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Outstanding ... MacFadyen is a worthy Darcy and a darned good actor to boot! The scenery, backgrounds, and country folk were much more realistic than previous versions. The costumes and hairdos also seemed in keeping with the times. Another great addition is the priceless Donald Sutherland who, in a perfect world, would have had more scenes with Judy Densch. If those two can't chew up the scenery, nobody can. And, finally, Keira Knightly is a jewel. Her beauty is so apparent that it almost detracts from the fact that this is a very good actress who can hold her own in any room. This was a delight and I only wish that it could have been 6 hours long.
Jane Austen's tale of love and economics reaches us once more with the energy of a thorough novelty. "Pride and Prejudice" has been a favorite novel of mine since I first read it and I've seen Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and now Matthew MacFadyen and Kiera Knightly. Amazingly enough I've never been disappointed. The material seems to be full proof. Colin Firth's Darcy, in many ways, is the Darcy I've always imagined. He's been an actor I've followed feverishly since his glorious Adrian LeDuc in "Apartment Zero", Matthew MacFadyen was totally new to me but he managed to create that sense of longing that makes that final pay off so satisfying. Kiera Knightly is a ravishing revelation. I must confess, I didn't remotely imagined that she was capable of the powerful range she brilliantly shows here. The other big surprise is Joe Wright, the director, in his feature film debut which is more than promising, it's extraordinary. The photography, the art direction and the spectacular supporting cast, in particular Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn, makes this new version of a perennial classic a memorable evening at the movies
A "modernised" version of Jane Austen's classic novel that should not
be compared unfavourably with 1940 Hollywood Olivier / Garson version
nor several BBC serials culminating in the most acclaimed TV series
version from 1995 with Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle-a personal
This 2005 film clocks in 127 minutes (UK / Europe)& 135 minutes (USA & Canada) -the extended version allowing audiences to share more of the timeless love story with the main characters -Elizabeth Bennet & Mr Darcy.
Director Joe Wright plus his screenwriters ( Oscar winner Emma Thompson contributed to the final screenplay) have chosen to emphasise Elizabeth Bennet / Mr Darcy plus Jane Bennet/ Mr Bingley story lines & reduce Mr Wickman, Charlotte & Mr Collins to supporting characters.
Austen's famous wit,satire & humour that forms the basis for her enduring appeal (Pride & Prejudice was finally published in 1813 & continues as an annual bestseller)is sidelined to open up this version as more emotional drama for modern audiences.
If you are open to a newer interpretation, can avoid comparisons to the nearly 5 hour 1995 TV version which allowed for greater depth & detail in telling all the characters story lines & accept some of the new film's rushed story lines-you are in for a treat .....
New British star Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennet))excels in her first real leading actress role ably supported by fellow Brit Rosamund Pike (Jane Bennet) as the sisters supportive of each other's & their Bennett family problems.Knightley at 20 is the right age for her character,this allows Elizabeth's girlish personality plus her character's pride, misjudgements & loving nature to shine through....
Great star turns from Brenda Blethyn as their mother Mrs Bennet plus Oscar winner Judi Dench as fearsome Lady De Bourgh (Mr Darcy's aunt)add depth to this film version.Claudie Blakley as Elizabeths's wise friend Charlotte Lucas & Simon Wood's amusing Mr Bingley are delightful supporting performers.
One major surprise is Canadian actor Donald Sutherland's touching performance as Mr Bennet -capturing both the humour of living in an all female household & five daughters to look after with the poignancy of seeing his eldest children's difficult relationships develop -easily his best acting performance in years.
In the difficult role of Mr Darcy rising British star Matthew Macfadyen (BBC's Spy series Spooks & Award winning New Zealand film "In My Father's Den" rises to the occasion.With the short running time, there is not enough time to allow Darcy's repressed & prejudiced personality to be fully represented -Macfadyen perfectly displays Darcy's social & class problems, his unfortunate attempts at gaining Eliabeth Bennet's interest & his painful adjustments to achieve their personal love story.Macfayden & Knightley's objectionable first dance,their embarrassingly moving Collins House meeting,the unexpected Pemberley encounter plus their two proposal scenes are highlights of this film.
