I saw the new PRIDE AND PREJUDICE movie — and I really liked it! There were some historical anachronisms, I admit, but I think they did an amazing job distilling the story of the long novel down to just slightly more than two hours — and without cutting out one of the sisters, at the previous movie did! 🙂 (Though in the sense of full disclosure, I’ll concede they did cut out Mr and Mrs Hurst, and for some reason turned Fitzwilliam into Darcy’s friend rather than cousin.)
For those of you who haven’t had the chance to see it yet, here are some of my thoughts and impressions.
MacFadyen as Darcy is definitely a Heathcliff type here — but I thought it worked. Every P&P needn’t be the same. He was very intense, very sexy, and he and Keira Knightley had great chemistry together. She did a great Elizabeth, I thought — full of spirit and humor, and very fierce. I felt the two characters were well matched, and would have a great future together — very passionate, both with fighting and with….er…passion.
I love Colin Firth, and I also liked Olivier’s Darcy a lot (though he’s not the dreamiest in my book), but I liked MacFadyen very much — a lot more than I expected. In the preview I saw, I thought he didn’t look impressive, but he’s much better in the whole thing (without his lines being all chopped up!)
Of course, most of the characters didn’t get much time, so we don’t know the younger sisters, or the Bingleys, or Lady Catherine, or (particularly) Wickham they way we do in the BBC miniseries. But still, who can fault Judi Dench’s Lady Catherine?
Little things I loved: Lydia actually looked fifteen, and it even looked like she had acne. Jane was gorgeous — no wonder why everything thought she was the handsomest girl in the room!
A few things really bothered me — like Miss Bingley’s sleeveless dresses (the one shown here is the more normal one — there’s one she wears later for which the bodice looks like a bathing suit!) Also, what is it with the girls’ hair? I don’t recall girls wearing side ponytails of sausage curls in the 1790’s…or did I miss it? And why was Elizabeth (as well as others) wearing her hair down so much? Do they think modern movie viewers are so small-minded that they can’t like a woman with her hair up?
And yes, there might have been more wearing of gloves and bonnets (and, um, clothes) for my taste — but I understand why many of these choices were made. The important thing is the story — telling the story, and getting across the basics of a LOT of characters, all in two hours. Sometimes shorthand methods are the only way. (No glove pun intended!)
So, anyone else who’s seen it — what did you think? If you haven’t seen it, are you looking forward to it? (With fear or with anticipation?) 🙂 Please share!
Cara King, www.caraking.com
MY LADY GAMESTER — Signet Regency, out now!!!
I haven’t seen it yet! Wa-aaa!
The little things do irk me, like the hairstyles–especially on Miss Bingley. That was a photo of Miss Bingley, wasn’t it? The town sophisticate? With the rustic looking dress (the little I could see) and the mussed hair hanging down?
And what of the gown styles? If they were really trying to look like late 1790’s rather than, say, 1810, they don’t look right to me. The one photo of two sisters (I believe it is two sisters) shows them in dresses that appear to be prairie dresses from the mid 1800’s US.
Cara, please tell me who the characters are in the pictures so I know if I got them right–the beautiful dark haired girl is Elizabeth, I believe, but is there a picture of Jane, or no? Sorry I’m so ill informed!
I agree with you that the handling of the story and the characters is the important thing, though.
If Darcy seems on the dark side, I think that is perfect. He has to seem snobbish and reserved to be really true to Ms. Austen’s vision, I think. Although like you, I did love Colin Firth!
I’m so sad that they left out the Hursts! I loved the Hursts! It gave Miss Bingley a co-conspirator and someone to make her snide observations to, and I just loved Mr. Hurst in the “Firth version,” sprawled somewhere drunk in every scene!
What version was it that cut a sister?
I saw it yesterday (had to run out and see it as soon as possible!! I’ve been hearing so much about it), and I very much agree with you, Cara. I liked it very much. Probably the Firth version is still my favorite, but I do enjoy seeing other “ideas” of the story. Keira Knightley was far better than I thought she would be–she is so beautiful, and Lizzie isn’t supposed to be, but she also had intelligence and spirit, and I’ve decided I’m in love with Matthew Mcfayden. I’m going to have to go back to your old post about ranking various Austen movie heroes, Cara, and put him at the top of my hotness list. 🙂 I liked the secondary casting, too, such as the hilarious Mr. Collins, the silly younger sisters (I also liked it that they looked so young), Judi Dench (as always). Wish someone had told Donald Sutherland to quit muttering, though, I could hardly understand him sometimes. And was the actress who played Charlotte the same one who plays the ditzy sidekick in the show Vicar of Dibley? I even liked how shabby and chaotic Longbourne was (though could have done with fewer barnyard animals). The freer manners showed that was not the Victorian age.
