Tuesday, March 05, 2013

"Pride & Prejudice" (2005)

It has come to my attention, over the last year or so, that there are a lot of people who hate this movie.  I am not one of them.  More on that at the end of this post.

I first saw this version in 2006 when it had come to DVD.  I liked it all right.  The second time I watched it was last year, when I was rereading the book for the first time in many years.  I liked it very well indeed.  And this, my third time through, I liked it immensely.  I'm not going to recap the story here, though if you don't know what it's about, I included a brief summary in my review of the book here.

There are a lot of little reasons why this movie resonates with me.  It feels very real, very grounded, and makes me feel as if I'm taking a trip into that time period, not just watching a movie.  This Longbourne estate has pigs, chickens, a kitchen, mud, dust motes, a childhood swing, sagging book shelves, and servants who speak and sing and hum and are not invisible.  Daily life is important here, in all its ordinariness.

And this movie is filled with life!  The dances are vibrant and enthusiastic -- I want to join in with the fun and get swept away by the sheer energy that almost bursts my TV set.  There are slower, more refined dances too, especially during the dance at Netherfield, but those are not the only sorts of dances depicted.  These people do not live in a stuffy, stodgy world where elegance and refinement are the end-all, be-all of existence -- they are enjoying life unabashedly.  Caroline Bingley can look down her nose at so much joy all she wants -- that's her loss.  (If you want a taste of the vitality of this movie, go here to watch the Meryton Assembly scene on YouTube.)

In fact, when Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) first arrives, he looks more than a little wistful at not feeling comfortable joining in the festivities.  I think what I especially like about this Mr. Darcy is that he doesn't come off as an unpleasant snob so much as a man accustomed to his own particular way of life.  He brings out the Darcy who, in the book says he only likes to dance with partners he is particularly acquainted with, and is not blessed with the knack of making easy conversation with strangers.  This Mr. Darcy, because of his wealth and family connections, is showered with the attention of strangers wherever he goes when he would probably rather just sit comfortably with a friend or two.  He quite engages my sympathy and interest from the first.

Mr. Darcy being proud, but not undeservedly so.
But I'm neglecting Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley), and that won't do!  This Lizzy is also fill of life, sparkling with youth and energy.  Whatever she does, she does wholeheartedly, whether it's walking to see her ailing sister, reading a book, swinging in circles, or cutting a verbal sparring partner down to size with her keen sarcasm.  It is no surprise that retiring Mr. Darcy would be captivated by her.

Lizzy loves life!
And captivated he clearly is, almost from the first.  In the book, of course, he begins by admiring her "fine eyes," and in this, his lingering glances speak eloquently of his interest.

Another pair of fine eyes!
Okay, time to talk about the rest of the cast just a bit.  I'm working on a comparison of the casts of this and the 1995 version, so I'll save most of my thoughts for that, lest this post be 19 pages long.  I'll just mention three that I particularly like.

First, Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet.  I love the way he's always dressed sort of sloppily, as if even when getting dressed he can't keep his mind from wandering to other things.  It really brings out his almost absent-minded ways, definitely the fact that he's careless of his surroundings, his station in life, and his family.  Not because he doesn't care, but because he's always thinking of other things.

Mr. Bennet at breakfast

I also really like Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet.  She is exactly the Jane I imagine in the book -- beautiful, but not in a showy way, and so sweet and kind.  There is no wonder that Mr. Bingley falls in love with her -- really, it's amazing there aren't more men chasing her.  Who wouldn't want to marry Jane?

Can't you tell how sweet and kind she is just by looking at her?

And then there's the incomparable Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  Is there anyone who can deliver caustic condescension like Dame Judi?  It's a mark of Lizzy's strong spirit that she doesn't quail before Lady Catherine, especially when she's angry.  I would probably cry, but Lizzy stands straight and firm, unabashed.  Good for you, Lizzy!

Lady Catherine in all her splendor
But what I like best about this movie is how accessible it is, how friendly and welcoming.  If you have never read a Jane Austen book in your life, you will still understand this movie perfectly well (unlike the 1995 Persuasion, ahem).  It draws viewers in, saying, "Come and meet some fascinating people, make friends, fall in love if you like."  It doesn't demand that its viewers be Austen enthusiasts already, and by so doing, it can give newcomers an appreciation of that world and those characters, as well as the brilliant writer who created them.

I have a friend who has never read a Jane Austen book.  She enjoyed this movie so much, she asked me to recommend an Austen novel for her to read, something I don't know that she would have seriously considered if not for this movie.  I can give it no higher recommendation than that.


Okay, now for the costumes.  Like much of the scenery and set dressing, these costumes feel very lived-in and realistic to me.

Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth, and Jane at the Meryton Assembly
Lizzy tends to wear plain dresses, which highlights her direct personality.  She also wears what appears to be one of her father's old coats, which I absolutely love -- it shows the connection between the two characters in such a simple, direct way.

Lizzy in her father's coat
She does wear one dress a couple times that I really don't like  -- it seems out of place, too modern.  I think it's the open-necked, button-down shirt that really throws it off, for me.

This looks more like something from The Sound of Music.
I don't really care for the long, straggly bangs that several of the female characters have, particularly Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas, but I don't know enough about hairstyles of the Regency era to judge whether they're un-period or just different from what I've seen in other movies. 

Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley
I said at the beginning that I would address a few of the things I've read in the blogosphere, some of them so spiteful and mean-spirited that they're worthy of Caroline Bingley.  I'm not going to name names or link to any of the other reviews, as I don't want to pick fights.  But a few things get criticized over and over, so I'll just talk about a couple of those more common complaints.

First, I'm kind of amused by how many people get riled up by the fact that this not only does not include every single scene from the book, but it also does not take every line of dialog straight from the page.  This is called an adaptation, right?  Merriam-Webster.com defines the word "adaptation" to mean "a composition rewritten into a new form."  Yeah, not going to be exactly the same as the book in every particular.  You want the book, read the book!  To me, this movie captures both the story and the characters, and that is what I look for in the movie version of any story.  Maybe I am just more accustomed to this idea than some people because I watch so many versions of Hamlet, and each one is cut a bit differently, yet most still manage to convey the story and portray the characters faithfully.

Okay, second, there seem to be a lot of people hating the "botched proposal scene."  It's true that they shift the action from the Collins' home to outside in a rain storm, and it's true that they changed some of the dialog (see the above definition of an "adaptation").  But this is actually the scene that made me sit up and start liking this version the first time I saw it.  This is partly because I have a thing for wet men, and partly because it's so brilliantly acted.  Both Macfadyen and Knightley step all over each other's lines, giving their heated words the feel of an actual argument.  In the book, Lizzy is infuriated by his proposal, and Darcy is angered by her refusal, so I don't see how this can be viewed as out of keeping with the spirit of the scene.  In fact, it shows how deeply both characters feel.

Can't you see he loves her most ardently?
People also seem to be incensed by the fact that Darcy and Lizzy nearly kiss at the end of the scene.  Why?  Darcy loves her, most ardently, as he here proclaims.  We know by his later actions that Lizzy's refusal does not cause him to stop loving her.  And in my admittedly limited experience (having been married a mere ten years to the first man I ever really dated), anger and attraction can be pretty closely linked.  The arousal of any strong emotion brings other emotions to the surface more readily, I've found.  I suppose people might find it improper that Darcy and Lizzy would be tempted to kiss when they are not only not married, but not even engaged, and I admit that in that era, such a kiss would likely be frowned on.  But they don't actually kiss, so I don't see the point of condemning them for impropriety.