Engaging acting performances with wondrous film photography,film locations at some of United Kingdom's most famous stately homes, marvellous film sets & costumes plus one of 2005's best original music scores add greatly to this new film version.
All in all one of the better films of 2005 -not perfect film making and not intended to be as subtle as Austen's novel -but a wonderful surprise with some changes to present a modern version of Pride & Prejudice for current audiences -do see this film as & when it is released worldwide....
And after seeing the film or re-visiting 1995 BBC TV series -read the original novel for its classic storyline, memorable characters & Austen's brilliant writing style,wit & humour.....
9 Out Of 10 for this different interpretation of an enduring classic
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is one of the worst adaptations of Pride and Prejudice ever
filmed and if Jane Austen were alive, she would demand that her name be
removed from the film. Austen's novel is only superficially a story of
the development of true love between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam
Darcy. It is also a commentary on the class structure of Regency
Britain. This film focuses only on the love story, thereby
disappointing viewers who hoped it would do justice to the novel.
There are numerous problems with the historical accuracy of the film. In the film, the dance at which Darcy snubs Elizabeth is not the refined dancing done by the gentry, to which the Bennet, Lucas, Bingley, and Darcy families belong, but is rather the dancing of the lower classes. The gentry would not have been dancing as if they were at a peasant barn dance. There are costume and hair problems, too. The custom of the period required married women to wear white cloth hats to cover their hair and for women to wear bonnets when outdoors. Women of the Regency period were not so liberated as to forego the bonnet requirements in public. The worst historical inaccuracy is the early morning meeting of Elizabeth (in her nightgown and coat) and Mr. Darcy (sans cravat and vest) at which they admit their love for each other. This is an unforgivable liberty with the novel. No respectable young woman or gentleman would venture out of doors in such a state of undress or seek to meet someone of the opposite sex at such an early hour.
But the worst thing of all with this film is the mangling of Austen's dialogue and the atrocious modern dialogue. Austen's dialogue needs no assistance from a writer who thinks he/she can write like Austen. The writer of the non-Austen dialogue not only lacks Austen's talent but also has no feel for Austen's style. The juxtaposition of the two styles is jarring.
As for the acting, the best is done by Judi Dench, who clearly understands the imperiousness of the aristocracy. Brenda Blethyn takes some liberties in making Mrs. Bennet less awful than Austen's portrayal. Her portrayal is interesting and seems to work. Donald Sutherland is miscast. His affected British accent is terrible and he portrays Mr. Bennet too much as a father of the 20th century and not a father of the late 18th century. Matthew MacFadeyn's portrayal of Darcy is flat. I can't imagine anyone falling in love with his Mr. Darcy. Keira Knightly is a pretty Elizabeth, but her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet is far too modern. Knightly focuses on the Elizabeth's forthrightness, but her portrayal completely lacks an understanding of the social mores and conventions of the time. She would have done well to actually read the novel before attempting to portray Elizabeth and to do research on the behavior of women of the period.
If one is making a period movie, one must be true to the period. This film needed an historical adviser who actually knows something about the Regency period. It also needed a writer who has a better appreciation and understanding of Austen's text. I can only hope Emma Thompson decides to do a film of Pride and Prejudice in the near future to erase this abomination from our minds.
The best thing that can be said about this film is that it contains many pretty scenes of the English countryside. Chatsworth is well used as Pemberly (as it was in the 1995 BBC adaptation). But pretty scenery and pretty actors cannot save this film. True fans of Austen will rush home to watch their DVDs of the far superior 1995 BBC production with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth or to read Austen's text in order to wipe this version from their minds.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well Wright may have made a gritty depiction of life around 1800 - as
he so repeatedly and anally goes on about because of when it was
written as opposed to published - but it is HIS not Austen's and
shouldn't claim to be an adaptation.
Mrs Bennett looks like a rural washerwoman. This is a pampered woman - they have servants (remember the book scene with the servant dressing the hair, etc)? But Wright portrays her with rough reddened skin all down her chest, rough hands and working in the kitchen. And the pigs wandering through! If he wants bucolic, he should try Tess.
