Friday, September 28, 2012

Movie Review: Pride & Prejudice

            I am a Pride and Prejudice lover (who isn’t?). It’s one of my favorite stories ever. I love the characters, the story, the dialogue, the character arc…everything about it is just wonderful.
            I was introduced to Pride and Prejudice about two years ago, when some young people at our church decided to make a movie about it (more on that here). My brother ended up directing the film and marrying the producer. When we first decided to get involved with making First Impressions, we had some friends over and watched the five-hour BBC version. I fell in love with it. It was so accurate with the book (which I appreciate), the setting was beautiful, and the acting superb (Collin Firth, I love you!!).
            Last night, I watched the newer version, starring Keira Knightley. Overall I really enjoyed it, although there were (of course) pros and cons. Which is what I’m going to talk about.
            This review is for those of you who have maybe seen the BBC, but not the newer one, and would like to read a comparison. Or maybe vice versa. Regardless, I am going to share my opinion – and I can promise you, it will be biased. ;) You ready? We’ll start with the actors.
           SPOILER ALERT (contains images from the film)
            Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennett): I thought that Keira Knightley was a perfect Elizabeth. That being said, I actually liked her better than the girl in the BBC (Jennifer Ehle). Elizabeth’s personality suited Knightley so well; you could tell the part was natural for her. Her voice inflexions, her facial expressions…everything about her was very Elizabeth-esque.
            Rosamund Pike (Jane Bennett): I liked Rosamund Pike as Jane. I thought she fit the part very well, and was prettier than the BBC (sorry, Susannah Harker). She and Bingley are adorable together.

            Jena Malone (Lydia Bennett): Malone was actually a lot like the Lydia in the BBC (Julia Sawalha), in both appearance, and acting style. I liked her equally in both films.
            Talulah Riley (Mary Bennett): Since this movie was only two hours versus the five hour film, you don’t get to know or see the characters quite as much. Mary is only in a couple of scenes, but I thought that Riley did a good job.
            Carey Mulligan (Kitty Bennett): Again, I don’t have much of an opinion since she wasn’t in many of the scenes, but she was good. The only thing is that she looks a little young for her part (Kitty is eighteen).
            Brenda Blethyn (Mrs. Bennett): Blethyn was a good Mrs. Bennett. The one thing I will say is that she’s not as annoying as the Mrs. Bennett in the BBC (Alison Steadman), which may sound like a good thing. But her absolute ridiculousness in the other film is what makes her such an unforgettable character. So I liked Blethyn fine, but Steadman wins as Mrs. Bennett.
            Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennett): I must confess, I was rather disappointed with Mr. Bennett. I loved him so much in the BBC (Benjamin Whitrow), but in this movie, I found him rather lacking. He wasn’t as funny or as interesting a character as in the BBC.
            Claudie Blakley (Charlotte Lucas): I think that Charlotte was well casted. Blakley was good to the character, and portrayed her well. I love the scene when she tells Elizabeth that she and Mr. Collins are engaged. The emotions were very real.
            Tom Hollander (William Collins): I really liked this Collins. Again, like Mrs. Bennett, he wasn’t as absolutely weird as he is in the BBC (David Bamber), but I was fine with it. Hollander’s performance was a little more believable – in that, he was still a strange, kooky character, but not as utterly disgusting and awkward as Bamber. I love Mr. Collins in the BBC, just because he’s so awkward and painful to watch, but I thought that Hollander was a good Collins in this film as well.
            Rupert Friend (George Wickham): The moment Wickham entered the scene, I was like “I know that guy!” As it turns out, Rupert Friend is a German officer in The Boy In Striped Pajamas, a movie about the Jewish Holocaust. Anyway, as Wickham, I thought he was good. Could have been a little better looking (he’s supposed to be ridiculously handsome, right?), but other than that, there weren’t any major objections. I just love Wickham in the BBC, though (as much as one can love Wickham, that is).
            Simon Woods (Charles Bingley): As much as I love Crispin Bonham-Carter as Bingley in the BBC, Simon Woods was pretty amazing. And his hair. Was. Awesome. :D I’ve never seen hair that orange.
            Kelly Reilly (Caroline Bingley): I think that I like Reilly better as Caroline than Anna Chancellor. The one thing that I didn’t like about her, is that she (just as a character) was less stylish and fashionable. Her dresses were plain, and not very flattering, whereas in the BBC, she wore very showy gowns. But that’s not the actress’ fault.
            Matthew Macfadyen (Fitzwilliam Darcy): It’s the man we’ve all been waiting for!! And I bet you know what I’m going to say about him. I don’t like him. I’m sorry, but no one else can play the part like Collin Firth. There’s just no competition. :P Macfadyen was a good actor, but just not Darcy (this is one of those areas where I’m biased). A couple of things I noticed; one, he doesn’t possess the same air. Like at the assembly ball, he (Macfadyen) looks bored, rather than proud. Two, his hair. It was properly brushed over and such, it was just kind of mussed. Which I personally like, but not for Mr. Darcy. No, Mr. Darcy is much more proper than that. There are other things, but you get the idea. Collin Firth is Mr. Darcy, and all others are just wannabes. Sorry, but it’s the cold, hard truth.
            Tamzin Merchant (Georgiana Darcy): I did not like Merchant as Georgiana. For one, she wasn’t overly pretty (which Georgiana is). And more importantly, the one scene that they have her in, she’s extremely forward. She runs up to Elizabeth, all excited, and starts prattling on about her brother. I’m sorry, but that is not Georgiana. Georgiana is extremely shy, to the point of being called proud. She wouldn’t run up to someone she’s never met before.
            Judy Dench (Lady Catherine de Bourg): I liked Dench as Lady Catherine. Once more, she wasn’t in the movie very much, so there wasn’t much opportunity to develop her character (aka, she didn’t have a lot of time for bossing people around). But what I saw was good.

