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Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Pride and Prejudice

Though I don’t know if this classic piece of literature authored by Jane Austen is considered one of the “greatest” stories ever told, it has its own powers of persuasion that initially endears it to us – predominately through its feisty heroine and swoon-worthy hero (immortalized on-screen by Colin Firth), and has made itself known as a saga that transcends time. Here are my informal ramblings. Chime in with yours!

With a family of five daughters, Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) is a mother on a mission. She wants to see all of them married – not just to prominent men, but wealth to see them settled beyond what their father (Donald Sutherland) could settle on them – and what better start than the new owner of Netherfield Park, Mr. Charles Bingley (Simon Woods). Considered the greatest beauty of the Bennet family, eldest Jane (Rosamund Pike) quickly captures the fancy of Bingley and an expected match is imagined between the two. This acquaintance leads the Bennet’s to that of a Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden) whose wealth exceeds Bingley and again a new prospect is made. 

Second eldest – in both “age and beauty,” Lizzie (Keira Knightley) doesn’t waste time sparring with the intellectual Darcy whose pride clashes with Lizzie’s own intellect. Distracting her from the arrogance and frustrating presence of Darcy is the arrival of the foppish Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander) who is to inherit the Longboure estate upon her father’s passing – and he has set his sights on marrying Lizzie! Not about to be bullied into matrimony, Lizzie instead puts her mind to seeing Jane and Bingley fall further in love… only to watch Jane’s heart break over a separation …and so the story goes.  

This is the sort of story all authors and aspiring authors wish they had or could write. Not perhaps the style or genre, but characters who stick with readers long after the last page is turned, or the unexpected, subtle moments of humor woven into the parts that make up a solid and charming yet complex novel. As I rewatched this story on DVD for the first time in a good long while, though overall for the zillionth time (and counting!), contemplating the likelihood of reviewing it, I looked at this remake through new eyes. I wanted to try and form a balanced opinion because otherwise there’d likely be abnormal amounts of gushing, and indeed I feel like the conclusions reached are true to the emotions this version stirs – both good and bad.

There are likely three groups of people and opinions when settling on this big-screen adaptation, those who a.) watched it under duress and think it’s rubbish (you will probably be a purist of the book or the A&E miniseries if this is your reaction), b.) those of you who haven’t seen the longer version or c.) people who watched this 2005 account who can also appreciate remakes or retellings. I fall into the latter type.  The first thing that endears this film to me is a personal story that involves seeing this with family and some typical miscommunication, and secondly, the film being praise-worthy on its own recognizance – not to mention this movie is seriously, beautiful! Lush landscapes, picturesque settings and ornately majestic estates are the primary working parts of the scenic backgrounds – that and a magnificent score. Matching this rustic beauty contextually is a different timeframe which shows a surprisingly, more uncouth Bennet family. It’s a representation that is further identified by the costumes and way of living (the posture of the characters, loud and unrefined country dances or table settings). Instead of the refined charm of the A&E adaption, this version chose to “loosen” the propriety bounds and for example, made Lizzie a more “casual beauty.” Or to show the family’s daily routine involving a pig walking through the kitchen – and I love every second of it, or very nearly.

Aside from the cast (which we’ll discuss later), the thing that works best under Joe Wright’s direction is how well condensed the script is; speaking in relation to prior cinematic works, not the original text. There is perhaps a time of adjustment even as the first frames unfold, however once a viewer gets caught up in each moment, hold on! The film moves swiftly – pacing that was impossible to do any other way. There isn’t time for Lizzie to develop a rapport with the scoundrel Wickham, she has to hear his version and then, in a dizzying but flowing sequence find herself spontaneously accepting Darcy’s dance at Netherfield. Fans of Pride and Prejudice in its full form will likely find much to criticize about all that is omitted or rush, I however have to admit to being impressed with writer’s. Given what they had to work with, the story flows well and is in actuality something that works to its favor.  

Everyone probably has a certain bias against Macfayden going into this… let me just admit that I was also in the same boat. Each time I watch him bring the incomparable Darcy alive – stern persona intact, he wins me over a little more and I love the way he and Keira play off each other. From “the” exquisite dance to the swoon-worthy second proposal, this couple met and surpassed the expectations I had of seeing Darcy and Lizzie reimagined. They have a strong cast supporting them – including Carey Mulligan, Jena Malone, Kelly Reilly and Judi Dench plus many other familiar faces appear something that lent a sense of comfort to the production. In retrospect, all that suggests this 2 hour version worth its mettle is that it dares to interpret the story in its own way and time. It doesn’t take all its cues from established predecessors and uses the cast and fresh script writer’s to the best advantage – one example being the dramatic but effective proposal scene. It causes a reaction and is wonderfully fulfilling. Another being the “artsy” feel of the film – instead of conversational fillers, often there are emotional scenes in which the characters feelings are revealed in their expressions and actions instead of confronting them verbally. Widely speaking, the one real failing is that the actors don’t play most of these pivotal scenes with enough conviction. It wasn’t that their lines aren’t delivered with passion… they just lacked a bit of determination. 