Mr Bennett - the script makes too cuddly and modern and ignored the weakness in him. The scene where he stops Mary playing is supposed to make you cringe - not pass in seconds. If it doesn't - don't include it.
MacFadyen is very weak in the part and seems to be doing some kind of Pride by numbers acting. The first proposal he looks like a nervous schoolboy rather than a man overcoming his pride to make a proposal beneath his station. Most of his lines, he could as well be reading a shopping list.
Lydia is awful. Completely over the top with excessive shrieking and skipping. Indeed, Knightley plays Elizabeth more like the giggling inane character Lydia actually is in the book, at times.
And Elizabeth. Half the time Knightley is, clearly, mimicking Ehle's voice and intonation - close your eyes to see what a copy it is. And in her role you see Wright's major error - there is NO PREJUDICE.
From the first encounter with Darcy she clearly fancies him. When he comments to Bingley on the attractiveness of the women in the hall she initially looks hurt - not shocked and affronted. The latter should set up the prejudice side of things. And when she and 'caroline' are prancing round the room she comes across like a tease, obviously all over him. And by virtually cutting out Wickham you don't get Elizabeth invested enough there to set up the prejudicial aspects falling out of that relationship.
And apparently it is Caroline not Miss Bingley. And Mr Bingley happily wanders into Jane's bedroom. And and and - Wright can boast about how great he is with period all he wants. But a few panorama shots of rural life (which show the preference for Hardy) don't excuse him the glaring blunders all over the place.
The cinematographer - who clearly wants awards - should have been reined in. He veered between Bronte and Hardy throughout the film - and wasn't the last proposal shots/lighting from Tess? The need to see Darcy walk along through the 'scape with unkempt shirt was just dumb. But most importantly - when going between those 2 very different landscapes they forget the most important one - Austen. (She'd have laughed out loud at the Elizabeth = sad, therefore = rain, running through to picturesque folly, wet Darcy rubbish).
I admit I found it impossible the watch the film without using the book as context. I was prepared to give it some leeway as it had to provide the story in a short space of time. But to forget fully one half of the core of the book in prejudice and Darcy to continually look more constipated than prideful, made it almost unwatchable. I could only see it as a mess with generally poor performances (when Knightley wasn't aping Ehle she was gurning or skipping or both and only calmed down a couple of times to indicate she does have some promise - but faffing about on swings to convey emotion isn't a substitute for a poor script and poor direction) - although for some it was simply a case of bad script.
Tom Holland alone would escape censure. While he toned down the comic aspects of Collins, he did turn in a very interesting approach. Dench does superbly the schtick she can do in her sleep whether it be here or in Oscar Wilde - but this was supposed to be Lady Catherine De Bourgh NOT Lady Bracknell. She was just a little too sane.
The shortened length could have been handled by a competent screenwriter, surely? Not characters filling in story gaps and helping along the audience all over the place. Elizabeth couldn't have come up with the £10k figure. And while they wanted to cut time with her learning of Darcy's involvement in Wickhams marriage the lines didn't fit with Lydia. It was the worst case of incongruous exposition in the piece.
It really is appalling stuff. Anyone who reviews it saying it works well in the context of the book is someone I frankly don't believe has read or understood the characterisations in the thing. Wright seems to think his characters are in the 1990s not the 1709s from their behaviour. I'm not convinced he has read the book - he certainly doesn't understand it. He doesn't understand Austen's acerbic wit or lightness of touch - he certainly made a dull plodding film out of it.
What is possibly worse was the sad pathetic need of the chick lit lovers to need the 'I love you, I love yous' all over the place so they can sigh and get off on it. The fact that it has no place in a work by Austen is apparently irrelevant.
Anyone who reviews it as a film alone? Well, more difficult for me except I would note the poor acting, the weak Darcy, and the gurning skipping inane irritation of the whole thing. If you are going to adapt you can change a lot - but if it loses the spirit and key motivations, then don't insult the book by taking it's title.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having watched a slew of special effects-laden trailers before this
film I was reassured to discover that in the brave new world of CGI
cinema there is still a place for a satisfyingly romantic story,
well-acted and thoughtfully scripted and directed.