Finally, I have read several blogs that say that anyone who likes this movie at all is clearly not a true Jane Austen fan.  Er... what?  Did Jane Austen set down rules saying what constitutes being a fan of her work?  Or does someone else have the right to make such rules?  Come on, that's ridiculous.  A "true" fan of Jane Austen is someone who enjoys and appreciates her work, for whatever reason.  I wouldn't even address this except that I think making proclamations like that is a good way to alienate people who might just be discovering the world of Jane Austen.  If someone likes this movie, and then reads that if they like it, they can't be "true" fans of her writing, mightn't that make them give up and never actually read her novels?  To me, that would be really sad, so shame on people who think they can determine which movie versions others should and should not like.  Everyone has the right to like or dislike whatever movie they want!

Anyway, this movie has nothing really objectionable in it, though of course Lydia running off with Wickham is quite scandalous, and some of the dresses do show off a good deal of their wearers' assets.


This is also my third entry for the Pride and Prejudice Biecentenary Challenge on Austenprose.com.  My previous entries are here and here on my book review blog.

I leave you with this shot of Mr. Darcy striding through the morning fog to declare that Elizabeth has bewitched him, body and soul.  Not quite how it goes in the book, but delicious nonetheless.

A long coat is nearly as good as a cape, to be honest.  Yowza.

70 comments:

  1. One thing Marshall McLuhan pointed out is that you have to translate between different media, not just between different languages. People who complain that the movie differs from the book are just as ridiculous as people who complain that we're not reading Ovid in the original Latin.

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    1. You are sweet :-) But shame on you for not reading Ovid in the original Latin! Tsk tsk tsk.

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  2. I loved this movie! I had read the book, so I was all prepared to hate it, thinking the actors would surely be all wrong, but it was I who was wrong! I, like you, appreciated the choice in actors, and character portrayal. I loved how they used almost direct quotes, and scenes from the book. There was some things that I thought were out of keeping with era, but that was to be expected, as film makers do not own time machines;) Keira Knightley is not my favorite actress, so I was surprised at how well she portrayed Lizzy. Though, I did think she a bit more flirtatious than Lizzy was in the book. Altogether, I quite fell in love with the movie. I agree with you about the modesty though, their dress was (unfortunately) in keeping with era in that respect.

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    1. Yay! Another fan! Actually, Lizzy herself dressed quite modestly, as did Jane, which I liked, as it visually set them apart from their sisters (and others ::cough:: Caroline Bingley ::cough::).

      I sometimes quite enjoy Keira, and sometimes she's just okay. Depends on the script or direction, maybe?

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  3. Very good review, even though, as you'd expect, I disagree with a bit of it. This might get rather long...

    I agree that anyone is allowed to like this version as much as they want, and as an adaption, changes are to be expected. Unfortunately, for me, the changes and modernizing of the story are the reasons I dislike it. The original story cannot be improved in my opinion, so why would anyone want to try by changing things?

    In a modern rom-com, I would love the "almost kiss" scene. My problem with it is that Lizzy is not in love with Mr. Darcy at this point, and he has just insulted her and her family. It doesn't make sense that she would even be tempted to kiss him. For him, the temptation is more likely, but he's just been humiliated by her refusal. Plus, he's a gentleman, and would have restrained himself better. Forgetting the impropriety, it's simply not in their character. Same problems with the field scene - yes, it's romantic, but a lady and Gentleman of the time would never go out like that without being fully clothed.

    I agree the acting was all top-notch, but again, (and I don't blame the actors for this) a lot of things are out of character. Mainly Lizzy - she is full of life and energy for today's standards, but in her time her behavior would be rude and wild. Lizzy is spirited, but not uncontrolled.

    "It doesn't demand that its viewers be Austen enthusiasts already..." Yes, and that is to it's credit, but I was already a fan when I first saw it, and that's why it disappointed me. This movie was catered to a modern audience, who are infatuated with romance, but what I love most about Austen's books is the old-fashioned views of love, and Lizzy and Darcy's love is founded on more than attraction and romance. So sure the general plot is intact, but half of the reasons I fell in love with the story in the first place are gone - modernized. And if I want to see a modernized version of P&P, every third rom-com out there will do.

    I guess what disappoints me most is the lost potential - I really think it could have been well-made and accurate. So yes, I am one of those people who want Austen adaptions to be as faithful as possible. I just don't see a point to anything else. I can't say that anyone who likes this version is not a true Austen fan though. I definitely agree that people are entitled to their opinions, and can certainly be Austen fans, and fans of the 2005 P&P. But it all boils down to a difference of opinion, doesn't it?

    I'm sorry - I think I just put nearly the equivalent of an entire blog post in your comments!

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    1. Prepare for the equivalent another blog post in return, then! :-) This is what I like, well-thought-out reasons for disliking or liking it.

      The funny thing is, I don't read Austen for her romances. I read her books because I am fascinated by how well she could portray everyday life and ordinary people, and make that very everyday ordinariness be important and worthy of reading about. I love her characters, so many of them so realistic they seem almost nonfictional, while others are deliciously absurd. And yes, the romances are lovely, and I do love happy endings and people finding love, etc. So I guess, for me, I didn't notice this being more romantic than the book.

      And I don't see this Lizzy as wild or rude or uncontrolled. Could you maybe give me some examples of things that struck you as such?

      And I should have said that the near-kiss doesn't strike me as out-of-character for these characters as portrayed here, because I will agree that this Lizzy and Darcy are much more interested in each other from the get-go, whether they want to be or not, than they are in the book.

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    2. Oh yeah, I didn't mean that the only thing I like about Austen is the romances... in fact what I think I love most about her books (though it's hard to say for sure) is her insight into human character. But if you like the real life sort of aspect, then why doesn't it bother you when parts are modernized, and therefore not real and true to the time anymore?

      I actually think the book is more romantic than this movie, because it was more honest. The movie was more sappy, overly dramatic stuff you can find anywhere.

      The first example that comes to mind is her walking to Pemberly (which was apparently shocking enough as it is) with her hair down. Totally inappropriate. And her yelling at and over top of Darcy, though I do also agree with you that it makes a great scene... if only it weren't P&P! Also pretty much any part where her lines weren't even remotely derived from the book had a nagging modern feminist feeling. Knightley in general was just way too modern in every way for my taste.

      That's true, it does fit the movie version of the characters, which is good proof that the characters are just too different from the book for me.

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    3. But if you like the real life sort of aspect, then why doesn't it bother you when parts are modernized, and therefore not real and true to the time anymore?

      Geese and chickens running about in the yard is hardly confined to a specific era. I think what I like about the inclusion of the more gritty details is that it reminds us that these sorts of people did not sit about drinking tea and arranging flowers all the time, which is what you often see portrayed in period dramas. Yes, Mr. Bennet was a gentleman, but he also had an active farm as part of Longbourne, as I recall (Mr. Collins mentioned something about it, didn't he? It's been about a month since I read it, so I can't recall exactly anymore). At any rate, it makes me feel more as if I could be part of a such a life than if everyone sat around painting screens and decorating tables all the time. Maybe it's because my grandparents and great-grandparents were farmers, and I have kicked around farmyards enough to feel a kinship with people who have geese following them about.