Re-inventing a timeless tale may not always be for the better or a calculated risk worth taking. Countless epic fails have proven that, however I admire this film and its unique perspective on the story of Pride and Prejudice
 
How about you?
What do you think of this more contemporary, looser adaptation of Austen’s popular novel?

59 comments

  1. This is my personal favorite. Some of my friends cluck their tongues at me, but honestly I don't care. I love this Darcy and Elizabeth so well and I love the score for this one. :-)

    P.S. I like the new look!! ;D

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    1. Me, too, Rosie! I am so glad not to be alone in liking this one - you won't encounter any tongue "clucking" from me. ;) Love these two together and it's the kind of chemistry that I like more each viewing. The score is beautiful. Must agree - I noticed that this go-round.

      Thanks - let me know if you think anything needs to be "tweaked" or if it looks too impersonal. I love switching things up but also want to create a nice, user-friendly space. :)

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  2. Maybe it's because I saw the BBC one first, but I thought Colin Firth played the part perfectly (along with a lot of the other actors). The 2005 version was good though. I just enjoyed the one with Colin Firth a lot more. (Again, maybe it's because I saw it first).

    Tell the World

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    1. I think seeing the A&E version first has a LOT to do with it, Funto. In fact when first I saw this adaptation, I thought it was good but didn't hold a candle to the A&E miniseries. Over time, that has shifted. As for the actors, I like Colin and Jennifer Ehle in the leading roles. Don't mind Lydia and MUCH prefer Mr. Bennet in the longer version. Wichham is better in the 2005 version and I like all of the girl's who play the Bennet sister's in this new version also.

      Great thoughts - thanks for sharing them! :)

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  3. I am a lover of the A&E version, though before I saw it I was completely smitten with the movie. I tend to be a book purist, though I enjoy and appreciate retellings, especially if they capture the atmosphere of the book. (I loved the Lizzie Bennet Diaries--though I still have to finish them!)

    The one thing that turned me off the movie--as well as the A&E version, somewhat, no matter how much I admire Colin Firth--is their casting of Darcy. From what I remember of the book, Darcy was a very young, 28-ish, very handsome man. Neither MacFayden nor Firth are anywhere near 28, being ten or more years above that at the time of filming.

    Surely there are many young, 28-ish, handsome British actors out there to choose from? This is what I feel the Lizzie Bennet Diaries did so well--they choose a Darcy that fit the role of who Darcy is meant to be. Having an older man scorn me would have me in a fit of hysterical giggles (after all, in that time period, a man at that age would be almost desperate, right?), but having someone closer to my age--a peer--would have a completely different effect. Therefore I now have a difficult time accepting how the characters react to each other.

    Firth's elegance and obvious nobility are what gives him more points over MacFayden for me, and that, coupled with how well the book was captured in the mini-series, is why it wins in my book. :) But I do enjoy the artistic feel of the movie--and the colours, and the dresses! *sigh* Absolutely lovely.

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    1. Hmm… you know I’d never heard Darcy described that way, Rebeka. This certainly does make me question the casting of both Firth and MacFayden. (Surely there would be plenty of young, handsome British actors to play the role of Darcy. It cannot be that difficult.) I guess I always assumed he was supposed to be a bit older than Lizzie’s young but intellectual character. It’s interesting to watch these British movies because often the men are older – I think that was perhaps historically accurate to the period…? Not sure. I suspect this because a hullabaloo was always made over a woman being an “old maid” at 25+ but never a man. Either way, it’s an interesting thing to consider and you’ve piqued my interest – perhaps I should attempt reading the novel. :)

      You know, I also have to finish The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. They sure were cute so far – I think I’m holding out for the rumored DVD set. Speaking of Darcy and P&P remakes, have you seen the Bollywood version Bride & Prejudice? It’s quirky but oh-so fun! And the colors are insanely pretty. Anyway, I mention it because I like Darcy in that “inspired by” re-telling. :)

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts – enjoyed reading them very much.

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    2. Thanks, Rissi! I would love to have LBD on Dvd! P&P is one of my favourite novels--the wit, the charm--everything *sigh*.

      I've never heard of the Bollywood version--I should look it up! :)

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    3. You and I both, Rebeka! I've heard it'd be a pricey set but hey, that's what Amazon bargains are for. ;)

      What I saw of LBD was terrific! The humor, the cast, just everything.

      ...indeed you should. The Bollywood version is a bit quirky yet quite fun. Plus, oh my! Darcy... ;)

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  4. This is my favorite movie *ever.* It has been ever since I saw it for the first time six or seven years ago. And that's quite a statement, considering what a movie fan I am. :)

    I love everything about this film: the casting, scenery, soundtrack, cinematography, etc. And the costumes! I love those gorgeous blues and greens and browns, instead of the bland white, off-white, and creams of the mini-series.