Comparisons with the highly-regarded 1995 BBC series are inevitable, but whereas that production had the luxury of time to unfold its plot and characters at leisure, the creators of this film had the unenviable task of reducing Jane Austen's book to just two hours. Yes, Austen lovers will mourn the absence or alteration of favourite scenes. Yes, we do lose some sense of the developing and changing relationships between the main characters (two examples - Wickham appears in only two scenes of any significance and personally I would have liked more time to savour Lizzie and Darcy's rediscovery of one another at Pemberley). Yes, there is occasionally a feeling of entering or leaving a scene partway through (where do Lizzie's uncle and aunt think she has gone when she apparently sets off from Pemberley to walk to Lambton without a word to them?) On the whole though, I think director Joe Wright, and screenwriter Deborah Moggach, are successful in retaining the flavour, the vital essence of Austen's original.
The film also offers some new perspectives on very familiar characters. Tom Hollander in particular, gives Mr. Collins something approaching dignity in his determined but usually unsuccessful attempts to ingratiate himself with those more powerful than him, and he provides some of the funniest moments of the film witness his attempts to gain Mr. Darcy's attention at the ball. Mrs. Bennet too, who we all remember Alison Steadman playing with an enthusiasm approaching pantomime, is more sympathetic in the hands of Brenda Blethyn because we understand more clearly the reasons behind her desperation to marry her daughters off. Mr. Bingley though teeters a fine line between nervous hesitancy and simple-minded idiocy which made me question why Jane Bennet would ever consider marrying him. And who on earth thought of giving him Cameron Diaz's infamous "There's Something About Mary" hairdo?
Reviews for Matthew MacFadyen seem to have been mixed so far, the inevitable 'Firth Factor' at least part of the reason. Personally I think he has a sexy, brooding presence to equal Firth's and (dare I say it) his Darcy has a little more charm and humanity when he does let his guard down. The scene where he bursts in upon Lizzie at the Collins' parsonage, all glove-twisting nervousness and incoherent attempts at small talk, captures perfectly the bewilderment of a man trained since childhood not to express his feelings, and made vulnerable for the first time by the conflicting emotions Lizzie has stirred in him.
I do think his Darcy is oddly lacking in 'pride' though, his taciturnity attributed to having so many expectations to live up to that he never dares let down the facade of 'Mr. Darcy of Pemberley'. Nor do we get any sense, as in the book, that Lizzie's free-spirited influence alters his attitude or behaviour towards others, the explanation the audience is left with being that really he was a nice guy all along, just misunderstood.
Keira Knightley's Lizzie brings nothing really new to the part, but whilst too stunningly beautiful to be the girl dismissed by Darcy as 'only tolerable', she has an abundance of the playfulness and charm which quickly captivates him. She is also a good enough actress to show Lizzie's own growing confusion and then loss as she realises how she has misread her own feelings.
The chemistry between the two leads works well, their dance at Netherfield a key moment as their verbal sparring gives way to a growing physical awareness which neither of them is ready to admit. Other little incidents such as the touch of hands as Darcy helps Lizzie into her carriage keep the romance heating up, and it almost reaches boiling point in the first proposal scene. It does fizzle away disappointingly though in their final reconciliation, which promises much at the start with a heady mix of very slightly disarrayed nightwear, rolling thunder and smouldering gazes across a misty meadow, but, whilst tenderly played, it ends up being a little too coy for the 21st century. Come on Joe Wright, give us a kiss in the DVD version please!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1995 the 5 hours miniseries of Pride & Prejudice, with Colin Firth
as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, was a big hit in
England and the Netherlands. It even inspired Helen Fielding to write
the Bridget Jones's novels. Therefor, whether you'll like the new 2005
movie mainly depends on the fact if you've seen the version that was
done ten years ago. If you have, you'll probably be very disappointed
with the Knightly movie. If you haven't, well, maybe this romantic
flick may be 'amiable' enough for you.
