A week or two ago Amanda complained about the lame “sitting around in our underwear” ending on the 2007 version of Pride & Prejudice. It made me wonder (not for the first time) how I would have ended the film.
Riskies and friends probably all know that scene was added for the North American version; in the British release the film ends with Mr. Bennett giving his blessing to the marriage.
While I like a bit of basking in the glow of the happy ending–and definitely wanted something there, this ending didn’t hit me quite right. The first time I saw it it felt too sentimental. On viewing it again, though, when Lizzie talks of Darcy being cross with her, it reminded me of this passage from the book:
She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.
It’s a realistic happy ending. They won’t always agree but they’ll find a balance. I’m glad there was at least a hint of that in this final scene.
A couple other things bothered me more. First, the “sitting around in our underwear” thing. Not that I’m against characters cavorting half-naked in a garden–I’ve written such scenes. Nor do I have anything against snogging–only purists argue that JA never wrote a snogging scene. But I like to know the setup, i.e., what happened to all the servants? Surely they’re not all staring from their attic windows?!
The other thing is that this scene feels post-coital, so it seemed a bit out of order for them to be discussing what to call one another. It was just confusing.
I’m not sure how I would have ended the film. Jane Austen ended the book with a chapter of narrative describing what happened to everyone. It’s all nicely encapsulated in the wedding scene at the end of the 1995 Firth/Ehle version. Yet a double wedding scene doesn’t seem right for the 2007 version which is shorter, more intimate and more focused on Elizabeth and Darcy.
My idea would be to show the beginning of the wedding night, in their bedchamber (more believable for their first time) and with more of the lovely, youthful, somewhat awkward chemistry that we saw in the mist scene. Then a discreet fadeout to the theme music.
So anyway, it’s time for a poll. How would you have ended this film and why?
A) North American ending as is, sweet talk, snogging and all.
B) British ending, with Mr. Bennett welcoming suitors for Mary and Kitty.
C) Wedding scene as in the 1995 version
D) My idea – wedding night scene
E) Something else – do tell!
I like both A and B.
Though to be a pedant, I will say that the snogging scene was not technically added for the American market, but cut for the British market. 🙂
I like the snogging scene but then again I like Matthew’s Darcy and would always look for more of it. I’d be interested in the wedding night scene tho…
I’d have ended it with Mr. Bennet, as in the the U.K. version, or possibly (as I think someone here suggested?) with Elizabeth leaving the scene with her father and going out and taking Darcy’s hand. The U.S. ending scene rang false to me–too sentimental and lacking in the irony that is so inherent in the characters and story (I didn’t think they’d talk that way). Part of me would love a wedding night scene, but I don’t think that would feel quite right to me either. I actually think “pulling back” in someway and dealing the wider world/family fits my sense of the book.
I actually didn’t mind the ending, although it had nothing to do with Jane Austen, and everything to do with Americans supposedly requiring a happy ending. I thought the BBC Pride & Prejudice with the wedding scene worked perfectly, and could have worked for this scene. I loved the ending of Sense & Sensibility with Marianne’s wedding, and Brandon tossing the coins, we can tell by Edward and Eleanor exchanging a look that they’re happy, and then you have that brief glimpse of Willoughby on horse back watching the scene. Sigh! Now that’s the way to end a Jane Austen movie.
Totally agree about the Sense & Sensibility ending. And the image of Bråndon tossing the gold coins, which is lovely and at the same time echoes how much money and the lack of it has been a theme throughout the story. And I agree, the last look between Elinor and Edward is lovely.
Oh, I agree about that ending for S&S. Also I loved the ending of the Persuasion adaptation although I’ve heard purists complain about the kiss.
Anyway, looking at the results of the poll so far, and considering fence-straddlers who like several options, we are pretty evenly split on what we would like best.
More evidence that taking a much-loved book to film is a tricky endeavor. 🙂
Being the sucker for weddings that I am, I would want to see something of Lizzy and Darcy’s wedding (not a double wedding) and then perhaps Lizzy writing a letter, or journal, or soemthing and narrating what happened to all the characters (like Austen did in the book). I’m sure you could squeeze some sort of mushy wedding night scene (how shocking! :0) There’s my 2 cents worth
(i <3 your blog by the way!)
(i <3 your blog by the way!)
The ending didn’t bother me–and, truthfully, most of the alternative endings that have been suggested probably wouldn’t have bothered me either. 🙂 I think as a practical matter they couldn’t end with a double wedding, because they would seem to be copying the BBC P&P.
Something that might have been intriguing would have been a composite scene that tried to convey a lot of the “this is what happened to them” ideas from the last chapter of the book. For instance, a year or so later at Pemberly–Kitty is staying with Lizzie and Darcy, they are reading yet another letter from Lydia asking for money, Mr. Bennett shows up for an unexpected visit, and Lizzie and Darcy sneak off for a private snog, conveying that in spite of all the confusion they’re still very happy.
I think the wedding scene in S&S does something like that, which may be why so many of you like it so well. But I don’t know…maybe it’s too much of an anticlimax to make a good ending.
This is tough because since they changed a lot for that movie as it was, might as well have a different ending. LOL Well, they could have a wedding ending, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the same as the 1995. Hmm, I’m just at a loss, I’m not really sure what I would like. LOL
So maybe I’m a E, but I really don’t have an idea. Maybe I’m something of an any of the above, just to try something different. 🙂
Hmm, don’t think that makes sense no how. . . LOL 🙂