Pride and Prejudice (2005)
- June 18, 2021
Jane Austen. Sigh. There is no indulgence like an Austen romance. The wit and the emotion and the costumes. And the twisty, turny, up and down love story. it’s perfection. Really.
I am an Austen fan through and through and Pride and Prejudice is definitely one of my top six favourite stories (hint: there are only six novels completed by Ms. Austen) by the ground-breaking 19th century author. Her characters, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, are iconic and their complicated love story have inspired many film renditions over the years.
While the BBC production of 1995, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, is by far my favourite adaptation the 2005 version with, Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen is an entirely respectable offering of Austen’s second novel. So respectable that it was nominated for a slew of awards including four Academy Award nods, one for Knightly as best actress and another for best costume design.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it centers around the Bennet family, an upper class family full of daughters in a county full of women. Male company being lacking, the whole community gets thrown into a tizzy when an eligible young man rents a house in the town for the summer. As the very witty eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth, points out cheekily, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
One young leads to another and before long all the young Miss Bennets are introduced to more eligible men than they can handle. Elizabeth catches the eye of the most eligible of all of the bachelors, Mr. Darcy. But Darcy has no intention of finding himself a wife, despite continually crossing paths with the beautiful and strong-willed eldest Bennet daughter time and again. Through missteps and misunderstandings, and against their better judgement, the pair seem drawn to each other.
The 2005 adaptation was imagined by producer Tim Bevan and screenwriter, Deborah Moggach. They intended to return to Jane Austen’s original story told, primarily, from Elizabeth’s point of view. This was truly a labour of love and a bit of a gamble but it all paid off with a beautiful adaptation that brought epic performances out of the incredibly talented cast.
Aside from Knightly and Macfadyen, screen legends the likes of Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennet), Penelope Wilton (Mrs. Gardiner) and Judi Dench (Lady Catherine de Bourgh) rounded out the cast and added layers of richness and humour to the production. Up and comers of the time, Rupert Friend and Kelly Rielly also give memorable performances.
So much thought and planning went into every detail of this film that I am sure Miss Austen would have been proud of the efforts. It holds all the charm and tender wit that one would hope for while remaining utterly entertaining all the way through.
Pride & Prejudice continues to be the perfect choice for a cozy night in comfort watch. So brew a cuppa, snuggle in and enjoy the brilliant mind of Jane Austen, as told by the talents of Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.
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