Pride And Prejudice 2005 Is Historically Inaccurate… And I Think It’s On Purpose

Naomi wrote this hilarious post on Pride and Prejudice 2005 and aside from making me laugh until I cried, it made me realize something.

Pride and Prejudice 2005 is undeniably inaccurate.

Naomi pointed out things like the dresses, hairstyles, and settings. And she was right. She was right about all of it. I couldn’t help but nod and agree inwardly with every point she brought up – despite the fact that I am a fan of this movie.

I enjoyed the post so much that after finishing, I read the ensuing debate that was held in the comments. This was… illuminating.

This part of Hamlette‘s comment particularly struck a chord with me.

“I think a great deal of this movie’s staging and costuming was done purposely to provoke people, to get them to think about passion and how hard it is to contain it. How close anger and arousal are to each other. How similar people then are to us now. And how unusual Elizabeth and Darcy are, that they were willing to flout convention to be together.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As I read Naomi’s post, I became persuaded that these inaccuracies couldn’t possibly have been accidental. It is preposterous to think that the director simply didn’t have the resources or money to portray the time period correctly. And you can’t say that he was stupid enough to not research the story thoroughly before setting out to make a movie about it.

It was deliberate.


This required a bit of research as I am not exactly an expert on Regency clothing.

I found that Pride and Prejudice 2005 stayed mostly true to the styles of that time period, though Mrs. Bennet’s costumes look more like something from the Georgian era. I can only assume that the intention was to portray Mrs. Bennet as hopelessly old-fashioned, perhaps unaware that her clothing has gone out of style.

Image result for mrs bennet's dresses in pride and prejudice 2005

But you will notice that – most of the time – there isn’t much difference in the dresses from the 1995 and 2005 versions.

Image result for pride and prejudice 1995 dresses


Related image

Personally, I don’t care for the Regency style. Gathering a dress at the ribs that way always gives the impression of being pregnant and therefore needing the extra looseness in the stomach. But I suppose I would need to take up that argument with Jane Austen, not Joe Wright, wouldn’t I?


The general consensus here seems to be that the settings are all quite grimy.

I don’t know, I kind of like it? It adds detail and texture and realism.

That said, it is true. The Bennets house is cluttered and gross, their yard is muddy and riddled with puddles, and the town looks dusty and its inhabitants rather poor.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 settings

Pemberley and Netherfield I must exclude from this…

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 settings


Oh, dear.

I did a bit of research – I’m not any more of an expert on Regency hair than I am on Regency dresses – and, wow, the 2005 version failed.

Rather fantastically.

The Ugly Sidecurls were, alas, the correct hairstyle.

Image result for pride and prejudice 1995 hair

And bangs wouldn’t become popular for many more years. Oops.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 hairImage result for pride and prejudice 2005 hair

I can only say that Ugly Sidecurls are, well, ugly, and Pride and Prejudice 2005 wanted to make an aesthetically pleasing movie – the Sidecurls would have ruined it!



Lizzy’s habit of traveling alone – to Netherfield, or home from church, or to the inn that she is staying at.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 positively medieval


Her habit of walking instead of traveling by carriage.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 fond of walking

Everyone’s terrible table manners.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 table manners

Lizzy and Jane’s messy hair.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 lizzy and jane

The number of times we see Lizzy in her nightgown.

Image result for pride and prejudice keira knightley

Lizzy’s… coattails.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 lizzy on the swing

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 early morning on the bridge

Darcy’s lack of cravat and unbuttoned shirt early in the morning.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 darcy second proposal

Bingley entering a woman’s bedroom. And walking into the Bennets’ house like he owns it.

Darcy bursting in on Lizzy unannounced at Charlotte’s house.

Darcy’s lack of surprise at seeing Lizzy in her nightgown. Twice.

Image result for pride and prejudice 2005 lizzy looking in the mirror

Pigs walking through the house.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh bursting in on the Bennets in the middle of the night.

Even I know that these things were not done in Jane Austen’s day. The only explanation is that they knew that if everything was culturally and historically accurate, that no one would be able to relate to it.

Almost like a modern adaptation…thinly masked as a period drama. Emphasis on the thinly.

The Bennets were poor – but poor back then didn’t look like poor does now. The only way to convey the idea that they were poor was to try and translate it in a way that modern audiences could appreciate… pigs in the house, muddy yards, few servants, poor manners, untidy clothing and hair.

Today it is culturally acceptable to be seen in your pajamas in public. Guys are allowed to enter girls’ bedrooms – though knocking would be nice!Β People dress sloppily when they didn’t sleep well the night before. Housekeepers don’t receive visitors; people walk right into houses they feel comfortable in. Women are allowed to travel alone. Walking isn’t usually considered unsafe. We don’t have great table manners. Late-night visits are okay. Girls don’t fix up their hair if they plan on hanging around the house all day.

It seems obvious to me that the intention was to capture the feeling behind Austen’s novel – the urgency with which Darcy enters a room or the drabness of the Lizzy’s home – not the culture that surrounded it.

