I’m kind of obsessed with this movie.
Though I am aware that many versions of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have been made, I have only ever watched the 2005 film directed by Joe Wright. I do intend to watch the other versions sometime, but, honestly, I’m content with this one and I doubt that any of the others will ever take its place.
Obviously, the most important part of any film is its characters and it’s my firm belief that this is why Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice shines.
Lizzy (Keira Knightley) – I was not all that impressed with Knightley’s performance, actually. Her ability to get suddenly teary-eyed and her line, “I hardly know,” after reading Darcy’s letter were impressive, but other than that, nothing stands out. Her anger is convincing and I do not dislike her character, which is high praise coming from a girl who habitually rips movie heroines to shreds.
Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) – Throughout the movie, Macfadyen maintains this perfect balance between cold aloofness and shy, breathless sweetness. A few little details he does so beautifully and have always stood out for me include: the way he hangs his head as if his reply to Lizzy’s, “Do you dance, Mr. Darcy?” came out a little colder than he intended, the way he appears to count steps in an attempt to appear only casually interested in Lizzy’s answer to a question he asks while they are dancing, and the way he twice almost kisses Lizzy involuntarily after she has just rejected his marriage proposal.
The moral of this story, based on Darcy’s appearance, seems to be that the strongest indicator of true love is that one will be increasingly careless in their dress.
Bingley (Simon Woods) – While Bingley is portrayed as vastly stupider than he was in the book, but the character ends up being so funny and sweet that you can’t help but like the blundering, awkward young man.
His marriage proposal, which opens, “First, I must say that I have been the most unmitigated, incomprehensive ass,” while certainly not the most romantic one I’ve ever heard, ought to at least get some points for originality.
Mrs. Bennet, Mary, Kitty, Lydia (Brenda Blethyn, Talulah Riley, Carey Mulligan, Jena Malone) – They are actually painful to watch. I am in agony on Lizzy’s behalf every time one of them is on screen. Blethyn in particular does such a fantastic job of being fussy, crude, and ignorant.
Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander) – Hollander manages to make this character so completely odious and repulsive that he gives me the creeps. Mr. Collins is every girl’s worst nightmare.
Wickham (Rupert Friend) – Wickham is satisfyingly debonair but I can’t help feeling that the development of the story would have benefited from having a little more of Wickham in it. The same is true of Colonel Fitzwilliam (Cornelius Booth). In the book, he is supposed to be an eligible young man who might be interested in Lizzy – and she in him – but Booth portrays him as an older man who is only ever kindly to Elizabeth.
Georgiana Darcy (Tamzin Merchant) – In the movie, Georgiana comes across as a sweet kid, a pretty little girl who does not resemble the painfully shy and totally gorgeous Georgiana described by Jane Austen in the least. Supposedly sixteen years old, Merchant looks closer to twelve, making it hard to believe that she and Wickham were, at one time, a couple.
Who is your favorite character in Pride and Prejudice? Did they make it on my list? Which version is your favorite? Have you ever read the book?