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.

Clothing

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.

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

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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?

Settings

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.

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Pemberley and Netherfield I must exclude from this…

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Hair

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.

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

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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!

 

Customs

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

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Her habit of walking instead of traveling by carriage.

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Everyone’s terrible table manners.

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Lizzy and Jane’s messy hair.

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The number of times we see Lizzy in her nightgown.

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Lizzy’s… coattails.

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

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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.

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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! 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?

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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!

 

9 Shocking Facts About The Characters In Pride And Prejudice 2005

As you know, I love Pride and Prejudice 2005. I’m a hopeless romantic, but I don’t watch many chick-flicks… this is one of the only ones.

Pride and Prejudice is the movie equivalent of Chinese, my favorite comfort food. I love curling up with a fleecy blanket and a bowl of something warm and watching this movie.

So, yes, I know this movie like the back of my hand. Or better than the back of my hand? I don’t know the back of my hand that well, to be honest.

And the more times you watch this movie, the more you see. It’s quite thrilling.

Now brace yourself… for 9 shocking facts that were hitherto unknown to you about the characters in Pride and Prejudice.

Shocking Fact Number One – I Foresee A Career In Rapping For Lizzy Bennet!

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Are you shocked?

I have watched this movie an insane amount of times and sometimes I still don’t quite catch what Lizzy is saying.

Let us consider this mouthful from the Angry Rain Proposal. “From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.”

Try saying that ten times fast! The crazy thing is that Lizzy does – say it fast, I mean. Like I said, it’s a mouthful, studded with plenty of ten-dollar words. But then again, most of the dialogue in a period drama is.The difference is that Lizzy says all of her lines at this same breakneck pace.

I want to see blooper reels. Or at least know how many tries it took to get it right.

I admire the rare talent of speedtalking, but it doesn’t take me long to get all tripped up.

If I were Lizzy Bennet, that line would look somewhat different. Something like this, perhaps… “From the first moment I met you I realized that your self disdain made you the last man on earth.” I am quite talented, thank you.

Here is yet another example of Lizzy’s rapping potential. “Do you deny that you separated a young couple who loved each other, exposing your friend to the censure of the world for caprice and my sister to derision for disappointed hopes, involving them both in misery of the acutest kind?”

Potential, I say!

Shocking Fact Number Two – Lizzy Is Nice To Mrs. Bennet!

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If my own mother blatantly showed that she preferred all of my other siblings to me, wanted me to marry a creepy cousin in the name of saving my family from destitution, routinely embarrassed me in public, wasn’t bothered by the fact that her daughter ran off with a manipulative gambler just so long as she got married, and drove everyone insane with her ignorance and crudeness, I doubt I would be able to find it in my heart to treat her as kindly as Lizzy does her mother.

Sure, Lizzy says to her face that people die from the shame of having “such a mother,” and rebels outright when Mrs. Bennet tries to force her to marry Mr. Collins. But in spite of it all, Lizzy actually has pity for her mother. It blows my mind.

Perhaps Lizzy is a better person than we give her credit for.

Shocking Fact Number Three – Lizzy Cares About Lydia!

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Lydia is a brat who got what was coming to her. Particularly since she doesn’t seem all that upset about being taken advantage of. In fact, she seems oddly proud of herself for disgracing her family and marrying a complete jerk.

Lizzy isn’t close to Lydia – at all. She tries to keep Kitty and Lydia in check and remind them to mind their manners, but she realizes that there is only so much she can do – especially since Lydia and Kitty are supported and encouraged by their mother.

But do remember the scene where Lizzy receives the letter from Jane about how Lydia has run away with Mr. Wickham?

Lizzy is devastated. She can’t even tell her aunt and uncle what has happened without breaking down. She immediately blames herself for it and rebukes herself sharply for not having told her family what she knew about Mr. Wickham so that the tragedy could have been averted. Tears stream down her face as they rush home in the carriage.

She cares about her little sister deeply. She is concerned about her safety and is willing to go to any length to ensure it.

Whatever Lizzy’s flaws, disloyalty to her family is not one of them.

Shocking Fact Number Four – Lizzy Enjoys Seeing Kitty And Lydia Happy

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Let’s be honest.

No one likes Kitty or Lydia in this version. You’re not supposed to! Lydia is shallow and glib and immature and bratty and Kitty is a slightly more boring version of Lydia.

We see these lovely ladies giggling drunkenly and flirting brazenly and smacking each other and hyperventilating over… “officers.”

They don’t have a lot going for them.

But remember that scene in the beginning of the movie where Kitty and Lydia are dancing with Jane and trying to persuade her to let them borrow clothing items?

I love how Lizzy just sits there, watching and smiling in happiness. She’s happy… because her sisters are happy. Isn’t that sweet?

Lizzy has a heart of gold, guys.