Keira Knightley

I have heard some complaints about Keira Knightltey. Not her acting or her performance as Lizzy, exactly…

They dislike how modern Knightley is.

But this is perfectly in keeping with the idea that the makers of this movie were trying to appeal to a more modern audience. Knightley looks young – almost teenager-young – in this movie and conveys vivacity and charm.

Can you say the same of Jennifer Ehle?

Image result for jennifer ehle in pride and prejudice

The fact of the matter is that Ehle is plump and matronly and looks like the middleaged mother of four – not a witty and captivating young girl.

Please don’t mistake me. Ehle is pretty in her own way – she looks sweet and kind and wise and gentle and good. The problem is that I wouldn’t use any of these words to describe Lizzy!

Personally, I think Knightley captures the heart of Lizzy Bennet far better.

The Angry Rain Proposal

As I like to call it.

The big contention here seems to be the near-miss kiss. Because Lizzy has just turned this man down and attacked him with biting words, so why would she then look more than ready to accept a kiss from him?

It don’t make a whole lotta sense, Bob.

Now when I first watched this movie, this was my favorite scene… and it still is. There was something so fascinating about their anger and attraction and the rain dripping off Darcy’s bangs and the way Lizzy has to crane her neck to look up at him.

At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint exactly why this scene drew me.

Hamlette put it into words for me.

Anger and arousal are just a breath away from each other. It is because they are both so angry that they nearly lose control. Their attraction was, from the beginning, physical. Even though neither one of them wanted to admit it, there was a spark of something between them from the moment Darcy glanced at Elizabeth in the dancing hall that first night. And after that it grows – he instinctively reaches out to grab her hand, even though he doesn’t understand why, their eyes keep meeting across the room, she laughs to hide her embarrassment at feeling attracted to a man she has only just seen for the first time.

So maybe the Angry Rain Proposal makes perfect sense? I think it does.

In conclusion! Pride and Prejudice 2005 was artistic and beautiful… it was not accurate.

There! I have declared my opinion. It’s your turn now. Rage away, my lovelies!



18 thoughts on “Pride And Prejudice 2005 Is Historically Inaccurate… And I Think It’s On Purpose”

  1. LOL! This was great, and so very true!

    I’ve actually noticed most modern movies (or TV shows) set in historical times are very, VERY historically inaccurate. Because, as you said, they want to make it aesthetically pleasing. And, I’m probably going to get in trouble for saying this but…I don’t really mind. At all. I am not exactly a history buff, it was never my favorite subject in school. So I’m not going to get raging mad like some if a mere dress or hairstyle is historically inaccurate. If I enjoyed the movie/show/book/what-have-you then I think the creator did a good job.

    Buuuut I know I’m in the minority of this opinion. Most people I know are HUGE history people, so… *sheepish grin*


    1. Interesting! I haven’t many of the more recently-made period dramas, so I was unaware. πŸ™‚

      I agree!!! I would rather watch a GORGEOUS MOVIE than a historically accurate one… I know that isn’t correct, but it’s me. πŸ™‚


  2. I agree with you … it was definitely all intentional! Everyone really does dress accurately except Mrs. Bennet and the hairstyles …? Honestly, I’d change them if I were to make an adaptation of P&P. No one wants those sausages hanging off their ears. πŸ˜›

    And yeah, people are always telling me it’s grimy. I’m like, “You mean … realistic?” I mean, the Bennets are the kind of family who would have a disorganized house with pigs walking through it. I’m sorry, but that’s just the Bennets! And … this is probably the worst thing ever to say, but I think Keira Knightley is the perfect Lizzy. Jennifer Ehle? Nope. She just doesn’t appeal to me in any way. But Knightley really seems to portray Lizzy how I imagined her in my head.

    But … yep. Crazy “controversial” opinions over here … πŸ˜‰


      1. YES CURSE THE SIDECURLS! I think they lasted for another fifty years in one form or another. *shivers*
        Perfection can be hateful. I’ve never encountered it myself in anyone but others …


        1. AMEN! Ewwww, really??

          BAHAHAHA! It’s not that she’s perfect… it’s that she’s the perfect Lizzie Bennet and I kind of love-hate Lizzie Bennet. Also random side note – is it supposed to be spelled Lizzie or Lizzy? :/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think Lizzy? Or Lizzie. I don’t know. I prefer Lizzie myself, but I think it was technically Lizzy in the book? I can’t remember …
            You don’t like her? Why not? Okay, I guess she was pretty prideful and prejudiced and stuff … and she did yell at Darcy at several points … and then she was stubborn … okay, I see what you mean. I have an attachment to unlikable people, though, because they remind me of myself. πŸ˜‰ Just kidding …


  3. Two Pride and Prejudice ’05 posts in the space of a week? Really, Kate! What are you trying to do? Scare me away from ever reading your blog again? (HAHA. TOTALLY kidding.) (In fact, I’m afraid it would take a lot more than that to get rid of me. *evil laugh*)

    Because I actually did enjoy this post. It was a very entertaining read. And you made a good point about the inaccuracies being intentional. Still…if that’s the way to appeal to modern viewers, I must say, I could certainly do without it. It definitely didn’t help to make the characters relatable for me AT ALL. (Maybe I’m not really modern. Maybe I traveled here from a different time period without even knowing it. Haha.)