It’s true that were many details which I (if anyone had had the foresight to ask me!) would have changed. Some of the costumes, particularly of the older characters, were of the 1790s variety, but many of the younger women’s dresses were much later, and it looked weird all mixed up together. I especially hated Miss Bingley’s ballgown. She looked like she was wearing her chemise or something! But I guess it was meant to show she was very “fashion forward” and modern, sort of the way Miss Bingley’s elaborate gowns in the 1995 version contrasted with the Bennet girls’ more simple attire. Would it have killed them to make Lizzie wear hats when she’s outdoors, and pin her hair up? (Gwyneth Paltrow also didn’t wear hats in her version of “Emma”, drove me crazy!). And why does she not have gloves at the ball when most of the other girls do? And Bingley would never, ever have gone into Jane’s bedroom when she was sick in bed, wearing her nightgown. Ack!
But these were minor quibbles in an enjoyable movie experience. I’m not a hugely picky movie-goer–I enjoyed movies some of my more stickler-ish friends decried as being hopelessly inaccurate (like “Elizabeth” and “Kingdom of Heaven”), so I would highly recommend Pride and Prejudice. Go and judge for yourselves. :))
(Sorry this is so long–I tend to be all rambly and enthusiastic when I first see a movie I like!)
I visited the official movie web site and I have my questions straightened out. 🙂 I have also revised some of my opinion of the costumes. The gowns worn with the overdresses (my brain is on vacation–I’m talking about the long vest things) look pretty authentic. But then, I can’t call myself an expert…but I do know enough to get into trouble!
I haven’t seen it yet either–I will be, next weekend, with a good friend who is also Supremely Informed as to all things Austen. But she’s not hung up on HA (historical accuracy–and good thing, too, or she’d be giving me the cut direct), so it should be fun.
Thanks for the reviews, ladies!
For anyone who wants to know, here’s who’s in the pictures I posted (left to right):
1: Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, Lydia, Mary
2: Miss Bingley, Darcy, Bingley
4: Lady Catherine
7. Lydia, Kitty
Laurie, I’m pretty sure the Greer Garson version dropped Kitty.
Other little things I really liked about the movie:
At one point, Mary gives Mr Collins a dreamy glance. I always thought they’d be a perfect couple! Not a lot is made of it in the movie, but it’s there.
When Mr Collins proposes, he’s really nervous. So though you still wouldn’t want to be married to the man, you do feel sorry for him a bit!
I find the Miss Bingley in the Ehle/Firth P&P very entertaining, but she’s really so obvious, so clumsily bitchy, that it’s hard to believe Darcy ever liked her at all (or thought her at all intelligent or accomplished.) This Miss Bingley is more delicate, more subtle, more intelligent and sly.
This Mr Bennet really seems neglectful, in his own way. The Bennets’ problems, as in the book, are clearly largely of his making — because he had the intelligence and character to make things different, and never did. At first I wasn’t thrilled with Donald Sutherland in the role — his accent isn’t great — but I decided by the end I really liked the interpretation. He and Elizabeth have two great scenes together — when she tried to convince him not to let Lydia go to Brighton, and at the end, when you see how much he’ll really miss Elizabeth.
Amanda, the internet movie database doesn’t list the actress who plays Charlotte (Claudie Blakley) as being in the Vicar of Dibley. She was really good though — they give her a very enlightening (for modern audiences) speech about why she’s going to marry Collins!
I, too, liked the new P&P very much–I’m not nearly as knowledgable as all of you about costumes, but they didn’t bother me (at least, not much–I did feel a vague grumble about how Lizzie never wore a bonnet, and went wandering the countryside in her nightgown). I’m not too hung up on Historical Accuracy–I liked Kingdom of Heaven, too, Megan! Though I guess I do have my limits: the recent ahistorical Zorro movie was a little too much for me, as my long-suffering wife can attest. (She should be used to it, after hearing me complain about the science in SF movies.)