Shocking Fact Number Five – Darcy Talks Funny… And Rocks It

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Anybody else would sound like a bumbling idiot if they repeated, “I love, I love, I love” three times before finally spitting out the last bit of their declaration.

Darcy doesn’t.

Because Darcy is adorable. And he makes this utterly stupid line sound sweet and emotional and choked-up and… no, I’m not choked up! Why would you say a silly thing like that?

Shocking Fact Number Six – Darcy Isn’t Into Caroline

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Sure, her personality is a turn-off, but Caroline is alluring and sophisticated. I can’t help but wonder why Darcy is so cold to her, right from the start. I mean, isn’t he good friends with her brother? So he’s probably known her for a while, right?

And yet he coldly rejects all her advances and shuts her down whenever she tries to compliment his fast writing or his sister or his sister’s design for a table or the odiousness of business letters…

Okay, so I am beginning to see why he didn’t like her.

But! He tells Lizzy that he doesn’t have the talent of conversing easily with people that he has just met. Based upon personal experience, I know that when I find myself at an awkward dance in an unfamiliar… barn, I stay especially close to those I do know – even if I don’t like them that much under normal circumstances. You would think he would at least talk to her, you know?

Shocking Fact Number Seven – Darcy Is Friends With Bingley

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How shall I put this… delicately?

Bingley does not exactly strike me as the most intelligent young man on the globe. In fact, you could say that he is incredibly stupid. And you wouldn’t be lying.

Don’t get me wrong – Bingley is adorable. In the same way that an overgrown Golden Retriever puppy is adorable.

I would like to pat Bingley on the head.

And it is kinda sweet when he is on the balcony waving goodbye the Bennets and just can’t seem to stop.  Or when he is so distraught over leaving Jane that he apparently forgets to shave and so looks even more like a scruffy little puppy.

But overall, this guy doesn’t have a lot of substance. By his own admission, he doesn’t read, we can see that he is easily persuaded and cowed, he’s absurdly awkward and can’t carry on a normal conversation to save his life, and he has a terrible habit of laughing stupidly at anything and everything!

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

How is Darcy friends with this imbecile? Darcy is rich and obviously values education and quick wit and extensive reading.

None of which Bingley possesses.

They say opposites attract and that is certainly true. But in my experience, intelligent people only get frustrated with ignorant people who don’t even attempt to better themselves.

Shocking Fact Number Eight – Jane Is In Love With Bingley

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Jane may not be rich, but she is intelligent. Sure, she deliberately chooses to see the best in people but this is not blind stupidity – it is a choice. Jane wants to be happy and she realizes that she will not be happy if she focuses on what’s wrong with her situation and what’s bad in other people. So she chooses to find the good.

She knows that her sisters are impolite and unruly. She knows that her mother’s behavior is embarrassing and crude. But she has taken the pains to make herself into a lady, even if her family and social standing do not exactly lend themselves to this goal. 

Jane is not dumb.

And so, every time Jane comes home from that ball and says, “Mr. Bingley is just what a young man ought to be,” I regard her with extreme suspicion. 

Mr. Bingley is not “just what a young man ought to be.” A young man ought to be able to talk to people without making a fool out of himself more than a dozen times. A young man ought to be a man and stand up to other people bullying him. A young man ought to make up his own mind, not have it made up for him.

Bingley has many flaws that could use amending. He’s not… ideal.

Like Jane, he tends to see the best in everything. Unlike Jane, I get the impression that this is more because he stupidly believes everything to be good even when it is not and less because he chooses to find something good even in a bad situation.

For example, he glibly states that he has “never seen so many pretty girls in his entire life,” when we are all rather acutely aware that this cannot be true. Jane, on the other hand, discreetly says, “they’re not all bad.” A much more accurate assessment.

So how can Jane want to marry him? Doesn’t she see that they are not on the same plane? She is a mature adult and Bingley… well, Bingley is still working his way through adolescence, I think.

Shocking Fact Number Nine – Mary Is A Sweet Girl

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She is!

Tell me, what is wrong with loving music, practicing diligently, and hating parties? Nothing!

In fact, I’m inclined to think all of them good character qualities!

The only strike against Mary that I can think of is that she is not the best singer. Not everyone can be, or so I’m told. By my family members. Who complain of bleeding ears and other such ailments. Occasionally.

And yes, her statement about balls being much more sensible if “conversation, not dancing, were the order of the day” is a bit pretentious and stuffy. And she apparently reads boring books aloud to Kitty – but Kitty could use a good stiff dose of boredom every now and then!

Honestly, I refuse to hold a grudge against a girl who plays “Dawn” so beautifully in that opening scene, okay? Okay.

So… were you shocked?

Tell me! Have you seen Pride and Prejudice 2005? Do you love it? Hate it? Something in between? Who is your favorite character? Which of these facts shocks you the most?