If you have have never seen this film, I’m about to change your life. That may sound overdramatic (and it probably is) but really, I feel that Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is one of those standbys, a modern classic.
I have a very vivid memory of seeing Pride and Prejudice back when it was originally released. My mom wanted to see it. I, however, had no interest and thus, brought a friend along to laugh at it with me.I don’t know that we were necessarily watching it so much as we were just having a good time and there happened to be a movie on in the background. We were especially pre-teen if there was kissing or giggling girls onscreen. Aw, to be thirteen. Afterwards, my mom was pissed. She, of course, had loved it.
Life went on and I didn’t see the film again until my mom put it on at home a few years later. I groaned and scoffed, “Why are you watching this movie?” She just gave me a look. Then, something strange happened. I caught myself watching the movie and then I kinda couldn’t stop. I sat down and went on the emotional journey that is Pride and Prejudice and came out the other side maybe its biggest fan.
My mom and I don’t agree on many things, at least in regards to film and television. But, Pride and Prejudice became one of our staples. We can watch it over and over and over and somehow, it’s still THAT GOOD. I’ve thought a lot about why this movie works and think I can pin it down in a few solid points:
Casting-wise, they killed it!
Keira Knightley was just twenty when she starred as Elizabeth Bennett, though she exudes a maturity beyond that. She helms the film with poise and adds a modern sensibility to the classic tale. No one can push her around!
Matthew MacFayden is perfect as Mr. Darcy, understated and quiet. I know fans of the 1995 mini-series will always see the character as Colin Firth, but come on, he’s pretty great!
As the younger Bennett sisters are some ladies who went on to some pretty cool careers. Rosamund Pike, of Gone Girl fame, plays Jane. Jena Malone, who was probably the most well known then, is also the only one putting on a British accent. She’s American, guys! Carey Mulligan, who’s fantastic in everything, also plays one of the younger Bennett girls.
In supporting roles, Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn are both fantastic, giving us the Bennett parents in all their craziness.
The Score is lush, gorgeous and incredible.
Dario Marianelli composed the score for this film, and I daresay, it’s almost half the reason I love it. It’s beautiful and classic, drawing from the music that was popular during the time Jane Austen’s tale takes place. Take a listen:
The Cinematography is gorgeous.
Roman Oslin’s cinematography is one of the things that makes Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice different from other adaptations. There’s a real artfulness in his shots and lighting. Case in point:
The story itself…is amazing.
Okay, yes, we all know that Elizabeth ends up with Mr. Darcy, but it’s not about that. Jane Austen’s story is universal and it’s not about finding a husband. It’s about being that age and figuring out what you want out of life. I recently read an article written by romance novelist, Kristan Higgins called Never read a Romance Novel? Grow Up. I agree with her and I think it applies to Pride and Prejudice too…
“A typical female protagonist is not incomplete until marriage. Her journey is not about getting to the altar—it’s about growing as a person so that she can create a full life for herself, and yes, find happiness with a decent, kind partner who deserves her and whom she deserves”. – Kristan Higgins, Publishers Weekly
It’s just plain fun.
Depressing, sad movies are great but sometimes you just want to be uplifted and go to your happy place. This movie is one of those happy places for me.
Vintage trailer below: