“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.” Thus opens Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. It is a work that has been adapted to film before, so how does this most recent version hold up?
First, let me say I am an avid reader and I love Austen’s novel. Second, I do not care for romantic books or movies.
You may be scratching your head right about now. “But isn’t Pride and Prejudice a romance?” And here we come to the first great misconception about the book. It contains a romance, but that does not define it. Sadly, this misconception greatly influences the 2005 adaptation. Characterizing Pride and Prejudice as purely romantic is missing the larger point of the work, which admittedly does not translate as well as I would like into this version of the movie.
Pride and Prejudice is not a novel about the love lives of the Bennett girls. Pride and Prejudice is a story about the pride and prejudice of two people, and how that plays out in the world. The characterization of Jane Austen’s characters is fascinating, though rather rushed in this version. In fact, this version is so short that most of the book falls by the wayside. The unfortunate side effect is that it appears to be solely a romance, and that you miss much in what makes and forms the characters. For those who do not have time to watch the 5 hour version or refuse to read the book will find the bare outline of the plot in this movie.
The casting is excellent. Many of the actors/actresses do a fantastic job conveying their characters on screen … aside from Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen. I do not think Keira’s version of Lizzie is accurate to the book at all. Matthew was given a poor translation of Darcy to work with. Since these two are the stars of the show that is rather disappointing. Please realize that if you do not supplement this version with one of the longer ones, or with the book, you are missing out on so much of what Austen filled her book with: character analysis and real people, not a sappy romance.