I'm actually quite pleased this film was chosen. Val was out of town last week and I got on a Jane Austen kick. So I watched this just a few days ago. On the other hand it is hard for me to review this film without comparing it to either the book (which is simply one of the greatest pieces of English literature period), or the 6 hour BBC version. I'll do my best.
Pride and Prejudice is a film about the Bennet family in Georgian England. Their plight is that there is no son to inherit the estate. So one of them must marry well. However, they have no dowry or social connections to entice such a suitor. Salvation seems to arrive when a Mr. Bingley arrives to settle down and falls in love with Jane, the eldest sister. However, Bingley is accompanied by a friend, Mr. Darcy, who has a proud demeanor and seems to disapprove of everyone as being beneath him. Elizabeth Bennet (who we named our last daughter after, incidentally) immediately dislikes Darcy. What she doesn't know is that he is falling in love with her. Mr. Darcy convinces Bingley that Jane does not love him and they leave for London. All seems lost until Elizabeth, visiting her friend Charlotte Lucas, runs into Mr. Darcy again. He confesses that he loves her and she rejects him. Lots of other plot turns etc we find out that Darcy is a very honorable gentleman and saves the Bennet family from never ending shame at his own considerable expense. Long story short: Jane marries Bingley and Elizabeth marries Darcy.
This really is a very good film. Very well acted and considering they fit such a plot heavy story into 2 hours it really is an amazing feat of screenplay writing. The parts of Mr. Collins and Jane Bennet are especially well played. Whereas you can read the character of Collins as being a bumbling fool, he is portrayed here as a character who you can not help but feel the utmost pity for. It is painful to watch him. I also like that Elizabeth is portrayed as a little more free spirited and almost wild at times. Elizabeth is one of the strongest female characters in English literature and a Keira Knightly gives a fiery performance.
On to complaints. First of all, apparently Keira Knightly is the most beautiful woman I the world and I was not told. I don't see it. She is very pretty, but her cheekbones are so pronounced that she reminds me of Eric Stoltz in MASK. I just can't help it. And yet that seems to be the one feature everyone loves in her. Go figure. Mr. Bennet is not very sharp. He is portrayed more as pitiable. But he is supposed to be the equal of Elizabeth in the Bennet family as far as intellect and wit is concerned. He just comes across as tired and constantly overwhelmed. Now my biggest complaint comes from one scene in the film. When Darcy comes upon Elizabeth just as she has learned that her youngest sister has run off to do adult things with the villain, we are supposed to be left with the impression that he wants nothing more to do with the Elizabeth owing to this scandal. Instead we know exactly how he feels and what he is going to do. I want to find things out for myself and not be told how to feel. This scene gives me step by step instructions. Harumph!
OK so even though the complaints section is twice as long as my comments about what I liked, I really did like this film. Expectations are so high for a film based on a piece of work of this caliber and for the most part this movie comes through. I hope you all enjoyed it and have a happy Valentine's Day. Tell me what you think.
The March movie category is Biographical Films. I'm submitting Amadeus. Don't forget to suggest a movie yourself. If you don't then you have no one to blame but yourself if you don't like the poll (Chapmans).