Keira Knightley, Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Matthew
MacFadyen, Jena Malone
| Directed By :
After the BBC mini-series that
captured the Jane Austen love story so well, one had to wonder
how a theatrical recapturing would fare. Considering that
Jennifer Elhe and Colin Firth had established themselves as
the roles of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bennett and Mr. Darcy, I had
to wonder how Knightly and MacFayden would be able to set
their own mark. Also, I had to wonder how a story that took
six hours to tell well the first time would fit into two hours.
The story of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the
Bennett family, a lower class family whose main concern seems
to be to try and marry off their five daughters to men of
any decent standing. When two rich men, Mr. Bingley and Mr.
Darcy, arrive locally, they are sought after by the shrill and annoying
mother. Bingley proves to be a kind man who quickly falls
in love with the eldest daughter, Jane. At the same balls
that Bingley and Jane find time to develop their relationship,
Jane's sister, Lizzie, has some less than pleasant contact
with Bingley's good friend, Mr. Darcy, a prideful and opinionated
The story takes a twist when Darcy convinces Bingley to break
off his relationship with Jane and then reveals to Lizzie
his own feelings. During this revelation, he makes it quite
clear that he feels love for her despite many conditions that
would normally convince him otherwise. It's at this point
that one might think the relationship is dead and over, but
further situations draw the two people back together.
While I can't help but compare this cast to the ones from
the miniseries, I would say that they do manage to offer a
bit of a revised take on the characters. MacFayden's Darcy
is far less stoic, but not without retaining his reserved
pride. Knightly's Lizzie is far more affected by her emotions
and has no problem hinting at what's deep inside as the scenes
play out. While she doesn't capture the elegance and maturity
that Elhe played the role with, her take on Lizzie is a far
more impassioned character. Sutherland's Mr. Bennett shows
a dry wit, but at times reveals a certain level of emotional
distance inherent in being the only man in a house of women.
It's as if he's trying to find those rare moments of silence
within the depths of his own mind.
This take on Pride & Prejudice shows a bit more emotion
and affection from the main characters. There is more care
taken with moments of foreshadowing and metaphor. I give the
director a lot of credit for trying to offer up nonverbal
solutions to wrap up certain story elements without drawing
the conversation out too long. While some of the story was
obviously trimmed down, the way its handled is done with enough
style and grace to make the viewer feel like they're not missing
much. In fact, I would say that some effort has been made
to offer a few additional insights to the characters, even
if it is in the way they look at each other or the way they
star off into the distance.
Pride & Prejudice offers up a good range of emotions,
including a good sense of humor in the way the characters
are portrayed. Fans of the miniseries should be pleased on
how this rendition takes the source material and makes it
work without feeling like an edited version of the miniseries.
If you love the book, you'll enjoy this take on it.