    Matthew Macfadyen is my Mr. Darcy, no question. I've always thought that the shyness and social awkwardness he brings to the role was perfect. And though Colin Firth is plenty handsome, I have a huge crush on Matthew Macfadyen. :) The rest of the casting is perfect, too. Especially Judi Dench as Lady Catherine.

    I think this adaptation did a lovely job of keeping the main plot and true spirit of the book, despite the fact that some things were left out. I like the mini-series okay and watch it once a year or so, but to me it has always felt a bit stuffy and something about the look of it feels dated to me...the cinematography, I mean. It has that odd coloring that older BBC productions tend to have, if that makes sense. Not to mention, I don't think Jane is as beautiful as she's supposed to be and that Mrs. Bennet is so shrill that she grates on my nerves. :) The film makes me laugh and cry and swoon (as does the book)...I never felt emotionally connected to the mini-series

    So, yeah. I'm a 2005 version fan all the way. :)

    ~Kristin

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    1. *HIGH FIVE*

      Your comment pretty much is my mirror exact thoughts, Kristin! So much about the 2005 version is memorable. The costumes and scenery is gorgeous as is the score – I mean, really!? Can anyone go wrong watching that scene with Lizzie on the cliff and that sweeping musical score highlighting it?! It’s absolutely stunning.

      I will admit that the dance sequence in this film is breathtaking – despite Lizzie being in white. ;) The filming, the conversation, just everything “pops.” Trumps the miniseries in my opinion.

      If I had one major complaint, it’d be the lack of conviction in some of the pivotal speeches – because of time constraint, things are “rushed” much more. Like there is very little build up to Lady Catherine’s speech directed at Lizzie. All of these “big” events are over before they even begin. That being said, I am glad to hear from a person who has read the book and finds the Hollywood version is up to snuff. That’s refreshing. Oh, and secondly, I think perhaps Simon Woods is a bit too silly as Bingley… I think he’s described as more “silly” than Darcy, but even still…

      Know just what you mean about the “outdated” look of the A&E version – it does seem “odd” to watch it now after all the advancements. Because of its length, I rarely watch the miniseries, though it has it pros and I still can appreciate its epic-ness.

      This 2005 version may have started out with mediocre reactions from me, but it has quickly skyrocketed into my top favorite! The only actor I would adamantly argue against is Donald Sutherland. Not too fond of him. Everything else is basically golden – the witty flirting, the proposal scenes, that ending. *sigh* Everything is so charming - and yes, swoon-worthy. Glad to chat with another avid fan. :)

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  5. I rather sadly fall into the b section having never seen any other movie than this one, which I can see on our movie shelf from where I'm sitting. It's a favorite of mine and I can't even say how many times I've seen it. The scenery is beautiful and I love a lot of the casting even I do have an issue about the scene in the rain with the first proposal. Me and my mother were actually just discussing finally watching the longer version because we love Jane Austen movies and while we've seen three versions of Emma and my mother has seen some others of the other books and all, we have only seen this version of Pride & Prejudice. I love the book and I really think that the movie does a good job portraying it. True some things were a bit rushed or slightly changed but it doesn't bother me as much as it does with a modern book that has been remade (Percy Jackson 1 was wrong on so many levels but let's not go there) although that might be because of my love for the movie. Who knows? What I do know is that I love it :))) Nice review and I love the new layout, very fresh and...sharp I suppose.

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    1. Don’t be sad about it, Sierra – this one is lovely. It misses a lot of “small” details that the A&E version expands on however for the condensed time, the movie is brilliant. Never did like the BBC 80’s version and while the Geer Garson movie was cute, it doesn’t hold a candle to the more “serious” productions. Glad you don’t find this version horribly disrespectful to the book – it’s nice to hear especially since it has gotten a lot of negative feedback from viewers.

      I’ve watch this version a lot also – each time, it earns a higher place on my mental ranking. Love so much about it and also that it aspired to be its own version. If you and your mom even watch the earlier adaptation, let me know what you think. Since it was the first version I ever saw, it spoiled me, however keeping an open mind has helped and since then, I’ve had to fairly conclude that the movie is just as good.

      Have you ever seen the “inspired by” adaptation, Bride & Prejudice? It’s quirky but really fun albeit perhaps a bit more “adult” than the costume dramas.

      Thanks for reading!

      …and for the comments on the new layout. Much as I love switching things up (and I was ready for a change), I am also nervous about how easy readers will find it. I like for the blog to be nice or simplistic (since I prefer that style) but user friendly. Hope it comes across that way. :)

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    2. So far it certainly has for me, I just love the design!!