      I actually think the book is more romantic than this movie, because it was more honest. The movie was more sappy, overly dramatic stuff you can find anywhere.

      I think this depends on how you define "romantic." To me, the book is more about actual love and respect and friendship growing between two people, which movies can never show the same way because they are composed of images instead of words that convey a character's thoughts as well as actions. Movies portray romance by having the characters show their emotions -- it's either that, or have endless voiceovers, which don't fit the style of every movie. Like my husband said in the first comment here (he's Octavio Dia in the blogosphere), you have to take into account the translation between mediums. I think part of what Deborah Koren was reacting to in the '95 (see her comment below) is that the characters are almost too reserved, and they give us very few ways to figure out what they are feeling and thinking, other than by what they say. It's a completely different style, and might be more technically close to the book, but that doesn't necessarily mean another approach is bad.

      her walking to Pemberly (which was apparently shocking enough as it is) with her hair down.

      I'm not entirely sure that wearing your hair down was shocking in the Regency era. Certainly it was in Victorian England, but during the Regency, fashions and attitudes were harking more toward the natural and the Greco-Roman. Certainly they wore their hair up for formal occasions, but if you look at portraits from this era, there are plenty with woman with their hair down, or partly up and partly down. Google "Regency portraits" and see all the different hairstyles portrayed in that era.

      a nagging modern feminist feeling.

      I've heard this said elsewhere too, that this Lizzy is too feminist. I'm actually about the least feminist person I know, and usually things with a feminist slant to them bother me, but here I just am not seeing it. Maybe I'm missing something? This Elizabeth strikes me as a bit bold, yes, but in the book, she is very prone to speaking her mind and disregarding conventions that seem nonsensical to her.

      In fact, I think Austen's books as a whole point out the discrepancies in how men and women must behave and live their lives. Gentlewomen had two choices in life: either marry someone who can provide for them, or be a burden to their relatives. I feel like Austen herself chafed under those restrictions, and while she had no way of really imagining an alternative, I see almost a bitterness sometimes in the way she writes about this. Feminist? Not exactly. But certainly not content to sit by the fire and spin either.

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    4. Geese and chicken running around in the yard is not exactly what I was referring to. More like pigs being walked through the house, and the numerous things I've previously mentioned. Arranging flowers, decorating tables and painting screens and such is what ladies did to be productive, and I'm inclined to believe the representation in most period dramas rather than the single one that is different. Mr. Bennet has an Estate. He rents land out to farmers, but he's not a farmer himself. It's nice that you feel personally connected to them, but that doesn't make it an accurate representation. They weren't as poor as they're shown to be in this movie.

      Yes, I consider that to be romantic, and I have seen it portrayed in movies perfectly well. The 95 conveys Lizzy and Darcy's real love, respect and friendship very satisfactorily. This movie modernizes the romance too much for me. I like the more nuanced way of telling the story, and enjoy working to understand what the characters are feeling. People back then were reserved anyway - plus they were British, so they suppress their emotions. (Haha) I really think the 95 was nearly perfect on this point. The other approach is bad for me.

      Partly down; pieces down, not mostly down. Women Lizzy's age wore their hair up, and since I like to think of Lizzy as a proper young lady, I don't like seeing it down in that scene.

      Well, I suppose if you can't see it then it's good for you, cause it really bothers me. I really can't think of anything approving to say of of Knighley's Lizzy.

      "This Elizabeth strikes me as a bit bold, yes, but in the book, she is very prone to speaking her mind and disregarding conventions that seem nonsensical to her."

      True, I just find it way overdone. You have to remember that she was those things for her time, when everyone was more reserved and more polite than people today. Put this Lizzy in modern clothes and she'd fit into a modern movie perfectly. That's not the sort of thing I want to see in a Jane Austen movie.

      Ok, I don't understand your point though. I love Austen's satire, and pointing out of the ridiculous points of society and life of her time. I wasn't accusing her of being feminist, just the 05 Lizzy... or are you saying that Austen's discontentment in her lot justifies making her characters more feminist, even though she didn't write them that way? because I would have to disagree with that.

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    5. I don't think the pig was walking through the house. I think it was walking outside under that breezeway where the swing hangs, just outside the door. There was clearly a space between the doorway where Mr. Bennet and the pig passed and the doorway where Mrs. Bennet was getting ready to go out, sort of a back entry way or mudroom kind of place. I didn't see them as poor, just as accustomed to a less fussy, propriety-above-all life. And that's rather Darcy's point about the Bennets, isn't it? That the family as a whole lacks propriety and is too lackadaisical toward social conventions. Caroline Bingley speaks of their "country-town indifference to decorum" (Chapter 8).

      I'm coming to feel that quibbling over Lizzy's hair being down is a bit silly, like quibbling over whether her one dress is period enough or not. But anyway, in the book, Mrs. Hurst said that when Lizzy arrived to inquire after Jane, that "[s]he really looked almost wild." And Caroline added, "Her hair so untidy, so blowsy" (also Chapter 8). So no matter whether it was up or down, Elizabeth definitely was not looking properly done up.

      I know you were accusing the 2005 Lizzy of being a feminist, though I'm not sure what you're basing that on, other than that she speaks her mind and wears her hair down. I cannot recall any speeches she made that sounded feminist and not just strong-minded and sure of her self. What I meant was that Austen herself could be regarded as an early feminist (as could Charlotte Bronte) because she spoke out against the inequality of women and men's options for marriage and life. The whole thing about Longbourne being entailed is such a statement against the way women were treated unequally. So what I am saying is that her characters ARE a bit feminist, and I don't recall the 2005 Elizabeth being more so than the Elizabeth in the original text, or the 1995 Elizabeth for that matter.

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    6. Ok, that makes sense. I see your point, but that's not how I see it - they seem to be much more beneath the Darcy's and Bingley's than they should be to me. Anyway, Lizzy and Jane don't lack propriety.

      You're right, arguing over anything for that matter doesn't make sense. There's no way you can change my opinions, and I'm just as confident that I can't change yours. I think our main difference is that I prefer more subtlety. The blowsy-ness of Lizzy's hair in that scene in the 95 was perfect in my opinion. But I understand where you're coming from, so if you understand me as well, we should probably leave it there.

      I think "feminist" was the wrong word for me to use. Originally, I used it to try to describe my dislike of Knightley's Lizzy, so I'll try to clarify. Everything, from her glamorous face, her skinny body, her hair, (most of) her dialogue, the way she delivered her dialogue, her costumes, the way she walked and sat, her expressions... everything... just says "modern woman" to me. Her entire air and impression just comes off as all wrong, and modern. I felt like the director was trying to give a "strong modern feminist woman" impression from her, and that's why I said "feminist" but the really important word was "modern."

      Ok, well I also disagree that Austen's characters are feminist; I would say they're just not weaklings and have their own opinions.

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    7. I can see how Keira Knightley might not visually fit into Austen's world -- it's amazing how much different people look now even from a hundred years ago, much less two hundred. I think, though, that the "modern woman" inference might just be a matter of personal opinion.

