disloyal to the excellent BBC miniseries. However, I kept hearing such good things about it. One of my favorite girls in the Young Women's class at church loved it. The bishop's wife has seen it three times and, get this, the bishop has seen it twice!

Keira Knightley is far too beautiful to play Elizabeth Bennett. Even the frumpy hair style they give her does not disguise it. That makes it rather ridiculous when Darcy claims upon first meeting her that she is not good-looking enough for him to take notice of her. They may as well have left that line out. But in spite of the too-good looks, I thought this actress was superb as Elizabeth. She really made the movie. Her face is wonderfully expressive and they couldn't go wrong with all of the close-ups. I frankly can't imagine a better Elizabeth.

Matthew MacFadyen is not as handsome as Colin Firth, but he held his own for the most part. I cut him slack because he had his work cut out for him constantly opposite the riveting Kiera Knightley.

I liked very much the sets and costumes. I think it was in the Wall Street Journal where I read that this version was set earlier than past productions. The Bennett home is untidy (at one time an enormous hog wanders through) yet intimate. The first ball is a rowdy affair in a rustic hall.

I loved it that the Bennett girls are spirited and natural. They are ferocious eaters--no simpering daintiness at the dinner table. And I love it that there is a good deal of affection in the Bennett family. While in the BBC version Mrs. Bennett gets big laughs for her outrageous silliness, in this version she is still silly, yet likable. She is warm. You can understand why her daughters would be devoted to her in spite of her faults. In fact that is something that I feel is far more present in general in this version: an understanding and acceptance of human frailty.

Yes, the movie is very condensed. It must necessarily be so. But they included all of the best lines. I must admit that many of the lines were done better in this version than in the BBC. Yes, I admit it reluctantly but I think it's true. There is a wonderful long sequence at Bingley's ball where the Bennetts all expose themselves. The younger girls are staggering around drunk, Charlotte is singing her mournful tune, Mrs. Bennett is glorying in the prospect of a match between Jane and Bingley, and Mr. Collins is being Mr. Collins. I just love how that was done. I suppose it was the editing. The editing in this movie must be superb.

I may actually purchase this movie when it comes out on DVD. I purchase very, very few movies. There are so few I like to see more than once. I think this just may be one.

1 comment:

Athena said...

That's right--about Darcy thinking Elizabeth not that attractive on first meeting her, although later he did fid her eyes rather attractive. :-)