      Yes, I'm definitely considering watching it, I've wanted to for a while. I'd probably want to reread the book again to refresh myself before though. I do love this version, I'll have trouble imagining another Jane and Lydia because they really were cast perfectly, I think. But I'm definitely open to watching other versions :) I've read a book or two inspired by Pride and Prejudice or a modern retelling, not any movies yet. I'll have to see if my mum is interested in watching it, I am! :D

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    3. Yay! Glad to know that, Sara - thanks for the feedback. :)

      Sounds like a plan. I'll bet your mom would enjoy the series if she likes costume dramas - originally the A&E version was my mom and I's favorite. Now, both of us have shifted more towards the movie. Jane is way better in this (going on looks) and Lydia has a much bigger part in the miniseries and is played by the same actress who played Dorcas in 'Lark Rise.'

      There are some cute movies out there that were inspired by Austen classics. Sadly, because they are contemporaries, they don't retain the same "innocence" as the costume dramas.

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  6. I hated it the first time I saw it, but now I love it, because it's so much shorter than the long version (long versions are sometimes nice, but not when a lot of it is just filler). I still miss things about it -- in this one, it really isn't driven home how awful Lydia running away actually IS and how it will damage all of her sisters' reputations -- but overall it's good.

    Firth is still my favorite Darcy, but Keira is my favorite Lizzie.

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    1. Glad you saw its worth, Charity. I don't remember my exact reaction first time seeing it but do know that I didn't hate it although still claimed the A&E version as "the best." Now I've rewatched the movie dozens of times, it's grown on me. I love it SO much now. It's got passion and personality without being tawdry.

      I miss some of the conviction of these pivotal events - like Lydia's behavior being awful, however for its limited time, it's a smooth transition. Both mom and I think it's a wonderful production and she, unlike me, has actually read the book.

      Ever so slowly, MacFayden has edged out Firth.

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    2. At least in this version, Jane is the beauty that everyone keeps saying she is. I have to snort when watching the longer one whenever Lizzie says "and you are far and away the prettiest of us all," because that actress is PLAIN JANE. And the girls look about the right age -- much as I like Jennifer Ehle, she looked too old for Lizzie. Most of them did, for who they were playing (even Firth). I loved the interactions between "this" Lizzie and Jane -- when Jane kicks her under the table for insulting Mr. Collins, for example. They're just... very cute, and very much like sisters who truly understand one another.

      Plus... well... Mrs. Bennett annoys me a WHOLE LOT LESS when I only have to put up with 2 hours of her, as opposed to 6 hours of me wanting to strangle her with a blue ribbon. I haven't decided yet who is more fantastically irritating -- her or the mother from "Wives & Daughters." UGH. Shoot them now.

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    3. Excellent observations, Charity! You remind me that I really wanted to talk about Jane and Lizzie's relationship in this version and totally spaced. They are cute in the movie. Love all the little interactions between them and their close bond. This is a another well plotted example in a very short time span.

      Much like the BBC S&S miniseries, this movie does seem to better cast the girl's for their age - and beauty. (Mom often commented on the A&E Jane not being pretty - and like you, she always said Jennifer was far prettier.) That is always a plus - any other way doesn't help solidify the characters.

      Hmmm... to be honest, I have to go with Mrs. Bennet as being the more annoying. I think. Ooo! I don't know - you've got me thinking now! ;)

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  7. Hahaha! Oh dear! Pride and Prejudice. :)

    I am not very enthusiastic about this version. I saw the BBC version first and fell for it. The newer version is, like you said, "looser." The lack of propriety. The whiney, whimpy Mrs. Bennett. The slightly creepy Mr. Bennett. The not-Colin-Firth Mr. Darcy. :) And I dislike Keira Knightley's acting and mannerisms.

    But I may be both proud and prejudiced. :)

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    1. Whoops! "Bennett" should be "Bennet." :)

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    2. "Oh dear!" is right. Pride & Prejudice is one of those epic literary debates, right, Kerry!? :)

      You know, you aren't alone. Many fans detest this version because they'd already seen the ideal in the A&E miniseries and that's okay. First time I saw this movie, I liked it but still preferred the longer version. That has since changed.

      Mrs. Bennet was always appropriately annoying in my estimation even in the longer version as for Mr. Bennet, you are right. I don't like Donald Sutherland in the role. Otherwise, I like everyone else.

      Not at all. You prefer the longer version and that's okay. :)

      Glad you stopped by! :)

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  8. I admit I adore the old one, but in a sense I adore this one just as much. It is so much more beautiful than the Colin Firth one! Through out the months I have learned to love it, and learned to not compare the two but simply enjoy this one as it's own movie. I'm not a huge fan of MacFayden, (I called him very ugly at one point...) but he's growing on me, and I'm learning that compared to most actors he's amazing.. though we won't compare him to Colin Firth. =) I really do think it's a wonderful actor, however. =)

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    1. Great perspective, Evelyn. I have to agree.

      What I admire about the movie is that it IS its own adaptation. It doesn't seem intimidated by the A&E series which most dubbed as a "masterpiece" in some form.

