Pride and Prejudice (2005)

P&P 2005

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Starring: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen

Director: Joe Wright (IV)

Length: 127 minutes

I probably should have tagged this “18th century” since the producers chose to set this film in 1797 rather than Regency England. It makes for more flattering costumes perhaps, though it presents a more rural England. The Bennets seem much poorer and lower class than Jane Austen wrote them. By contrast, Darcy and Lady Catherine seem much richer, almost on a par with royalty. This is a wonderful film, although Jane Austen purists will have to set aside their, um, prejudice…  The cinematography is highly artistic and well-done. The musical score is wonderful. I’d buy a CD of just the soundtrack.

The script alters lines from Austen, often losing the irony of the original. But the romance is well done. The girls look their ages, which is refreshing. This was the best Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, in my opinion. And Mr. Collins was also wonderful. The proposal scene between Collins and Elizabeth is priceless. On the other hand, I did not care for the stilted acting of Wickham and Caroline Bingley. Fortunately they had minimal parts. Mr. and Mrs. Hurst were omitted entirely from this movie. And the Gardiners had no children.

Besides what I felt were 20th century mannerisms, there was at least one scene which seemed like a historical faux pas to me – the scene where Elizabeth asks Darcy to dance. Perhaps someone will correct me, but I don’t think that would have been done. It wasn’t even very common when I was in high school, let alone in the 18th century! I also thought it was silly to have the entire room come to a standstill and gawk when Darcy and Bingley entered the ball. They might have been rich, but I think the gawking would have been much more surreptitious.

Anyway, it is a beautifully done film. Just don’t expect it to be true to Jane Austen.

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