My heart still belongs to Jennifer Ehle, but I thought Keira Knightley did an excellent job. And this MacFayden character is all right, I guess, if you like large, brooding, athletic, incredibly handsome men. Doesn’t do much for me, but I understand there are those who appreciate them…
There was a lot I liked about the movie–I rushed out to see it yesterday with husband and daughter. I liked the element of forgiveness and reconciliation in the movie even tho I didn’t think it reflected the book (JA was a tough cookie imo)–for instance, the reconciliation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, and the treatment of Charlotte’s marriage–notice how Mr. Collins stumbled over the word “intercourse” in his sermon? Har har.
Visually it’s gorgeous–shot entirely on location, and with natural lighting (so some of the inside scenes are very grainy) and very much in your face–you could virtually smell the crowds!
I thought Keira Knightley was superb, tho as usual I wanted to make her put on a cardigan.
The two proposal scenes were fabulous, with all that implied passion; I thought in the first one in the rain they were either going to jump or kill each other. And the second one, wow, with the rising sun shining between them. My only gripes were 1. the scene with Lizzie gets The Letter with the news of Lydia’s elopement–having her aunt and uncle there diluted the moment with Darcy; 2. The ending. If it had ended with the sunrise proposal I would have been more than happy.
And why was it PG??? Was it because of the well-endowed pig?
Check this out–the silly ending was tacked on for we Americans! Yet the Brits are petitioning to see it in their DVD release.
Oh, and JASNA hated it. What a surprise…
I saw the movie on Saturday and while I did like it very much, I too quibbled with certain things. Caroline Bingley’s dress without sleeves at the Netherfield ball, the sloveliness of the Bennets house, Lizzie’s lack of a bonnet, wearing her hair down, the lack of gloves at the ball. Lady Catherine de Burgh showing up at midnight, the horrible final scene. However, I loved, loved, Matthew MacFadyen as Darcy, and thought he and Keira Knightley sizzled on screen. I thought they were very evenly matched as a couple. Thought Tom Hollander a delight as Mr. Collins and of course Judi Dench stole her scenes. Brenda Blethyn was also not quite as irritating as Alison Steadman, but you could definitely see why Darcy would not want to marry into this family.
Actually, Janet, I think the article says that the ending was originally in the movie, but they took it OUT for the British audiences! 🙂
You know, I’m always surprised by just how uptight book fans can be. Reminds me of the reaction of a lot of twelve and thirteen-year-old Harry Potter fans I knew when the first HP movie came out — they thought the movie was ALL WRONG because it actually changed some of the dialogue from the book, and it LEFT THINGS OUT. Which was WRONG. Because that wasn’t HOW IT WAS. Which meant the movie was HORRIBLE.
But they, at least, had the excuse that they were kids.
So how about this:
That book, Pride and Prejudice, is SO WRONG. People don’t talk like that. They mumble sometimes. They say “er” or “eh” or “um” and Jane Austen just left that part OUT. Which means the book is not an accurate depiction of her times. Which means it’s TERRIBLE.
By the way, I just wanted to make clear that my last comment was in no way a response to Elizabeth’s comment! (I wrote mine before I saw hers!)
BTW, Elizabeth, I totally agree with the “why in the world did Lady Catherine show up at midnight???” thing! 🙂
With some of the anachronisms in the movie I could see (I think) why the filmmakers made that choice — Elizabeth’s lack of gloves and bonnet might be an attempt to show her lack of interest in superficial etiquette rules, or her headstrong nature, or her “natural”ness… (then again, the lack of bonnet might have been merely so the camera could see her face better.) And I think the costumes were from a wide range of eras in an attempt to get more variety in the costumes, so modern audiences could easily see differences of class, age, wealth, etc.
But some of the anachronisms, like Lady C showing up in the middle of the night, and talking with everyone when they’re in nightclothes, were just WEIRD! Maybe it was supposed to show how Lady C totally didn’t care about anyone else’s convenience… But it went against the whole rigidity and propriety that the lady also stood for, which I thought was worse. Anyway, that’s a choice I wouldn’t have made.
Cara (opinionated as always) 🙂
Yes, Cara, you are opinionated, aren’t you! Lucky for you that you’re always right.
Just chiming in to say I’m getting sooooo impatient for the film to show up in my own town so I can be opinionated too!