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Pride & Prejudice

A movie directed by Joe Wright.

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Distilled Austen Makes for a Fine Brew

  • Mar 1, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+3
Some will ask "how many versions of Jane Austen's read-to-the-point-of-fraying 'Pride and Prejudice' do we need?" The current film archives show no fewer than ten versions and growing. But for this viewer the current P & P du jour is as satisfying as any, edited and distilled to its main story lines without diminishing the main message from the author. Deborah Moggach can be thanked for the screenplay (with some subtle revisions by Emma Thompson) and Joe Wright for his sensitive and forward momentum directing approach.

So what make this version different and successful? First, the placement of the Bennet family in the pig and mud friendly country home that sets the scene properly for the driver of the film - finding proper husbands for the five daughters whose well placed marriages will assure the lower class Bennet family a future stability. Yes, it is a bit untidy, this household, but that makes it a family more dependent on the land and more prone to dreams of 'marrying up' in a country ruled by class system. Second, the casting of the Bennnet family with five truly young actresses (Keira Knightly, Rosamund Pike, Talulah Riley, Jena Malone, Carey Mulligan) instead of older types trying to appear like teenagers; a mother (Brenda Blethyn) who indeed shows her desperation of class; and a father (Donald Sutherland) who epitomizes Austen's father figure mold. Add to the Bennets the credible men characters of Simon Woods, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Hollander, and Cornelius Booth and top it all off with a pivotal Lady Catherine de Bourg of Judi Dench and all players are in place for a fine cast. The dialogue is crisp and sharp and the usual diversions into lineage names and sidebars are eliminated, bringing this long story down to just over two hours.

The scenery and costumes are superb as is the cinematography by Roman Oshin and the musical score by Dario Marianelli with a lot of help from Henry Purcell. Is it one of the best movies of the year? Perhaps, perhaps not, depending on taste. But it is nice to see Keira Knightly shine in a role more challenging than any she has had to date. She inhabits Elizabeth Bennet luminously. Grady Harp, March 06

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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 . May 05, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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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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