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Pride & Prejudice

A movie directed by Joe Wright.

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Takes my breath away

  • May 5, 2008
Pros: True to the spirit of the text, gorgeous scenes, well acted.

Cons: Minimizes some of the minor characters.

The Bottom Line: This is a beautifully rendered version of the novel. It accomplishes very much in a short amount of time.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

I've read the book at least five times. I've seen several movie versions and own the PBS miniseries version with Colin Firth.

This movie is breathtakingly beautiful.

It's hard to do such a complex story in two hours. Joe Wright pulled it off in a film that was nominated for four Oscars.

Many of us know the story. If you don't, it is the tale of a declining aristocratic family. Mr. Bennet (played by Donald Sutherland) has failed to produce a son which means that his estate will go to the next male heir, a very silly man Mr. Collins(Tom Hollander).

Mr. Bennet is an intelligent man who is impressed by very little and is amused by much. His character has had the fortune (or misfortune) to marry a pretty and silly and vivacious woman who has produced five daughters for him. He is sarcastic and rolls his eyes at most of them with the exception of his second daughter Lizzie (Kiera Knightley). He values her as the only one of his family with any sense at all.

The story revolves around getting some of those daughters married. This is the basic premise of the author Jane Austen and all of her novels. Daughters of no fortune should seek to marry men of fortune. This is the theme that runs through all of her novels. The daughters are not mercenary, in fact they are women of good character who through tribulation end up with men of good fortune.

We should all have such a fairy tale.

This version of Pride and Prejudice is very true to the text and is remarkably presented. I will have to say that I think the best performance is rendered by Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. He is very pleasing to the eye and he performs this part better than any previous version I've seen. One can see his emotion as he learns to esteem Miss Lizzie Bennet. One can see his angst as the fiery woman holds him with contempt and then learns to appreciate him and then love him with an understated passion.

It would be hard to top Colin Firth in this role, but I think Mr. Macfadyen does an outstanding job. Acting is accomplished in a number of ways but the eyes of an actor can give strength to a performance that will endure. Mr. Macfedyen shows pride, aloofness, passion, disappointment, pain, hope and delight with his eyes. He does an wonderful job.

Kiera Knightley delivers a sultry Lizzie Bennet that the viewer cannot help but admire. As the lead character she responds and reacts to everyone else. This actress pulls off this challenging role with great dignity and beauty.

The supporting cast is superior. Each character is well portrayed and superbly acted. Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet does a stellar job of the exceedingly silly and shallow mother of five daughters. Jena Malone (Stepmom, Donnie Darko) does an annoyingly faithful performance as the irritating and reprobate baby sister.

Simon Woods (Octavian on the series Rome) presents an under confident and beautifully sweet rendition of Mr. Bingley.

Dame Judi Dench is wonderful in her role of the annoying and stuck-up Lady Catherine de Bourg. The viewer just wants to smack her for being so pretentious.

The cinematography delights and astonishes the viewer. There are scenes of wonderful English countryside and long shots that can only come from the imagination of the director. There is a shot of Lizzie standing on the edge of a cliff that departs from reality of the text but is a beauty to see with the long vista of English hillsides in the background.

My favorite scene is of Mr. Darcy walking up toward Lizzie through the mist in the culmination of the story. The viewer's heart is pounding to see him walk with determination toward the woman that he loves.

This is a beautiful movie to watch. It is faithful to the text. The acting is truly wonderful.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Pride & Prejudice (2005 film) reviews
review by . December 27, 2009
Pride and Prejudice - The Special Edition (A&E, 1996)
If you love Jane Austen like I do, you must see this wonderful movie. This is one of the best things I have ever seen on TV. Jennifer Ehle (Paradise Road) and Colin Firth (The English Patient) play Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy respectively. They are perfect! I am totally in love with Colin Firth because of this movie. The entire cast is just great! The movie is really faithful to the book and I just can't recommend it enough. This is the best version of Pride & Prejudice I've seen. I own …
Quick Tip by . December 27, 2009
didn't like this version. The best is 1996 A&E version with Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle.
review by . May 16, 2009
Keira Knightly's interpretation of Elizabeth Bennet was ridiculous. She made her out to be sort of a snot. Elizabeth would never have disrespected her mother the way Knightly's version did in this movie. It was not true to the book, to the character, or to the period.  And that ending scene was complete garbage.  Perhaps it was bad directing & not completely the actress's fault but that totally ruined the movie, for me.      My advice, if you loved the …
review by . December 13, 2008
Accompanied with a moving score and set in the lush English countryside, Joe Wright has the daunting task of doing this Jane Austen classic justice. The cinematography does a brilliant job of exploring the estates and the rolling hills of the English countryside.     I never pictured Kiera Knightly as one of my favorite literary heroines but she does a fine job balancing Elizabeth's rebellious and intelligent nature. Mr. Bingly, played by Simon Woods is equal parts charming and …
review by . November 22, 2008
Pride & Prejudice
If reading classics hurts your brain   and long movies are too boring   Try this short version of the tale   It will not have you snoring     Mr. Bennet's a gentle man   who has a nagging spouse   With five daughters under his roof   It's such a noisy house     The elder daughters are his pets   The rest he just finds silly   Some cheery ribbons for the hair   Makes each …
review by . June 04, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
There is a sweep and grandeur to "Pride and Prejudice," which gives the movie an instant appeal. Based on the Jane Austin classic, the scenes move forward at a brisk pace to keep our interest, but it is the portrayals that make the movie continually engaging.    The Bennet family is of small means. The father, and, particularly, the mother, are interested in seeking suitors for each of their five daughters. Focus is primarily on Elizabeth (Keira Knightly), or "Lizzie," the protagonist, …
review by . April 09, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Beautiful cinematography and an Academy Award-nominated performance from Keira Knightley make this newest film version of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE one to savour. Although there is a legion of dedicated fans for whom the 1995 BBC miniseries (with Colin Firth) is still the definitive screen treatment, director Joe Wright (with a screenplay by Deborah Moggach and Emma Thompson) invests this version with a youthful feel and a slightly earthy, grittier edge. Most importantly, Knightley and Matthew …
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This version of Jane Austen's fiercely beloved novel has the daunting task of living up not only to the classic book, but also to the excellent 1995 miniseries of the same name. Yet 2005's PRIDE & PREJUDICE is up to the task, thanks to lively pacing, a witty script, an excellent cast, and clever direction from British newcomer Joe Wright. The surprisingly still-relevant story follows the five Bennet sisters as they deal with suitors and love, as their mother desperately schemes to marry them off advantageously. Sweet-tempered beauty Jane (Rosamund Pike) develops feelings for the equally amiable and extremely wealthy Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods), but forces conspire to keep them apart--while Lizzie (Keira Knightley) finds herself first appalled by, but gradually drawn to, Bingley's aloof, intelligent, and socially awkward friend, Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFayden). The movie, at just over two hours, is forced to cut and condense a number of the book's subplots, and at times it tries to heighten the drama of certa...
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