      As for whether or not Austen's writing was feministic, I think it depends on your definition of "feminist." If you're thinking of it in the modern, women-are-the-same-as-men kind of way, then no, it doesn't apply. But if you mean the more original meaning of "active on the behalf of women's rights and interests," then it does. Austen was living during the Enlightenment -- Mary Wollstonecraft published "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in 1792, 18 years before Austen published Pride and Prejudice. Women (even women characters in a book) being able to have their own opinions and express them, to make their own rational decisions -- these were pretty modern ideas when Austen was writing. Even a quarter of a century before, they could have been seen as ludicrous.

      (I myself am not what we today understand to be a "feminist." I am content in my role as wife and mother, but I am also eager to use the gifts God has given me in a way that will glorify him and benefit my neighbor.)

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    8. I wasn't trying to present it as anything other than my personal opinion. I'm glad you understand me now!

      I was using your first definition; "modern feminist." As to whether Austen and her characters were "old time feminists", I don't really care that much. It's just not something I ever consider while reading the book or watching the 95 movie. She and they certainly had, and expressed their own opinions though.

      Me either. :)

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  4. Ah...nothing I love better than a good ole P&P discussion. ;) I wrote up, btw, a long review of this version, plus my own character comparisons on my blog. I can grab you links if you like. Now, on to the rest of this! :)

    The daily life at Longbourne -- not a fan. Nuh-uh. It's too dirty, and too down to earth for a family of the mild affluence that the Bennets had. They weren't that poor! And as to the servants -- if they're speaking, humming, etc when by themselves, yes, accurate. But with the family? Wouldn't've been approved of.

    The dances are indeed very active...perhaps too much. Have you figured out yet I'm more of a fan of the 1995 version? Yup, I'm a devotee. ;)

    Elizabeth, or KK, is indeed very entergetic -- so much so that I would rather consider her a Jo March than an Elizabeth Bennet. Especially with that picture you posted -- a very JM look as opposed EB, IMHO.

    Donald Sutherland was good. I did prefer the other, I believe, but DS wasn't awful.

    And yes, Rosamund as Jane was SO sweet! I quite liked her...a great deal indeed.

    Lady Catherine, yes indeed, most impressive.

    Ah, but listen...I saw the 1995 version a time or two when I was 11 or so. I loved it from the start. And it inspired me (and later my sisters) to read the books again and again. The same with the 1995 versions of S&S and Persuasion, and especially the 2009 version of Emma. That is to say, I don't think this version has any advantage or uniqueness in making people read the books.

    The dresses are more modest here, something that many people like. Personally, though, I think that perhaps the other ones are more accurate? Not sure. But I would guess so, as are the haristyles, I haven't any doubt. Those bangs...ugh.

    I still strongly dislike the rainy proposal scene. I am very much for movies following the original books as much as possible (though there is occasionally time for not), and here, I feel like it was quite awful not to follow. It bugged me exceedingly.

    "some of the dresses do show off a good deal of their wearers' assets." That line made me smile. Well said!

    Oh dear, I do hope that this comment does not come across in an antagonistic or unkind manner...it is not supposed to, and I am most sorry if it does. As stated, I tend to feel a little strongly about Jane Austen movies, and P&P in particular. :)

    Oh, and btw...great job with getting "Macfadyen" right. So many people capitalize the F or leave the first "a" out... *sigh*

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    1. Yup, I've read your reviews, and one day I WILL finish my own cast comparisons -- I'm thinking I'll have to split it into 2 or 3 posts.

      I do think this has two advantages over the 1995 in getting people interested: length and focus. You and I, and my friend I watched this with, are quite happy to watch long, nuanced, deep movies. Not so a lot of people these days. Because this is half as long, and focuses much more on Lizzy and Darcy, it can bring in people who aren't accustomed to a slower pace.

      I post links to my blog posts on my Facebook page, and one of my college lit profs just commented on this, saying, "Not the version with that awful proposal in the rain?" I had to laugh and say, yes, that version. Clearly, that scene is absolutely a matter of individual taste.

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    2. Oh, and nope, you didn't come across as antagonistic or unkind -- just thoughtful and well-considered :-)

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  5. As you know, I quite enjoyed this version, as opposed to the Colin Firth version, in which I simply didn't get the characters. I could not relate to them, and I believe I asked an awful lot of "I don't understand these people, please explain!" questions at the time. But I am also not a Jane Austen fan, and I have never read any of her books. Way too much romance, not enough action for me. Neither the time period nor the type of lives these people led holds much interest for me. The Colin Firth version was my first P&P. And I didn't really get it. It kept me at a distance. However, this version of the same story let me see their world from their point of view, and it made it a bit more interesting, enough that I could let go my prejudices (hah!) and enjoy it for what it was. I liked these people, and I don't go "huh?" every other fifteen minutes. And I am tempted to try a Jane Austen book after seeing this movie, whereas after the other version, no, please no. I should add I am a great fan of older literature... but for the most part, I read adventure stories.

    Though I do definitely understand how various fans can be "snobbish" about their fandom. I mean, look at me. I am a complete opera snob. I blow a gasket over operas sung in English, or how they update some productions into nonsensical time periods, or *shudder* Andrea Bocelli (NOT an opera singer, please keep his singing far away from me), but the fact is, all those things, and Bocelli too, can and do appeal to non-opera fans, and might just possibly make them interested in exploring more of what I am passionate about in opera. So as much as my sister and I can wrinkle our noses and have merry rant sessions between ourselves, I don't really berate any of those in public, as they do serve their purpose. I may not like them personally, but I'm okay with that these days. The more people today are willing to remake older things -- even modernize them, the more they are kept alive. And keeping opera (and older literature) alive is very very very important to me.

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    1. I believe I asked an awful lot of "I don't understand these people, please explain!" questions at the time.

      Hee! You did indeed. I recall a lot of, "Wait, who is this person now?" and "What on earth was that supposed to mean?" questions.

      Though I do definitely understand how various fans can be "snobbish" about their fandom.

      And yes, I do too. I mean, I am the person who refused flat-out to watch the Branagh version of Hamlet again after the first time because "he was too cheerful to be Hamlet! He doesn't get it!" And then, years later, I read the liner notes to the soundtrack quite by chance, discovered that Branagh deliberately wanted to show that Hamlet was not the sort to wear inky cloaks and mope about by nature, and by that to show just how affected he was by the whole situation. And I went, "OH! I like that! I can see that!" And now I love that version. And I love how many people saw it and started to be interested in Hamlet and Shakespeare because of it.

      So anyway... glad you liked this version :-)

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  6. I think I have a tendency say things in a more biting way than Sarah and Charity U, so since they said nearly everything I would have said too, (and I also responded to your comment on my review) I will only add a few comments in response to what you said: "Finally, I have read several blogs that say that anyone who likes this movie at all is clearly not a true Jane Austen fan."
    - I hope you're not getting that from my blog, because if you are, you misconstrued what I meant and said.

    "A "true" fan of Jane Austen is someone who enjoys and appreciates her work, for whatever reason."
    - I would simply argue that this is NOT Jane Austen's work; it's an interpretation of her work, and in my personal opinion, an unsuccessful one.