For those who aren't familiar with the story: Pride & Prejudice is a romantic costume drama that takes place in 19th century England and is based on the famous novel by Jane Austen. The story is about the Bennet family, a father, mother and five or six daughters. The only way to secure the future of the children is to marry a party that owns a lot of money. Jane, the oldest sister, is beautiful but a little icy. She hopes to marry young Bingley, a rich aristocrat who just moved to a castle nearby. Her younger sister Elizabeth, the main character of the movie, wants to help her conquer his heart, but finds out that Bingley's best friend, the rich but arrogant mister Darcy, sabotages her plans. Elizabeth and Darcy start out as enemies, but as the story progresses they both find out that their opinions of each other are based on wrong information, pride and prejudice.
Let's bring the good news first. The new Pride & Prejudice is the big Keira Knightly show. Although she cannot top Jennifer Ehle's performance, Knightly proves that she has real star-power and that she is able to carry a movie. She looks lovely in this flick: she enchants you with her great smile and has the charms of a young Winona Ryder. Dame Judi Dench is excellent as Darcy's powerful aunt who is against a marriage and Donald Sutherland has a both moving and funny scene at the end of the movie when he gives permission to Darcy to marry Elizabeth. The end of the movie is actually better than the one in the miniseries.
Okay, then the bad news. I guess the main flaw of this new version is Darcy himself, a role played by Matthew MacFadyen. In the story he is rather dull and generally uninterested in what's going on. It must be difficult to replace Colin Firth as leading man and the Darcy of the miniseries of course had more (screen)time to show his inner struggle. But the new Darcy is so dull that frankly you don't care if he ends up winning Elizabeth's heart or not. There is absolutely no spark between Knightly and MacFadyen. At the end of the movie they don't even kiss and as an audience you couldn't care less.
But Darcy isn't the only one that seems miscast. The new mister Bingley is despite his Jamie Oliver haircut a real nerd, and mister Wickham, who falls in love with Elizabeth but elopes with her younger sister, lacks the depth to be an interesting villain. Because of the time-frame, the movie is less subtle than the miniseries. There's a lot to be told in two hours and because of that there is hardly any suspense. Problems rise but they are solved within minutes. But what I really missed were the great dialogs. In the miniseries heavy emotions were always masqueraded by politeness. Darcy doesn't say "Wow, it's great to see you, Elizabeth" but instead asks if her parents are in good health. The things that are NOT said were more interesting than the things that were indeed spoken out. The encounters between Elizabeth and Darcy always turned out to be great fights in which words and sentences were used as swords and daggers. I really missed that in the new version. Come to think of it, I also missed the humor you did see in Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility, also based on a Jane Austen novel. Where is Hugh Grant when you need him?
A friend of mine also a journalist really liked this movie. But he hadn't seen the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version from 1995. So perhaps I'm a little hard on what was presented to me last week, because the film does have its qualities.
7 of out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you have never heard of Jane Austen, seen the original movie or the
1995 BBC adaptation, or even seen a pop up version of the book, then
this farcical attempt to show this classic love story may be considered
From the opening scene, this film must be remembered for its awful acting, abominable miscasting and complete lack of the classic wit of Jane Austen.
Whoever decided to cast actors (with the exception of the excellent Judi Dench) who have obviously never heard of Jane Austen, let alone read her, should be punished! Keira Knightley grimaces and grins through every scene, and came across as being so obnoxious that no-one would want to marry her! Darcy looked as if he was trying to remember his lines throughout the whole film and the rest of the Bennet girls were interchangeable in their lack of portraying their characters as they were originally written.