      Just wait... if you are already "accepting" MacFayden more... just wait. :)

      Glad it's growing on you as a production - I think (as you suggest), each version has good and bad things about it. After all, nothing is perfect. :)

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    2. Thank you. It took me awhile to come to that conclusion. =)

      That is very true, it's very independent and has not want to be better than other adaptations. It is simply and beautifully it's own.

      oh dear.. I'm doomed

      No nothing is perfect, especially movies based off books! But I have certainly learned the hard way in what light to hold those movies. :P

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    3. When an adaptation of a favorite book is re-made and the viewer likes it, sometimes it's a challenge to put things in perspective and give that "new" version a fair shake. When first I saw this movie, I liked it but still preferred the A&E series. Now, that has changed. It's fun to read about your opinions shifting once you realized not to rigidly compare the two - that's why it behooves us to keep an open mind, right!? :)

      Indeed! That it is. It may be Hollywood's interpretation of classic lit, but my! This one IS gorgeous!

      That you are. ;)

      Good for you - hard or not! Like I said, it's interesting to know that after giving it a chance, this film made a more favorable impression on you.

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  9. Unluckily, I fall into the A section. (Insert emoticon with tongue sticking out.) However, I do think that the 2005 adaptation has some good points. Like you said, I love the chemistry of Keira and Matthew! And some of the cinematography is just gorgeous. Yet there are also scenes where the lighting is bad, and the total rush of the film is disappointing. (Though if it was shown in theaters, it can't exactly be any other way. . . .) Rosamund Pike as Jane is, indeed, as Donald Sutherland put it, "ethereally beautiful" and Keira is lovely as always, though the look of both characters wasn't exactly Regency England (Joe Wright actually set it in 1796, I think?). Anyway. To stop rambling now :P

    It was a wonderful review, Rissi :) It would be nice to be in the C section like you. . . .

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    1. I think each person has to decide which version they like and whatever they settle on is okay. There's nothing wrong with being a fan of the longer version as there is nothing bad about preferring this version - or even both! For me, the one version I don't like is the 80's BBC version. The outdated production just isn't my cup of tea however there may be a lot of people who like that two-part movie.

      Bottom line no matter how much I do adore this version, it has flaws that the A&E adaptation is stronger on and vice versa. That's part of what makes both of them work so well. I admire the movie for being its own adaptation (love the new "artsy" perspective and fiery proposal scene) and the miniseries for its refined elegance.

      Rosamund Pike is a "prettier" Jane. She has that look about her. Keira is also great as Lizzie - she's got the passion to carry the character well.

      I always wondered when Joe Wright set the movie. I just knew it was a different time frame.

      Never apologize for rambling, Hannah - we welcome that around here. :) Thanks for commenting.

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  10. I have not fully read the book, nor seen the A&E series, and perhaps this sort of influences my fondness for this film. I can understand how it might bother the lover of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" when the movie adaption of the book cuts scenes and rushes through the tale. I would probably be bothered if one of my favorite books was turned into a film and the same was done to it.

    Due to my lack of reading the book is one reason why I think I have an easier time in seeing the beauty of the 2005 version. As you wrote, it is beautiful. The costumes, the music, the hints of humor, and heart pumping drama from the proposal scene with Elizabeth dripping wet from the rain...

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    1. I haven't read it at all, Grace so girl, you are far better off than I am. :)

      Even with the A&E version as my "guide" (which is MUCH longer), the movie does a superb job telling the story. It's impressive and gorgeous combined. Plus the way it tells the story in a mere two hours? It's quite brilliant.

      Oh. My. That proposal scene gets me every time! I adore it - even from the first time seeing this version I remember commenting on how unique and satisfying it was. Glad to know you like it also. :)

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  11. Oh, my goodness! I love, love, love this Pride & Prejudice! Matthew MacFayden brings so much to Mr. Darcy. :sigh: I like that it is a little different. The filming is beautiful and just ads to the story. The movie brings the surroundings in (like Lizzie looking over the cliffs), it tries to bring you in to the story as well.

    Sense and Sensibility was good, along with Emma (the major releases), but P&P has become my favorite.

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    1. *HIGH FIVE*

      Me, too, Kate. Love this version much-ly. It's complex enough and packed into these two hours, it's brilliant. MacFayden is excellent, Keira is superb, Rosamund is actually pretty and the younger girls are flirty and giggly quite appropriately, and Hollander is actually "likable" in a funny way as Collins. The only casting I don't like is Donald Sutherland.

      This film IS indeed beautiful. That is one of its best assets.

      For Sense and Sensibility, I prefer the BBC miniseries as for Emma... hmm... hard to say. I like all three that I've seen. :)

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  12. I never ever tire of adaptions. Even though, I confess, the only one I've actually read so far is Emma.

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    1. Neither do I, Juju. The only Austen novel I've made it through is Sense and Sensibility and I've been trudging through Northanger Abbey for eons. At this point I'll need to start over! :)

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  13. I'm firmly in C, as you know. :P One thing I was impressed with when I recently finally got through Pride and Prejudice was how little any of the A&E cast reminded me of the characters, after hearing people for years singing the praises of the miniseries and how it was so close to the book. To be honest, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries cast fit the original book's bill so much better. :)

    But anyway...LOVE this version. :)

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    1. You and I both, girl. :) Right or wrong, I love being able to keep an open mind and enjoy "inspired by" works of fiction and film.