    I see that you are a fellow Christian, so in spite of our spirited disagreement about this movie, I hope there's no hard feelings. =) As I said in my response to you on my own blog, I didn't mean for anything I said to be offensive.

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    1. Your post was about in the medium range of what I've been reading -- like I said, I've been reading reviews here and there for about a year. I've read everything from people who just didn't like one or two things about it to people who called this "an abomination." So while I did just throw up my hands in a sort of annoyed surrender when I read yours, it wasn't that horrible. No hard feelings at all, and I'll be interested to read your review of the 95! (Which, btw, I do like too.)

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    2. "A "true" fan of Jane Austen is someone who enjoys and appreciates her work, for whatever reason."
      - I would simply argue that this is NOT Jane Austen's work; it's an interpretation of her work, and in my personal opinion, an unsuccessful one.


      Yes! So being a fan of Jane Austen has nothing to do with whether or not you like this movie. And liking this movie, therefore, has nothing to do with whether or not you're a Jane Austen fan.

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    3. Not exactly, because this is supposed to be an interpretation of Jane Austen's novel. The way I think of it is almost like the interpretation between two different languages. Suppose you read a beautiful piece of poetry in say, French, and then you read someone's English translation, but the way it was translated destroyed the meaning of the original; the words the translator choose didn't convey the same expressions, he seemed to take liberties with the poem and insert his own ideas, and you felt it was so degrading to the French poem you loved that you never wanted to read the translation again. You wished you could just forget the experience of reading the English translation so that the beautiful memory of the French poem would remain untarnished. That's how I feel about P&P2005. Going back to my example, hypothetically I think it's possible for a French poem to be well-translated into English, but French is still such a beautiful language, that I don't think an English translation could ever fully capture the original work. However, a careful "translator" who treats the "poem" with respect and tries to remain as faithful as possible to the meaning and tone of the original might succeed in producing something I would enjoy, even though the original would always be my favorite. The P&P95 is a faithful adaptation and though the book will always be my favorite, I enjoy watching the 95 despite the impossibility of a "perfect translation."
      So, to enjoy the "lesser" quality translation, you either have to lack respect and loyalty to the original work, or have a different comprehension of the meaning, or possibly, just be able to separate the two and enjoy them both as individual and unconnected works. I don't fit into any three of those options, so I can't enjoy the 2005 at all. I hope all that makes sense! =)

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    4. Yes, that makes sense! Because I know this is an adaptation, I expect it to be different from the book. I think maybe the difference between us is that I enjoy seeing other people's exploration of a story, seeing the different ways they understand it from what I might have understood, and learning from that.

      For instance, some film/stage versions of Hamlet have Gertrude realize that the cup is poisoned and drink it to save her son. The first time I saw that, I got so excited! Before, I'd only seen the play interpreted as her drinking it without knowing what would happen. I've also now seen her drink it out of remorse at having been an unwitting accessory to (or cause of) her first husband's murder.

      Every interpretation is going to be different from the original, by nature, and I think that we can learn a lot from what is brought out in different versions.

      But that doesn't mean everyone has to enjoy every interpretation of a story they love! That's never going to happen, and personal tastes mean that some will like what some others will hate. That's why we have personal tastes, after all!

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    5. Well, I do enjoy seeing others' representations and hearing others' opinions when they are fellow fans and admirers.

      What really annoyed me about P&P2005 was when I discovered several things about the director that gave me the impression that he didn't respect Austen at all -- he didn't want to be "too reverential" to the novel and he doesn't "believe that people spoke like that then; it's not natural." That ruined my interest in his interpretation because HE clearly isn't an Austen fan - he didn't even read the novel until after he read a draft of the script, and then he decided he wanted the script to be LESS like the book!

      So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think he gave his interpretation, I feel more like he took Austen's story, ripped out the parts he didn't understand or like, and then made it his own. Since he only read the book once, I don't think he had much of an interpretation to give, anyway. I've read the book at least a dozen times, and each reading still deepens my understanding and renews my admiration. As a lover of Austen's original novel, I can't appreciate what Wright did to the story.

      Anyway, I agree, that's why we have personal tastes! =)

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    6. I actually did not know that about the director, and I agree that his attitude is most irksome! Not an approach that I really understand, and I guess we're lucky he got as much right as he did, then, eh?

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  7. Loved your review Hamlette, though I am an avid P&P95 fan. :) This 2005 version introduced me to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, so I do have a loyalty to it. Also this film has the best ever Jane. Rosamund Pike is the PERFECT Jane. Still like this version... but not as much as the 95 version. :)
    Oh, and bravo for putting your opinion out there! :) You can love any version of P&P that you like and still be a Jane Austen fan... don't let anyone tell you different!

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    1. Thank you! I'm definitely not saying this is a better version than the 95, or even that I dislike the 95. But I do enjoy this version, I think it has many good qualities, and it saddens me that many people can't see past the differences to enjoy it.

      I'm writing a blog post in my head about the difference between a story and the means with which it's told, and I'm hoping to get that typed up later this week, as parts of this discussion are just sparking things that are too long to say in the comments :-)

      BTW, I wish there was a way of commenting on the reviews you've been posting on your site, as there have been several that I've wanted to respond to. At any rate, I've been enjoying them!

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    2. :) I might be able to come up with a way to put comments up! It'll be a little unconventional, but available. Thanks for hinting that! :)

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  8. This review made me smile!!! This is my absolute favorite version of Pride and Prejudice, and I love Austen's books too...Therefore, here is yet more proof that one can be an Austen fan and still love the movie. :) And yeah, I, too, love Mr. Darcy in this one, and--dare I say it?--I like him much better than Colin Firth's Darcy.
    Thank you! :)

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    1. Whimsey, you make me smile :-) Thank you!

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  9. You know what? I think it is completely awesome that we are having thorough discussions here about a book that so many people today couldn't be bothered to read. This gives me such hope for the future! If we are this involved, this intense in our feelings about good literature like P&P, then we will pass some of that fervor on to our children, and they will only benefit from it. Good show, everyone!

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  10. I really like your review Hamlette. I also enjoyed reading everyone else's comments. I love this version of Pride & Prejudice and it is this version that made me want to read the book for the fist time. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I have to admit that I don't get the disdain that so many have for this version of P&P. It is almost like a form of snobbery. I also like the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle but this one actually moved me more. Both proposal scenes in this version blows Colin Firth out the water. Matthew MacFadyen brought so much emotion to Mr. Darcy. I don't care if Darcy wasn't that emotional in the book. My romantic heart LOVES that Darcy is that way in this movie.

    I did not care for Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Bennett though. I much prefer Jennifer Ehle.

    There are things I like and dislike about both versions.

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    1. Like you, there are things I like and dislike about both versions. I think it's unfortunate that they get compared all the time, but that's inevitable, I suppose.

