Pride and Prejudice (2005)

I got to pick what we watched on Valentine’s Day, so I picked the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, you know, the one with Keira Knightley. I saw it in the theater with my friend Queenie when it came out, but my husband G. Grod hadn’t seen it. He made buttered popcorn, I added a handful of spice drops, and we settled in.

Before I saw it way back when, I was prejudiced against Keira in the role of Lizzy. (I was going to refer to her by her last name, Knightley, but found that confusing in a review of an Austen-related work, no? Such a geek am I.) While Keira does have a pair of fine eyes in a pretty face, as Lizzy is described in the book, I think she’s perhaps beautiful rather than pretty, and thus takes away some of the every-woman aspect so important to the character.

But that was before I saw the film. Keira won me over. Her Lizzy has an infectious laugh, and her knowing glance at ironies is true to the character. Alas, the irony over class and social mores is more limited than in the book, and the movie focuses more on the romance between Lizzy and Darcy. And Matthew McFadyen, whom I loved in MI5, doesn’t seem quite up to the challenge of a complex Darcy. His Darcy shifts suddenly from grouch to suitor. I would have preferred a more gradual transformation. And the beginning, which lacks the famous opening line, and the end, which panders to ’shippers rather than Janeites, are serious drawbacks, to me. That said, many of the supporting cast is terrific–I like Sutherland as Mr. Bennet, Blethyn as Mrs., Dench as Lady Catherine is about as perfect casting as there is, and the little guy who plays Collins is hilarious. Additionally, I like the realistically grubby look of the Bennet’s home. So, good enough, but my favorite is still the 1995 miniseries with Colin Firth–more hours to do better justice to the text.

6 Responses to “Pride and Prejudice (2005)”

  1. Jennifer Reese Says:

    and Jennifer Ehle will always be MY Elizabeth.

  2. girldetective Says:

    While I don’t think Ehle is as iconic as Firth was in that version, she is my favorite Elizabeth, and I do prefer her to KK, who I think did a good job as Elizabeth. Ehle is just more accessible, relate-able in the role. I found the ‘05 film similar to the 1940 version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier (wait, Aldous Huxley was the screenwriter?!)–interesting, worthwhile in ways, but a pale substitute for the miniseries.

  3. Steph Says:

    For me the 1995 miniseries is the apex of Austen adaptations and any other attempt at P&P pales in comparison, including the “Kiera” version. To me Firth >>> McFadyen and Ehle >>> Knightley, no contest. I also think all the supporting casting in the miniseries is wonderful as well (Mr. Collins is such a creep!).

    I actually purchased the Colin Firth version on Blu-Ray (which is a worthwhile investment, by the way - the image quality is truly superior to the original DVD transfer) and as a result had my original DVDs sitting around collecting dust. I offered them to my friend who initially thought I was offering her the Kiera version… she was going to refuse but when she realized what I was really offering up, she squealed with glee and snatched them up posthaste!

  4. girldetective Says:

    cuss it Steph, I didn’t need to know I needed the Bluray…

  5. Elle Says:

    I saw the 1995 version last year for the first time and quickly became obsessed with it - 16 years wasted! I think KK answers better Austen’s description of Elizabeth as a physical type, but her manner of moving and speaking, and that of the other characters, is totally 21st century. I love how in the 1995 version they manage to keep the original wording and physicality (they never touch!) but give it a natural look and sound. Anna Chancellor is superb I think. I do prefer Mrs Bennett in the 2005 version though - Alison Steadman is too shrill.

  6. Elle Says:

    p.s. I’ve been meaning to respond to your request for favourite books but now I see the comments are closed there. So, I’ll write it here: I discovered Possession thanks to you and I’ll be eternally grateful - I loved it, especially because it made me think of research and why I do it. But I cannot bring myself to re-read it for some reason. On the other hand, books I keep going back to are not necessarily the best, just the easiest. Also, the answer will vary over the years… All this to say: the first title that came to my mind was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and i’ll stick to it.