Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not Prideful Nor Prejudice Enough

I watched Pride & Prejudice, the 2005 version, last night. I am sorry, but NO NO NO. This is just not good enough, which is such a shame. I was so excited to see this film. I love Keira Knightley and after seeing (and adoring) Matthew Macfadyen for the first time in the Masterpiece Classic Little Dorrit, I was doubly excited, if only to see him take on one of my favorite characters, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. But, this was not to be.

I should have known it would not compare to the 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle's amazing portrayals of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. I dare say any other version could! Though, I do have the 1940 version with Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy, in my netflix queue. We shall see about that one.

Anyway, back to this mucked up 2005...thing. Why do they have to mess with the dialogue? Jane Austen wrote it all out for us. It's perfect the way it is and well suited for the screen with little to no changes necessary. I even tried to look at this film as it's own entity. As if I hadn't seen another version or read the book. That's really hard to accomplish when you love these characters and this story so much. I just couldn't do it.

Yes, the scenery was amazing, gorgeous, breathtaking, blah, blah, blah. But it's not about that for me and, I'm certain, many other P&P fans. It's about Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy!! It is the repartee between the two. Oh, I could just sit and listen to them verbally jousting forever. Poor Mr. Darcy. It felt as if I'd hardly seen him in this film. He was too soft. Not forceful enough. I don't know if that was Macfadyen's fault or the director's. Oh, I hope it's the latter.

I'm finding it hard to even put into words how I feel about any version of this story. I think Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth were reincarnations of these characters. They just lifted the subtleties of the characters off the page. You can't overact with these parts. Everything was more civilized in the early 1800's. I imagine their words were more carefully chosen and illustrative of the emotions, which were kept hidden just under the surface. The whole movie felt rushed, too. I guess that's the advantage of a two part TV series as apposed to a 2 hour movie.

I will say, though, that I do think Keira Knightley did a respectable job as Elizabeth Bennet, if nothing more than by just being herself, which I get the impression of her as being a feisty, strong willed and opinionated woman. But poor Mr. Darcy, who I felt was in the very capable hands of Matthew Macfadyen, came off as a, well, a wimp.

I think I need to wash this version from my mind. I think I need a little Firth and Ehle therapy.

What about the rest of you? Anyone else feeling my pain?


  1. Having never read the book I enjoyed this version for what it was...but yes...Mr. Macfadyen was a little wimpy....I loves me some Colin Firth!:)

  2. Isn't Firth yummy? Read the book!

  3. I haven't seen the version of P&P that you just watched Foobella but I agree, nothing as far as I see it, can ever eclipse the BBC version. We've owned it for years and watch it over and over again. It is the best.

    Have a super holiday weekend.


  4. I just came to read your post on P&P, literally 5 minutes after finishing the 'Ms Austen regrets'
    movie... (Loved that one very much, no sugar here)
    Back to your post: as much as I like MacFadyen to your point, he seemed to depressed for me, not tough enough, I agree. Although I find the movie well made and little disgressions towards the dialog not to bothering. Kneigtly is just so beautiful, what can I say? But overall I liked the BBC series better, because I felt it is truer to the times, nothing was so perfect, teeth and all...

  5. Thanks for visiting, Victoria, and for reminding me. I still have to put Ms. Austen Regrets on my Netflix list.

    And yes! Depressed is the perfect word for him.


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