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  11. Well said! Bravo! I'm definitely an Austen fan and as such I've watched just about every version of her work that's adapted to screen. Not all, but most. I am solidly in the camp that they all have loveliness to offer. Yes, there are things in each version of P&P that irk me a little. But ultimately there is nothing that takes away my enjoyment of the adaptation. I like them all! There. I said it and I'm sticking by it. I have both this one and the '95 one in my collection and love them both. :)

    The visuals in this one are incredible by the way! Each scene is so beautiful. I read someone else's review of this recently and they stated that if you paused the movie at any point, you'd always have a pretty picture. Which is so true! It's simply gorgeous. :)

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    1. Thank you! And you're so right about the visual aspect of this version. I love all those long shots that track through the rooms of a house. And that bit with the drop cloths when Bingley leaves Netherfield? Gorgeous.

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  12. I remember hating this movie when I first saw it. I was flicking through some TV channels one day and since there was nothing else on I settled for this movie. I switched it off after about 10 minutes in disgust! But knowing that I hadn't really given the movie a fair chance I watched it again and liked it a lot more. And now every time I see this movie I like it more and more! I still wouldn't call this movie one of my absolute favourite Austen adaptations but overall I do actually like it :) I think it really helps that I consider the 1995 adaptation to be overrated. It's not that I dislike that version. I rewatch it every couple of years or so. I just don't understand why everyone seems to think that it's flawless and perfect and the definitive version of the book.

    WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS MOVIE
    In many ways I do think that this movie is better than the 1995 adaptation. Rosamond Pike makes for an absolutely wonderful Jane Bennet, I completely agree. She's clearly shy and reserved but she still comes across as warm and affectionate. And she IS the beautiful Jane Bennet that I imagined when I read the book! She's so much better than Susannah Harker's Jane from the 1995 version! I really love Brenda Blethyn and Jenna Malone as Mrs Bennet and Lydia as well. They're silly and foolish and annoying but not so annoying that I want to strangle them both! That's yet another issue that I have with the 1995 adaptation. Alison Steadman and Julia Sawalha are just so OTT and irritating in that version! I realise that we're not supposed to like Mrs Bennet and Lydia in the book of course but at least I can read about them without sighing and groaning. The 2005 movie is absolutely stunning too. The cinematography, the locations, the costumes, the lighting... it's incredibly beautiful. And I adore the music! This movie has one of my absolute favourite soundtracks ever :D And finally, this movie is extremely well condensed. Considering its two hour running time it doesn't feel rushed and it doesn't leave out anything major.

    WHAT I DON'T LIKE ABOUT THIS MOVIE
    However, sadly, I've still got some major issues with this movie. I'm sorry but Keira Knightley's Elizabeth really irritates me. I really dislike her in the role. She's far too giggly for one thing and I just really dislike KK as an actress. Whenever I see KK in anything I can never lose myself in the character she's playing. I'm always very aware that I'm watching KK. I really dislike Donald Sutherland as Mr Bennet as well. Where's the sarcastic, bitingly witty Mr Bennet that I read about in the book?! Sutherland's He also mumbles and his English accent doesn't sound at all convincing. If it wasn't for Keira Knightley and Donald Sutherland's performances I think I would honestly prefer this movie to the 1995 adaptation. Oh, and I feel really sorry for you Americans for that alternate ending that you got! Oh the cheese, the cheeeeese! :D

    WHAT I'M UNDECIDED ABOUT
    I'm not sure how I feel about Matthew MacFaddyen's Darcy. I think he does a great job at showing Darcy's socially awkward side but I don't really saw any evidence of Darcy's arrogant and haughty side.

    Overall, I do enjoy this movie and I can understand why for some it would be their favourite P&P adaptation. I think this version has a lot going for it even if isn't as good as it could have been. My favourite P&P adaptation is actually The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as you know, so I can easily sympathise with your minority opinion :D

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    1. ::Gasp!:: You think the 1995 is overrated too? And here I thought I was the only heretic. I mean, it's great, it is. But it has flaws. So does the 2005. Neither of them hold a candle to the book. But they both have strengths too.

      I know a lot of people who don't like KK as an actress. That's a very personal thing, and yeah, if you don't like the lead actress, the movie is probably not gonna work. I happen to like her, but I very much dislike Cameron Diaz and have a hard time enjoying any movie she's in (there's only one I really like), so I understand that issue. Kudos to you for still giving it a second chance, then!

      I didn't realize there was a different ending! I'll have to go Googling for that, I expect.

      I haven't had a chance to watch more than a couple eps of the LBD, but one of these days, I'll give them a real whirl. It's on my list!

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  13. Oh, you'll have seen the UK ending to the 2005 movie. In the UK version the film ends with Mr Bennet chuckling to himself after speaking to Elizabeth about Darcy's proposal. But when they screened that to some American test audiences a lot of people weren't happy about Elizabeth and Darcy not kissing. So they rewrote a final scene at Pemberley. I find the dialogue so toe-curlingly embarrassing in that scene with all that "Goddess divine" and being "perfectly, incandescently happy" and all that. Bleurgh! It would have been better if they'd used the dialogue from the book where Elizabeth and Darcy are talking about when their feelings for each other turned to love.

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    1. I'm looking on YouTube for the UK ending, but so far haven't found it. I don't really mind the American ending, but I'm intrigued by an alternate.

      I just finished reading a book called "Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures" by Claudia L. Johnson that has confirmed my realization that I am not a Janeite. I might qualify as an Austenite, though. I'm working on a book review and will try to explain more in it.

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  14. Oh OK, maybe the endings aren't that similar after all. That book you read sounds very interesting. I didn't realise there was a difference between Janeites and Austenites! I always assumed they were simply different words to mean the same thing like Holmesians and Sherlockians. I'm looking forward to your review!

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    1. You know, as hard as I looked, I couldn't find the passage in that book where she talked about "Janeites" vs "Austenites." So either it's not in this one (it took me about a year to read) or I just couldn't find it. What I recall is that a Janeite is more interested in reading the books for the love stories and loves to discuss which movie versions have the correct tea set for the period, while an Austenite is more into a more literary, scholarly reading of the novels and such. But since I can't find the reference, it's possible I'm just making that up. Certainly both terms seem to be used interchangeably on the internet.

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  15. Excuse me for digging up an old post, but I was enjoying reading your movie reviews. :-)

    So, this post has given me a realization about two things: I have a deep emotional connection to Pride & Prejudice '05, and get super-defensive towards its foes. Look: it introduced me to Austen, and I'm not an Austen "purist". (best way I can think to describe the die-hards) Yes, it can be described as horridly shallow Austen-inspired, but people who really appreciate Austen for what she intended--grounded, sincere romance/tongue-in-cheek social commentary--are gonna seek that out in her books, and other more faithful adaptations.

    Second realization was that I will finally make myself sit through 1995, because until I do, I can never fairly or objectively defend my beloved 2005. :-)

    (well, this is too long; WHY does it take me a paragraph to say what I mean...)

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    1. I LOVE it when people comment on my old posts! Why else would I have that page devoted to alphabetically listing all the movies I've reviewed, with links? :-)

      I've come to realize that I am not a purist about anything fictional. If your retelling tells a valid story and works within the world you're creating, I'm cool with all manner of changes. As long as they're warranted by the story that's being told.

      I also have realized I'm not a "Janeite." I'm not an Austen fangirl, might be a better way to put it. I enjoy her books, I enjoy learning about her time, I enjoy movies made from her stories, but I'm not endlessly fascinated with everything about her. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- there are certainly worse things to get absorbed by!

