Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pride & Prejudice...should be very proud

Pride & Prejudice - Joe Wright - 2005 - 10/10


In this retelling of Jane Austen's classic romance novel, Keira Knightly plays Elizabeth Bennet, one of the many Bennet daughters living in Hartfordshire during the Georgian Era. The parents of the five daughters (Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn) are opposites - Mr. Bennet in his own reserved way wants his daughters to find their own way if they want while Mrs. Bennet is anxious to thrust them into a good marriage so they don't have to worry about their future after Mr. Bennet dies. Things heat up when Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) blows into Hartfordshire, bringing his friend Mr. Darcy (Mathew Macfaden), and turning Hartfordshire a buzz with gossipers falling over themselves to find out if Bingley will mary one of the local girls. At a local ball, Elizabeth's sister, Jane (Rosamund Pike) catches the eye of Bingley and the two dance the night away, each falling more and more in love with each other. During a break in the dancing, Elizabeth and Jane are talking out of sight when they hear Bingley speak of how beautiful Jane is to Darcy, yet Darcy disparages Elizabeth by calling her plain. This sets Elizabeth stubbornly against Darcy, prejudicing her against Darcy before she can really know him, her pride preventing her heart from making its own decisions. As people fall in love left and right, marriage proposals are tossed around, elopments happen at the drop of a hat, harsh words spoken quickly and rescinded even faster, matriarchs clash with the young blood and more, Austen's timeless classic unfolds here masterfully.


The summary should have seemed flowery enough, but then again, it isnt often that I'm going to give a movie ten out of ten. But the movie earned it - having all the trappings of a great movie and then the coup de grace - not having ANYTHING I would want to change. Keira, once though too beautiful to play Elizabeth (maybe so, but I liked that..), is simply great - playing a determined, strong woman in a time when many women were not as strong. Macfadyen is great too - pulling off his equally stubborn character while also letting his softening devotion to Elizabeth rise to the surface. A pleasant suprise was Brenda Belthyn, one of the few actors I didnt know, who was hysterical as Mrs. Bennet, perfect tonation and timing for what I pictured Mrs. Bennet as being. Joe Wright does a solid job too, keeping the story moving and his use of Austen's work almost makes me forget this should have been a painful chick flick for me. Instead it seems to be a sharp comedy pointing out the class gaps in Georgian society and the unfortunate gender roles present at the time.


Must see - any means possible

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Love Actually
...Sense and Sensibility (1995)
...Tristan & Isolde

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