      That's really interesting, Alexandra - my impression was always that the A&E version was closest to the book. That's fun to know that you like the "Lizzie Bennet" cast best. I need to finish those but am holding out for the rumored DVD set. :)

      Glad you like this version; it's cinematically beautiful and aside from Mr. Bennet, I love the cast!

      PS: Love your new hair color, girl! It suits you. :)

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  14. I found this version of Pride and Prejudice to be refreshing. I liked that the characters were a bit more human than in the previous versions. I liked how Bingley was a bit nervous and awkward around Jane. I liked how the family talked over each other at the dinner table.

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    1. As did I, Carlyn. It was a unique perspective on the story after the "proper" version from A&E. The cast was strong and there were some great new concepts for some of the pivotal moments. In particular I loved the ending and the first proposal.

      Glad you enjoyed the movie! :)

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  15. I admit I've never the book (can never get a proper copy from my library!) but I find this version to be the one that I enjoy most. Perhaps if I were a stronger fan of the book, I would prefer the longer versions but mostly I always felt that this gave the overall romantic/dramatic feeling of the novel - if that makes sense. :)
    I wholeheartedly agree that some of the scenes need a bit more convincing. The cast isn't at all bad, just some felt like they needed help with the language barrier, particularly Keira Knightley in some scenes. Overally, I just love your review! :)

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    1. Those of us who haven't read the book can stick together, Katy. :)

      This version is definitely a keeper. Love how it isn't afraid to be its own interpretation of the story. Not only is it pretty to look at, it's also got a great cast. The romance is definitely ratcheted up! Love that - particularly the ending and that first proposal scene. *swoon*

      If the cast had given more conviction to these pivotal moments, I'd be happier - some just fell flat. That being said, it was still a valiant effort and a movie I plan on rewatching many more times. :)

      Thanks for reading, Katy! :)

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  16. Girl, I'm right there with you. I love this version. I'm going to be brave and admit I actually like this Mr. Darcy over Colin (I know British blasphemy!), but something about him makes me like him more.

    I tend to like the casting better in this one with the other characters too (for the most part), like Bingley, her Dad and mom. I will say the "dreaded" cousin is much worse in the A&E version. EW! My biggest complaint with the A&E version is Jane. I wasn't a fan of the one they picked. But I still enjoy them both :)

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    1. Yay! Love finding out there are more fans than I thought of this version. :)

      You know, I would probably say I like Matthew over Colin also. Really. LOL, that IS almost British blasphemy - I like that terminology, Jamie! I am totally stealing that. ;)

      Collins is WAY worse in the A&E version than here - in this characterization, he's almost "likable" in a funny kind of way. True Jane is the one miscast character in the earlier version (plus Wickham - neither my mom or I get that "adoration" or attraction) - she doesn't ruin the movie, she just isn't right for the role.

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  17. Firstly, I love the new layout on your blog Rissi! :)

    The 2005 adaptation of P&P was actually the first adaptation I watched of the book--could never quite catch the 1995 version on the telly and it wasn't until a few years ago that I finally got my hands on the boxed set. Having seen both, this movie adaptation edges out as my favourite, partly because of the cinematography and the soundtrack--gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. The Joe Wright/Dario Marianelli team never fails to move me <333

    Plus, as you mentioned, they did a good job condensing the material into an almost 2-hour movie--a rare feat!

    I was actually pretty biased coming in to the 2005 version because Matthew MacFadyen's one of my favourite actors, lol (loved him on Spooks). His interpretation of Darcy is really interesting and, after some thought and re-reading the book several times, I think I prefer it more (that shyness about him and how he uses his pride as a shield so to speak). Having said that, I do also love Colin Firth's take as Mr. Darcy so it's hard for me to really say!

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    1. Thanks, Lianne! When there are simple changes around here, I am fine. When there’s a big layout change, I am always nervous how readers will find it – i.e., will it be user-friendly? Too impersonal? I liked this one but I do like to consider those who read the blog too. I’m grateful for the feedback. :)

      Perhaps because I first saw the miniseries of P&P, I always assumed that “everyone” else saw that first, too. Needless to say, I’ve been proven wrong through this conversation. Quite glad to discover that since this movie has a lot of good for fans – and maybe it’s best to watch the movie first…? My reaction wasn’t that way at first (I still preferred the miniseries!), however I think I have said that this one has won over the “top spot” for Pride & Prejudice adaptations. It’s definitely BEAUTIFUL!

      The time constraint is limiting but the scripter(s) pulled it off with class.