      The 1995 is really quite good. I do prefer the 2005, but the 1995 is definitely worth seeing.

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    2. Well, I don't think I'm a very good Austen-ite, either. I don't require every specific detail to be exact. To me, P&P '05 captured the spirit of the story and the well-founded romance, and THAT is what drew me to read her books. Then I read them all, and loved how I found a little of myself in each heroine. So, I don't know, maybe I just like well-rounded characters that are easy to identify with. (Actually, for complicated reasons, I think this is why I like Thor. There's a post for another day...)

      And I'm one episode into '95. I liked it better than I expected. :-)

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    3. (Write. The. Thor. Post. I want to read it.)

      Yes, for me, I like Austen's books for the same reasons I like all the books I like: I like the characters and the writing.

      I'm glad you're liking P&P95 better than you'd expected! I really do like both Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in it. Most of the others work.

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    4. Oh, um, *blushing* well, that post about Thor would be a little introspective, so my life might have to make some changes before I put it on a blog. :-) But it's mentioned a bit in a comic book/geeky post I have coming out soon. :-)

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    5. Aha! Well, any and all discussions of Thor will be welcome :-)

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  16. Hey, guys! I know I'm late, but I wanted to leave a comment anyways, because this happens to be one of my absolute favorite subjects to ramble on about.
    Personally, I consider myself a "true Jane Austen fan," AND I love P&P 2005. I don't think there's any inconsistency between those two positions. In particular, I thought Keira Knightley's performance as Lizzy Bennet was absolutely amazing. (It may have helped that I've never seen her in any other movie, so I didn't have all those mental associations like "Oh there's that girl from Pirates of the Caribbean.") But anyway, watching her was like seeing my mental image from the novel come to life. And that was an amazing experience. I really loved her appearance (slender and dark-eyed! Yay for book-accuracy!), the way she tosses her head, the "purposeful" way she walks, and the way she speaks so quickly whenever she's mad. I loved how she was able to make Lizzy come across as young, proud, foolish, hot-tempered, and yet somehow sweet and affectionate as well. Because that's the way I read Elizabeth's character in the book.
    I don't think Keira Knightley was too "feminist." Sure, she said men were "conceited poppycocks, in my limited experience," but Lizzy in the book says a lot of stuff like that, too. Remember her conversation with Jane about Bingley? Jane says in a reasonable and apologetic tone, "Women often fancy admiration means more than it does," and Lizzy retorts angrily, "And men take care that they should." Well, I mean . . . that's kind of outspoken, isn't it? But it comes straight from the pen of Jane Austen herself. You can't pretend some modern scriptwriter made it up.
    Speaking of Jane, I absolutely LOVED the relationship between Jane and Lizzy in this film. It seemed so REAL! It reminded me so much of the way I interact with my younger sisters, especially the one closest in age to me, who reminds me a lot of Lizzy :) It was awesome how they whispered and giggled under the bedcovers late at night when they were supposed to be asleep. That's what sisters do!
    There's so much I could say about this movie which won't fit into this comment. But I'd really like to address one more thing: The setting. Specifically, the Bennets' home. Everybody says it was "too poor" and "too messy," but I'm not actually sure it wasn't more accurate than P&P 1995. I mean, think about the Bennets from the novel for a minute. How do we know they didn't actually live on or very near their own farm? Remember, they use the SAME pair of horses to work their fields and pull their carriage. (That's why Jane couldn't take the carriage to the Bingleys' house that first time.) Well, if that's true, they must live very near those fields, or else the horses will be going back and forth all the time. Which seems impractical. And as for the "messy" part--they do live in the country, don't they? Moreover, does anybody think that a household managed by MRS. BENNET is going to be spotlessly clean and tidy? I don't. I know they had servants, but even if you have servants, you've still got to direct them and make sure they do their work properly. And I'd be willing to bet Mrs. Bennet wasn't doing that very well, if at all.
    Anyways . . . I think this is a great movie, and it makes me so happy to find someone who agrees with me!

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    1. Hello, Jessica! It's always nice to run into another P&P05 fan :-) I don't think Keira's version of Elizabeth Bennet is too feminist at all -- Austen herself comes off as pretty definitely pro-woman quite often, and I see nothing in this version that is out of keeping with her writing in that respect.

      The sisterly relationship does feel very real, doesn't it? That's what I like best about this version -- how real it all seems! This is how people feel and think, whether they're living now or 200 years ago.

      Having read a couple of books about life in Austen's day, I think the household portrayed in this movie is, if not precisely what Austen intended, at least not out of keeping with what could be possible. The Bennets are not wealthy. They are a good family, and Mr. Bennet is a gentleman, but they are by no means aristocratic, and they have relatives who are in trade. They are comfortable and respectable, and that is all.

      I really like your point that a household managed by Mrs. Bennet would never be perfectly tidy -- I think that's very true!

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    2. Exactly! That was what my sister and I liked, too; the characters seemed like they could actually be real people. I know that I, for one, often have a tendency to think of the characters from novels like Jane Austen's as "quaint and old-fashioned," because that's the way they come across TO ME, since I'm not familiar with the time period. But I once read an article which pointed out that, when Jane Austen created these characters, they weren't old-fashioned. She was writing about real people! So if we have a modern adaptation that can make the characters actually seem real for a modern audience, that's really awesome.

      I've never actually read any books about life in Jane Austen's time, although I would certainly like to. (Do you have any recommendations off the top of your head? If you don't, that's OK.) However, I did notice that the lifestyle depicted in this version reminded me a lot of Dickens' novel, "The Pickwick Papers," which is set in the English countryside in the 1820s. Dickens (unlike Austen) includes A LOT of details about clothes, food, scenery, etc.--and the world he describes does seem kind of "messy," very much like what's shown in P&P 2005. I think that because Jane Austen doesn't say very much about these material details, and because her writing itself is so polished, we automatically assume that ALL her characters are living an extremely refined lifestyle--like, say, what we see in "Downton Abbey." But "Downton Abbey" is about a completely different time, place, and social class than "Pride and Prejudice."

      Yes, I don't think Mrs. Bennet could have ever been a good housekeeper--and Mr. Bennet didn't care about that kind of thing, either! Another important thing to remember is, Jane Austen specifically says that they were really terrible at managing their money. So THAT would probably make them even poorer than they already were.

      My sister and I just finished watching Sense and Sensibility 2008 yesterday, and we loved it for the same reasons as P&P05--it seemed so REAL! Plus, it was such a beautiful movie. (All, that is, except for the seduction at the very beginning, which we skipped.)

      I guess I should explain, my name isn't really Jessica Prescott :) I use that as my online pseudonym because it's the name of one of my favorite book characters, Mrs. Prescott from "A Distant Trumpet" by Paul Horgan. Have you ever read that book? It's pretty awesome.

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    3. I have yet to see the 2008 S&S, but I would like to! Many people recommend it highly.

      Speaking of recommendations, there are two books about the world Jane Austen lived in that I definitely found worth reading. The first is "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" by Daniel Pool, and the second is "Jane Austen's England" by Roy and Lesley Adkins. Pool's book is much easier to read, and quicker. The Adkins' book is very thick, but very thorough. Both give you a very good sense of life in that era, in all it's refined and not-so-refined aspects. If you want to know a bit more about them, I reviewed both on my book blog, "What Jane Austen Ate..." here, and "Jane Austen's England" here.