This version failed to show the proper Pride and Prejudice that both Darcy and Elizabeth suffered from and, at the end of the longest two hours of my life, who cared whether they got together or not! Absolutely abysmal - even the too few minutes of Judi Dench cannot save this rubbish. I cannot think of anything good to say about this film apart from that it eventually ended!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to see suspecting I would hate it, I did. Everything about it was wrong; it was like they were filming a different book. Granted the locations and houses very lovely (if not a little miscast-yes even the house were wrong for their parts) Keira was too modern, dull and frankly I found it unpleasant to watch her. Were everyone else sees Darcy as a sex god the writer of this saw him as sexually frustrated and inadequate. Bingley was stupid and dippy (he isn't meant to be) and the Bennett's were shown to be destitute and for some unknown reason farmers, this is incorrect and ludicrous. The very idea that Mr Bennett would answer the door in his night gear with the rest of the family dressed in their underwear to in the middle of the night is stupid. They had servants. Mr Collins was not repulsive and greasy merely stupid and obnoxious, Georgina Darcy was ugly and old and Miss Bingley wore a sleeveless dress, what! As if! It is Historically inaccurate and even the ending is unsatisfying. I could go on for days. I hated it so much as not only was it nothing like the book but I fear that for many people it will be their fist experience of this great novel and it will give them the worst possible idea of it. The BBC version is so superior it's not even funny and everything about this version is an insult to its memory. In short if you must see it be sure you have read the book first or seen the BBC version other wise you will be lead done the deluded road that this is what it's like, which its not!
before i start, i would like to say this. i can read, have read the
book, and i read the title of the movie before watching, as should you
all. quite disappointed in all the pompous idiots filled with prejudice
about the movie.
I know that another version of the well-mined Jane Austen classic would need to be brilliant indeed. Such diverse and beautifully written characters and such a delightful plot, so deeply rooted in a profound understanding of human nature, are timelessly attractive to directors, actors and audiences alike. So give them a break. you couldn't do any better.
Lets start with Mr Darcy. Darcys embodied by Olivier, Firth and now Matthew McFadyen bring differently significance to enjoy in the proud and socially awkward leading male role. Where Olivier and Firth gave us an aloof, arrogant Darcy encased rigidly in a shell so impenetrable it was almost impossible to believe he had been moved by Lizzie's sardonic criticisms or attracted by her spirited independence, McFadyen shows a more accessible Darcy. He's vulnerable, even fragile behind his stiff manners. His aloofness is more believably from social inadequacy than arrogance, yet he is believably constrained by his social standing to regard decorum, fortune and propriety in a wife's family as significant in his choice of a bride. His capitulation to Lizzie is therefore more believable.
Similarly Garson, Ehle and Keira Knightley illustrate the lively intelligence, sharp-minded wit and wry humour of Elizabeth Bennet in equally shining ways that nevertheless bring out different aspects of the character. Keira Knightly's performance as Elizabeth Bennett is by far her best, as she sparkles in this role.
The two have a chemistry that i had yet to see on the big or small screen - one that mirrors real life romances. the dislike on both accounts is obvious, watching it grow to love was beautiful and stunning. the love story is heart-felt and sweetly, deeply affecting to a level that modern romantic comedies rarely achieve. I found this movie to be a a richly photographed, memorable ensemble production in which the romance is predominant over the drama but does not eclipse it. though my one disappointment - the ending?! of course i wanted to see them kiss, who didn't? but the shots of them arguing in the rain, and as they draw close with the sunlight shining between them was breathtaking.
Giving due significance to the rural environment which plays such an important part in the story, the cinematography captures wide frames of soft, misty fields, copses and winding country roads as an environment which underscores the gentle manners and passionately beating hearts beneath empire gowns and ruffled shirts. The surroundings both detract from the humans and function as appropriately natural settings for the dramas of human nature.
Keira Knightley's swan-like Elizabeth moves with energy and grace, hotly opinionated and profoundly moved by principles and prejudices, and magnetically drawn by the seeming arrogance, reticence and gallant behaviour, finally revealed, of Mr Darcy. For two centuries Elizabeth Bennet has been a heroine much admired for her self-contained independence within a culture more conditioned to female submissiveness. Knightley's portrayal is true to the original.
All in all, i must give this movie 5 stars, 10 out of 10, 100 % brilliance. The story itself, the characters, the actors, everything that was in the movie 'bewitched me body and soul'. i have never been more moved by a movie, especially not one where i found it to be as hilarious as it was moving.
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