8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A spirited new version of a British classic, Mar 5 2006
Gritty, realistic and brilliantly acted – these are just some of the ways I would describe the new version of Jane Austen’s classic 18th century tale.
Pride & Prejudice tells the story of a young woman who is stuck in the craziness of her family, culture and era. She is there to see her oldest sister get ditched by the “perfect” man. She is there when her younger sister runs away and elopes with the scoundrel of the story. She sees her mother desperately trying to marry off her 5 daughters to wealthy men. She is stuck in a world where people marry for economic and family reasons and the one thing in the world she wants is to marry for love.
When the BBC released its mini-series of Pride & Prejudice in 1995, it became the standard from which all classic British stories would have to be filmed. It was plush and beautiful and all the characters looked well-groomed and pretty all the time. That was not England in the 18th century, however.
This recent film, starring the young Keira Knightley, will be known for its realistic portrayal of country life in the 1700’s. Knightley plays the lead character, Elizabeth Bennet. She comes from a fairly well-off family in the English countryside. She is opinionated, well-read and isn’t afraid to speak her mind – in other words, everything a woman should not be in that century. Knightley plays the part brilliantly and you can see both her strength and her vulnerability at the same time. She reaped an Oscar nod for her portayal and deservedly so.
Matthew Macfadyen, as Mr. Darcy, is brooding and silent for a lot of the film. Therefore, when he actually proclaims his love for Ms. Bennet, in the rain on the British moors, he not only shocks and bewilders her, but he causes the viewer to wonder how she can resist him – stubbornness and all.
Donald Sutherland as the supportive father is wonderful, and although her part is a small, but pivotal one, Dame Judi Dench plays Lady Catherine de Bourg perfectly.
The rainy British weather, the animals in the front yard of the Bennet house, the dirt on the floors and the sisters having to share a bed – all add to the atmosphere of the movie. The clothes aren’t always clean, the balls are crowded and uncomfortable and the people aren’t always smiling and happy.
This movie is realistic and wonderful. It takes you to another place and time. A time when Jane Austen wrote some of the most beloved books about strong female protagonists and the hardships of life and love. Even if Keira Knightley doesn’t win the Oscar this year, rest assured, Ms. Austen would have been proud.