      My name isn't actually Hamlette either ;-) I haven't read "A Distant Trumpet" -- what's it about?

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  17. I really, really loved S&S 08--I actually think it's better than S&S 1995, except for the part at the beginning where they show Willoughby seducing Eliza Williams. I don't know what Andrew Davies was thinking, but there it is. Other than that, it's an amazing movie. I especially loved Edward and Colonel Brandon--Dan Stevens' portrayal of Edward was so vivid, it just made me want to cry. You could see exactly what he was feeling, and you felt SO sorry for him--especially in the scenes with Lucy Steele. She was brilliant, too, by the way.

    Thanks so much for the recommendations! I'd really like to try those books. I think I've heard of the one by Daniel Pool, now that you mention it.

    "A Distant Trumpet" is a historical novel about the U.S. Army fighting the Southwestern Indians in the 1880s. It's really, really long (my copy is about 600 pages) because it covers a period of, like, 25 years, and has about a million characters. Sort of like War and Peace, but not quite that bad. The characters are so vivid--you REALLY love the good guys and hate the bad guys--and I also like how historically accurate it is. The author did research for about 10 years (no kidding) before he wrote the book.

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    1. Andrew Davies likes to sex things up a little, so I'm not particularly surprised to hear there's some unsavory stuff. I do like how he understands characters, though, so I'll definitely watch it some time!

      "A Distant Trumpet" sounds amazing! I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

      Do you blog? Google+ doesn't tell me.

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    2. No, I don't have a blog, but perhaps I ought to--it seems like a lot of fun! Is it hard to start one?

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    3. It's ridiculously easy, since you already have a Google account. Just go to blogger.com and find the "start new blog" button -- it'll walk you through from there.

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    4. Thanks! Maybe I'll try it this summer :)

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  18. Yes to all of this! You don't know how many scathing reviews I've read of P&P '05. It makes me so sad and disappointed in the reviewers when they rip the movie to shreds. This movie is lovely in every sense of the word. It makes me feel at home; I don't know how to say it any other way. It just makes me feel so comfortable and refreshed, like I'm seeing a slice of life from another time period. To me, it shows how down-to-earth the Bennets really are. I have seen the '95 version, and it didn't strike me with the same impression. Although I completely understand devoted Jane Austen fans loving the '95 version, I felt a much closer connection with the '05 version. The characters are so real to me, and it just feels much more...natural, I suppose.

    I am planning on writing a review of sorts for this movie when I get my blog up-and-running. It's a shame that many people miss out on this beautiful film, often because they are already prejudiced against it. Thanks for this wonderful review! You don't know how happy you've made me ^_^

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    1. Mary, I have read so many of those same types of posts. They sadden me too.

      That sense of reality is also one of the things I like best about this movie. I feel like this version probably shows life a lot more like it really was back in the 1800s, and the '95 shows life the way we now wish to imagine it must have been. It's almost fairy tale-esque in its lack of dirt and bustle.

      PLEASE give me a link to your new blog when you get it started!

      Glad to have made you happy :-) Your comments made me happy as well!

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    2. I FINALLY got that blog started! Here's the link in case you'd like to mosey on over to my corner of the blogging world :)

      http://sunshineandscribblings.blogspot.com/

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    3. Yay! Heading over to check it out :-)

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    1. Hello, About Everything :-) Always nice to meet another P&P05 fan! I do like the 1995 version too, and own copies of both because I quite enjoy watching both. Sometimes I'm more in a mood for one, and sometimes for the other :-)

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  20. Hi, I'm also one of the fans of P&P'05. It's my favourite all time. I'm glad you are also a fan.

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    1. Hi, Rachel! Always nice to meet a fellow fan :-) Especially one with the same name as mine!

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  21. Pride and Prejudice 2005! That's one of my favorite movies. I like your review. It explains perfectly why P&P 2005 is such a great movie to watch.
    ~Ruth~

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    1. Thanks, Ruth! Always so nice to meet another fan :-)

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  22. It's been several years since I last watched this movie, but I quite enjoyed reading through your post and the discussions in the comments. This movie was the first one I ever watched in a theater (and for quite a number of years the only one). My parents wanted to see it, and there was no one to watch my brother and me, so they took us along. They figured it couldn't hurt us. I must've been seven, but I remember some things about the experience. The only scene from the movie that stuck with me is the one you have a picture of at the end, when Mr. Darcy comes through the fog.

    We watched the movie again years later after having read the book aloud as a family, and I don't really remember having a tremendous reaction to it one way or the other. I was expecting to enjoy it a lot, partly for the memory of when I had first seen it, and it didn't let me down, but I certainly don't consider it a definitive version of the book. As an adaptation it's really good, but a close version of the book it's not. And usually I enjoy movies that stick quite closely to the book (though I can think of exceptions). However, it's been a while since I watched this, and I have the feeling I'd enjoy it if I watched it again.

    My family's favorite version of P&P is an old black-and-white one; on your post here where you have pictures of the different actors in five or so different versions, this is the one on the very far right. It's not a perfect version of the book either, but it captured the sprightly, humorous nature of it perfectly. Mr. Collins is absolutely hilarious in it, and Elizabeth has a sweet nature with a good sense of humor and enough spunk to make her very interesting.

    About the 2005 movie, I agree that this Jane has just the sort of sweet beauty I would expect her to have. And one moment I thought this movie nailed perfectly was the shot of Darcy, Bingley, and Miss Bingley in the carriage leaving Netherfield. Mr. Bingley has this sorrowful, haunted expression; Miss Bingley looks much too pleased; and Mr. Darcy just looks inscrutable. And I still enjoy Mr. Darcy coming through the fog.

    So this isn't a movie I have really strong feelings about. It's not in my most favorite movies, but neither will I ever come close to hating it. My memories of it being the first movie I saw in a theater protect it from that, apart from the fact that as an adaptation, it's too good of a movie to hate.
    ~ Marcy

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    1. Marcy, if you read through all these comments, you are a very brave person.

      I envy you having seen this on the big screen! I totally missed it in theaters :-(

      I do enjoy the B&W version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, though I haven't seen it in over a decade. But it's a lot of fun, very playful. I especially remember Mr. Bennet's comment about having too many unmarried daughters: "Maybe we should have drowned some of them." So funny!

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    2. Yup, I have read through all the comments. Not right before I posted, though; that was a few days ago. I just find discussions like this rather interesting.

      I should have thought to look up the actor's names! (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, I mean.) Thanks for doing that for me. Playful is the perfect word for the tone of that movie, and I remember that comment of Mr. Bennet's now too. I think that movie portrayed Mr. Bennet perfectly -- he's sarcastic enough to be funny, but not so much that you dislike him. You can tell he's not being totally serious.
      ~ Marcy

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    3. Marcy, yes, well, I didn't have to look them up because I have them in my head, but when I do need to look up names of actors and movies and so on, I go to imdb.com, the Internet Movie Database, which is one of the chief reasons I know who's in what and when it was made, etc. Just mentioning it in case you weren't familiar with it.

      I have a sister-in-law who loves that version more than any other, mostly for the humor :-)

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Agree or disagree? That is the question...

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)