      You know, having not read the book, I am thinking Matthew’s portrayal IS better if Darcy is supposed to be predominantly shy. Firth is definitely more confident in his persona than Matthew – with exception to perhaps when he and Lizzie run into each other at the estate? Either way we look at it, I think both versions have pros and cons. This one seems to nudge the miniseries to second place. Even if only marginally so. ;)

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    2. Those are great thoughts to consider (especially on the user-friendly front). I'm thinking of maybe buying one of those super flexible layouts for my blog but I don't know, we'll see (too busy channeling the money into books! lol)

      Yeah, it's weird, I had always heard about the miniseries but just never got around to it. Could've been useful to watch it when I had studied this novel in high school, lol. But yeah, the screenwriter for P&P was fantastic, other screenwriters adapting novels into movies should take some pointers from him *nods*

      I think one of the brilliant things about Jane Austen (or perhaps just reading in general) is that her characterisations can be interpreted either or. I don't know if it's just things I pick up over time or whether these elements are just subject to change depending on your mood or your age or whatnot. Firth definitely plays the confidence in Darcy but re-reading the book some time ago, I can definitely see through a few key sentences/actions that Matthew's interpretation is acceptable too.

      Either way, both men were fantastic <3 =D

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    3. Right or wrong, I like to consider the readers. And really, I try and think about the formats/sites I find easy to use. I suppose in the end, it can be a never-ending spinning top because (once again) we all like something different. While I have no problem with this and many other formats, some might. (Plus, I know for some readers, the code doesn’t format right because their operating system is outdated – and believe me, I’ve been there so I totally understand. *sigh* It’s a dilemma that cannot be won. ;D) Buying a layout has been one of my thoughts too - let me know what you think if you ever do, Lianne.

      Absolutely! Especially considering the feat they pulled off in condensing the time – really, it was superb. I was still pretty young when mom and I first watched the miniseries but can remember how giddy we were; my aunt got a hold of a VHS copy from a friend. From then on, hook, line and sinker, we were devoted Austen fans. :)

      Really in any literature, I think your philosophy holds true. Most books are only “as good” as their reader concludes. This I don’t mean to sound harsh nor do I mean it cruelly but when you think about it, you could line up ten readers, with the same book being questioned and find nine who adore the book and one person doesn’t care for it. (Does that make sense or seem reasonable…?) That’s just our differing personalities and really I agree – it can all be dependent upon our mood or age. Some things come with maturity – and sometimes a reader can be touched by or find something in the prose the author never felt or meant to encroach. This is just one of the grand reasons reading is such an adventure. :)

      Agree! Both men give their own interpretation to the iconic hero and for that reason, I love them both.

      My, oh my! You all are succeeding in convincing me I need to try an Austen novel again. ;)

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  18. Don't hit me...I haven't seen the BBC version as of yet. I did really enjoy this version, with Knightley and MacFayden. Like you, I think the director/screen writer did an excellent job, working the classic novel into a movie that grabs and holds your attention. I also enjoyed the main actors' chemistry. :-) Okay, so I may have to rent the BBC version, and have a Pride and & Prejudice night. I've been wanting to see it.

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    1. Never! There's nothing wrong with that, Gwendolyn. :)

      Indeed the movie definitely captures our attention - the scenery, the acting, the costumes, just everything has great personality. And I love it for that. Like you say - the actors have TERRIFIC chemistry, too. Especially between Jane and Lizzie.

      Let me know if you rent the A&E miniseries. It's really good.

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  19. Okay, so I'm a Firth/Ehle fan, just saying! When I first watched the movie, years after I'd seen the miniseries, I could not stand Matthew - he pretty much ruined the first half of the film for me! Not because he wasn't Colin, I just found him too bland. Of course, I warmed up a a little more during the proposal scene! Also, did you know that they made a special ending for the US? We, along with the UK, did not have the final scene (Mrs Darcy, Mrs Darcy, Mrs Darcy!) - the movie ended with Lizzie walking out of the door after talking to her father. So, I did feel a little cheated. Mind you, when I saw the US ending on DVD I wasn't thrilled with it - sigh!

    Having said all of that, like others have said, the movie has grown on me with multiple viewings, and I prefer both Bingley (have you seen him in Cranford?) and Jane from the movie.

    Bride & Prejudice is a lot of fun, too, Rissi, I agree.

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    1. Hey, Rel! Thanks for adding your “two cents” to the discussion. :)

      Nothing wrong with being a Firth/Ehle fan. They were the two who first made me fall head over heels in love with these iconic characters (that piano scene… oh, my!) and as such, I’ll always appreciate that version. Having said that, the movie has steadily grown on me and with each passing viewing (much the same can be said with my experience of Mark Strong in the role of Mr. Knightley vs. “my” first Knightley, Jeremy Northam), MacFayden has become more and more the ideal Darcy. Aw, sorry you don’t like the ending (I did know there was a difference). It’s one of the sweetest things about the US version methinks – and YES! I die a little each time I see that proposal scene – and really that was possibly the BEST thing the first time I saw this. Adore that swooning scene. *happy sigh*