    I must add, though, I don’t think the things you listed as being culturally acceptable really are that acceptable yet. Not so far as my experience goes at any rate. Because honestly, if an unrelated guy came into MY bedroom while I was sick in bed, I wouldn’t call that acceptable at all. And I don’t think many people would agree that barging into someone’s house AFTER they’ve gone to bed is exactly polite. Maybe I’m out of the loop, though. At any rate, that’s probably another reason why this movie didn’t appeal to me, because in my mind it was just too far-fetched…even for this time period. (Sorry. I’m afraid that turned into a bit of a rant.)

    Hold it minute. You didn’t just say that. KATE! Jennifer Ehle “plump and matronly”? And a “middleaged mother of four?” Are you trying to make me mad? (Hahaha. ;D) In all seriousness I do understand when people say Jennifer Ehle’s Lizzy was too old and not as lively as the Lizzy of the book. But I still think she did a great job of accurately portraying Jane Austen’s Lizzy. (And you really can’t contradict me because you haven’t seen her portrayal yet. Mwahaha. ;)) Of course, as I DID see the 1995 movie before reading the book, I can’t say I’m exactly unbiased. We’ll just leave it at that. Haha. πŸ˜›



      Whatever WAS I thinking???? πŸ™‚

      I just have to say though… I was hoping you’d comment! And I KNEW you would remark about two P and P posts in one week! πŸ˜‰ YOU ARE ADORABLY PREDICTABLE, MA’AM.

      I know it seems intentional, but it was honestly kind of accident??? I wish I could do things like that on purpose… My only excuse is that I just watched it and had to post about it even though I had JUST posted about it three days earlier…

      Anyway! My apologies!!!!


      Okay, so you have a point there. I was kind of general in my post, but yes, a guy entering a girl’s room WHEN SHE IS IN THE BED = CREEPY PLEASE DO NOT and if you don’t know her = NO NO BAD DOG GET OUT! However, if you are a friend or brother then I don’t see anything wrong with entering DURING THE DAY when she is calming sitting upon the bed reading or writing or whatever, so long as you have knocked or asked permission first. I guess if someone was sick, it’s not as big if a deal to me? It’s not like they’re sleeping… EITHER WAY, BINGLEY BARELY KNEW HER SO WHAT HE DID WAS UNACCEPTABLE – ESPECIALLY BACK THEN!!!

      Right. Especially if you know when a family usually goes to bed and are visiting after that time. Very rude. However, visiting after dinner is okay now and probably wasn’t back then? Unless you were invited?


      What???? πŸ˜€ Are you telling me that you can HONESTLY say Ehle isn’t a bit fat??? And motherly-looking????

      No, I can’t contradict you till I’ve seen it with me own eyes!!! *sigh*



      *evil laughter*


  4. I’m predictable, am I? Ha. Not sure if that’s a compliment or not, but I’ll do myself a favor and take it as one. Thank you very much, my dear. *bows*

    Well, since you say it wasn’t intentional I suppose won’t hold it against you. I FORGIVE YOU! (Isn’t that big of me? Heehee.)


    Yes, knocking and asking permission would make all the difference in the world. I’m afraid Bingley has a few things to learn in regards to proper etiquette. Haha. πŸ˜› (Just have to say, though, your comment made me smile so much. Especially that bit about “NO NO BAD DOG GET OUT!” You crack me up, girl!)

    Hmmm…I don’t know about the visiting after dinner thing. I’m not very well versed in the customs of the day either. πŸ™‚

    YEAH ANYWAY. Whose idea WAS this?? πŸ˜›

    Yes, I believe I can honestly say that she ISN’T fat. That style of dress may not be the most slimming style for her but I hardly think she could be considered over weight. And as to her looking motherly. Whatever. I refuse to argue with you on that one. πŸ˜›

    My point exactly. Got ya! πŸ˜‰


    You just watch out for my comment on that post…

    *evil laughter* (*even more evil than yours*)


    1. It was totally a compliment. πŸ™‚ I said you were adorable, didn’t I???

      You are so very generous.

      Ah! I knew it from the moment I met you!!! March girl through and through! πŸ™‚

      Ugh yes!!!! Bingley has so much to learn…

      You have a point… those dresses are NOT slimming. Like I said in my post – they make you look pregnant!

      Who knows???? Maybe I will love it! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰


  5. So you did! Good point. Compliment received with gratitude. πŸ™‚

    Thank you. I do my best.


    Oh, he does indeed! (Who’s gonna give that guy some lessons?)

    Yeah, definitely not the most flattering style. Though some look better in this than others.

    Very true! That’s a possibility at any rate. *fingers crossed* πŸ™‚


    1. I suppose Bingley could take lessons from… Mr. Knightley??? He seems very decorous. πŸ™‚ I certainly wouldn’t be burdened with the project.

      Very true… Caroline, for example, looks almost nice in them. πŸ˜‰


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s