Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2005 Pride & Prejudice Review

There are already posts on my blog about Pride & Prejudice, but I don't think that I have formally reviewed the movie. I will review the 1995 miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and the 2005 movie starring Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightly.  I will review each version in separate posts.


There are many women who do not like this adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, but I love it.  The main reason that I love it is because of Matthew MacFadyen's interpretation of Mr. Darcy.  I loved watching him transform from a stiff, prideful and conceited fellow to a man who learns the joy of what love can bring.  Mr. Darcy's love for Elizabeth Bennett melts away his prideful exterior.  Matthew McFadyen interprets the change very clearly in this adaptation. 
Matthew MacFadyen's facial expressions are simply priceless.  I think that this aspect of his performance is not identical to the Mr Darcy of Jane Austen's book but I appreciate it very much in this version of the movie.  In the book I think that Mr Darcy is less expressive.

The first proposal scene takes place at the Temple of Apollo located in Stourhead Garden in England.   It is also the part of this movie that I really appreciate Matthew MacFadyen's performance.  


The surroundings of the Temple was changed in the movie to make it look as if the temple overlooks a tranquil river. 


The first proposal scene alone makes this movie all worth watching to me.  Mr. Darcy finally throws away the last thread of pride and family ranking to reveal and express his love for Elizabeth.

You can watch the first proposal on this video.

Keira Knightly portrays Elizabeth Bennett.  Keira's interpretation of the heroine is not my favorite.  It was not a bad performance, I just did not care for this version of Elizabeth.  The way Keira portrayed Lizzy seems more suited for one of Catherine Cookson's melodramas.  There was just something missing in Elizabeth in this version and I found her to be too much of a tomboy.   

Keira was also outfitted in very drab looking clothing which did not fit the character at all.  The Bennett's were not wealthy, but neither were they destitute.  Their home certainly was nothing like Netherfield but it was still a house on a greater scale than the norm.  It was more like a smaller mansion and they did employ a cook.   

This is not Donald Sutherland;s best role.  It seemed to me as if he was cast because of his name and then he was allowed to be as low key as he pleased in the role.  I have seen much better work come out of Mr. Sutherland. 

Brenda Blethyn is a very funny Mrs. Bennett.  She brings the right balance of humor and chatter to the character.

Mrs Bennett with her daughters.

Judi Dench as Lady Catherine De Bourgh

Lydia and Mr. Wickham

Mr. Darcy repairing the damage he did in separating Mr. Bingley from Jane Bennett.

The second proposal scene was lovely, although it did happen in a way that would be highly unlikely for the time period.  I realized after watching this version that it takes place in a later time period than the book, but I still feel that Elizabeth would not go walking outside in the early morning hours in just her nightgown.  Mr. Darcy would never compromise Elizabeth by being with her half dressed outside.  This was totally out of character for both but it was still a beautiful second proposal and expression of love.

This movie is not the perfect version of Pride & Prejudice, but I still enjoyed it very much for what the director intended it to be in his eyes.  I have seen worse versions like the 1940 production starring Laurence Olivier.   I am usually a purist when it comes to making books into movies, but sometimes I don't mind a little change.  



Syed Zeeshan Ali said...
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Anonymous said...

Hye Xenia- V cute site (esp. design/organization)! My mom really likes Matthew MacFadyen, and I use like his acting, too. That's why we checked out this film back when it was in theater. I have talked w/ a few ppl re: Keira, and it seems that they either love or hate her- LOL! I think she can grow much more as an actress. I agree w/ you; Donald Sutherland's acting was TOO different from the book's Mr. Bennett (who was much more of a hands-off dad).