Last January I read Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and I recently (finally) watched Pride & Prejudice the movie (2005 version) starring Keira Knightly. This is less of a ‘movie review’ and more of just my thoughts on the movie.
When I read the book, I felt that the writing was extremely passive and most of the interactions and conversations took place via letter or “he said, she said” gossip. While this was a commentary on the times, I found that the movie’s narrative allowed a more seamless story compared to the book. Although I enjoyed the book once it picked up, I found that the movie jumped in with both feet and allowed the dialogue and actions to speak for themselves.
In the book all of the observations and interactions are from the perspective of Elizabeth Bennett, who is the narrator. Whereas in the movie, we get to see Mr. Darcy independently from Elizabeth’s opinion, his portrayal can be interpreted by the viewer, as opposed to always how Elizabeth perceives him to be.
In turn, this allowed me to feel much more emotion for Mr. Darcy and I found the love story believable. In the book I felt that the love story was incredibly one-sided, same with the Jane / Mr. Bingley romance. I think this is a common issue with first person narratives in novels; it is a very fine balance and difficult to achieve perfectly.
In this rare case, I think I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I realize the movie wouldn’t have been made at all if it wasn’t for the book, but I found a lot of the social commentary and issues that Jane Austen was putting forth about society was a lot more succinct in the movie. Not to mention Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen were both incredibly cast, particularly Matthew as Mr. Darcy.
In fact, the entire movie was well-cast, particularly the Bennett family with Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett, Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennett, and Jena Malone as flirty little Lydia. Perfect castings.
Up next: The 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth…. mmm Colin Firth. Or maybe I’ll just watch this version one more time before returning the DVD to my friend…. mmm Matthew Macfayden.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think?