            All right, now for the movie in general.
            I thought it was very well made. I like their filming style. The locations they shot at were beautiful. The story transitions smoothly... It was well done. And I also appreciated that the clothing was much more modest than in the BBC version.
            One con is, of course, the length. I totally understand the need to do a regular length movie (and the BBC is different anyway, as it was a TV series). But because of how short it needed to be, they couldn’t quite do the story justice. You didn’t go as in-depth with the characters, and some (like Darcy) had a less-defined character arc, which was disappointing.

            There were some scenes I really loved, and some I really did not love. I absolutely loved the second proposal scene. That was just beautiful. But I did not like the first proposal scene. It felt very harsh. They’re standing out in the rain, yelling at each other – And that was another thing. I did not like how they had Darcy yelling in that scene. He’s far too gentlemanlike to yell at a woman. And he totally slaughtered the best line “In vain I have struggled; it will not do. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” He says the first half, then goes on his spiel about her family, then finishes by saying her loves her. The whole scene was very disappointing.
            Another scene that I did like is of Darcy and Bingley standing beside the lake, and Bingley is rehearsing his proposal to Jane. I liked how they included that in this film.
            It was interesting how they had to change things since this was a shorter movie. Like having Lizzy actually approach him at the assembly ball and try to engage him in conversation (and they do converse later that evening). And the whole story in general moved very quickly.

            Well, there’s my opinion of Pride and Prejudice. Overall, I enjoyed the movie immensely. It was well-filmed, well-cast, and engaging. I would highly recommend it.
            Until next time, folks. ::tips hat::
Dancing at Netherfield.


"A Mrs. Bennett, a Miss Bennett, a Miss Bennett, and a Miss Bennett."
Bingley's Proposal :D
The best part in the whole movie. <3


  1. What a lovely review!! Excellently done. :)

  2. Very good review, Riah! :) I quite like this movie, and I must admit to liking Mcfadyen Mr Darcy over Firth. ;) This may be tempered by the fact I saw this version of the movie first, before the BBC though. :)

    I *love* the second proposal scene too. ^_^ Also the fact that there was no kiss sweetened the scene more in some way, I reckon.

    1. ::gasps:: How could you?? :P Just kidding. It's probably some of the same thing for me too - I saw the BBC first, so that influenced who I thought of as Darcy. First Impressinos are powerful. ;)

  3. The new Darcy looks somehow like the BBC Collins...