      Glad it’s grown more to your liking, Rel. That’s fun. I much prefer Jane in the movie, though wish Bingley’s goofiness had been tapered a bit – and I always love seeing actors (like Simon) in different roles. Particularly in this case – the doctor is a different role than Bingley and he does both well. :)

      Ooo! You've seen that Bollywood version, too!? Love that one whenever I crave something light and fun. :)

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  20. I first discovered P & P through the miniseries so naturally I'm a huge fan but I love both the miniseries and the movie equally. Both aren't perfect but anything with Colin Firth, I love. As was mentioned, he did seem a bit old for the role but he played Darcy so beautifully that it was easy to overlook his age. I actually thought that Matthew looked the part more and he also captured my heart. I think that was the first role I had seen him in and I still have a crush on him to this day. I think anyone who plays Darcy scores points in my book LOL. I even like Elliot Cowan as Darcy in Lost in Austen. I know a lot of purists HATE that movie but I totally love it just because it's like a dream brought to life. I mean, really, who wouldn't want to meet their favorite romance hero in the flesh?! Loved your thoughts and everyone elses too. It's always so fun to discuss P & P!

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    1. Renee, I am delighted to discover another fan of Lost in Austen! Meeting Darcy in the flesh!? I am all for that - where do I sign up!? (Plus I adore that edition of having Amanda ask Darcy to soak himself in the pond - um, brilliant!) You know, 'Lost' is a keeper even if it does take liberties - really, when contemporary and regency clash, there has to be some give and take. Anything else is unrealistic in my book.

      Because I first "met" these icons personified by Firth and Ehle, they will always be "special" as Darcy and Lizzie, however I've found that MacFayden is equally good - and I think he interprets the character differently albeit really well which is good because I love that the movie isn't afraid to be its own version. That is what I like (overall) most about the movie.

      Thanks for dropping by with your thoughts, Renee - always love it when you do. Ya' know, my reasoning for NOT reviewing this was because we'd "all" seen it; I thought it wasn't worth it because of that but I convinced myself because I figured we could have some fun chatting about it. Thanks for being a part of that. :)

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  21. I will always love this version the most. When it came out in 2005 I hadn't read any of Jane Austen's books and so this was my first introduction to her stories. I rented it and watched it 3 times!

    This version got me into Jane Austen's books, Pride and Prejudice being the first, and I read it in 2 sittings...so good!

    I think one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much was because it added so much more depth to the story that was told in the 2005 movie. I'm glad I watched this shorter version first, for that reason. I've watched the BBC version several times too but its just so long! I also love the music in the 2005 movie and still listen to the soundtrack sometimes while I read fiction.

    You have to read the book Rissi! I think you'd love it. : )

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    1. Thank you, Cathy - I seriously think after all this discussion I need to make an attempt to read the book. It's proudly sitting on my self along with Austen's Sense & Sensibility so I am all for trying to read the novel. Knowing you felt that seeing this movie first helped is a bit of a encouragement. :)

      The movie IS good! It's surprising how much so. Going into it, I was biased and spoiled by the miniseries (because at that time, it was the best out there. Hands down). Fortunately, I didn't dismiss it or hate it when I walked out of the theater and that has allowed the movie to grow on my cinematic chart.

      Though the A&E miniseries is still a keeper, a big reason this one is preferable is the shorter time. Much as it is a "classic" in its own right, this is much nicer for someone who wants to get swept up in the story but doesn't wish to invest the time. :)

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  22. Mmm...tried to reply to your note to me, Rissi, but it won't let me! Speaking of Mr Knightley, how about Jonny Lee Miller's version? I thought he was great :) Have you seen that adaptation with Romala Garai?

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    1. (Oh, no! Sorry about you not being able to respond - that happened to me a little while back too. It must have fixed itself on its own - or maybe I refreshed the page.)

      Yes! Loved the version with Johnny Lee Miller - and him as Knightley. I still think Northam is the "best" Knightley of the three (my mom likes Mark Strong), but I was pleasantly surprised by how good the newest version of Emma really was. Again, the adaptation crafted a unique, "new" perspective and that's admirable.

      You are making me all too aware that I need to watch the Romala Garai adaptation again - now there would be another interesting conversation. ;)

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  23. I think I'm from Category C, though Colin Firth will always be my favorite Mr. Darcy. :)

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    1. That's cool, Alyssa - he is most fan's first Mr. Darcy and because of that, he is remembered fondly. :)

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  24. I haven't read the book yet, but I've watched this one and the mini-series. I LOVE this version. It's my favorite, and one of my top movie picks when I get the chance to watch something. I just adored MacFayden as Darcy! (I did like the mini-series, too, though).

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    1. *HIGH FIVE*

      Me, too, Tammy. MacFayden IS brilliant as Darcy. Not sure how true his characterization is compared to the book, however I like his portrayal independent of that. :)

      Both versions are good, true. Each have their own pros, and that's what I like most about each version.

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