A Criticism on Pride and Prejudice- the Movie

Topics: Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy Pages: 10 (3094 words) Published: October 13, 2010
Pride and prejudice

Based on the novel by Jane Austin

Directed by Joe Wright


How do you take a classic of Jane Austen and adapt it to the big screen- without missing the subtle details and innuendoes found in her novels? The movie “Pride and Prejudice” is not to be used as a substitute for her novels; rather it is a visually stimulating insight into the life of one of the world’s greatest romance heroines- enhanced by the extraordinary settings, vibrancy of costume, expressiveness of music and the stimulating rapport of the characters.

The newest movie adaptation of the world renowned classic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, prompts the question; Why do we need yet another version of this classic tale? Director Joe Wright has executed the film in a manner befitting a hearty round of applause. The first scene opens to the sound of a blackbird chirping in the background. This chirping is repeated during several scenes of the movie where Elizabeth is the central focus. The opening shot is then of Elizabeth reading a book- her story, in fact, of a girl falling in love. The cinematography is simply fantastic; the visual impact of the film in all its glory is absolutely breathtaking.

Kudos go to the film maker for casting actors closer in age to the characters of the book, as opposed to those found in previous adaptations of this classic novel. However, in spite of an individually talented cast, the film fails to connect with its audience. The emotional pull of the story is lacking in Wright’s version. It is all a bit brooding, and distant, as though it was taking its cue from Darcy’s character. Also, we know that Darcy is supposed to be remote and standoffish, but Macfadyen plays him so severely, that he is portrayed as almost completely uninteresting. He is so unengaged in what is going on that Elizabeth's attraction to the man is unexplainable. The film follows true to the plot, and so includes many of the favorite scenes of the die-hard Austen fans. Although the plot was much reworked and edited to fit the time, it faithfully stuck to the crucial key elements of the novel.

Pride and Prejudice, a novel written by Jane Austin is set in the regency era which at that time allowed for very little upward social mobility for women especially. The story is set in the family of the Bennets. Their mother (Brenda Blethyn) faces a serious dilemma- she is left with the task of arranging five advantageous and suitable marriages for her five young daughters; Jane, Elizabeth Mary, Lydia and Kitty. In that time, estates were entailed to only the next male in line of the family. Mrs. Bennet has only five girls; she is placed in a position to marry her daughters well or leave them penniless and homeless since a distant cousin Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander) inherits the estate upon the death of Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland). Only Mr. Bennet remains immune to all the fuss and bother going on around him as Mrs. Bennet strategizes on how to get her daughters married off.

Elizabeth (Kiera Knightley) is the defiant one of the bunch, struggling against class restrictions and wanting only to marry for love. She meets with the dour and standoffish Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) who she promptly dislikes for insulting her and paying no attention to her, and yet, is strangely attracted to him. Forced into contact with each other by means of social gatherings, the two often exchange witty repartees with each other, each trying to out-do the other as indifferently, and as casually as possible. Of course, like any romance story, they end up falling for each other. As in most traditional romance formats, there is more than one happy ending. Not only do Elizabeth and Darcy face an impending marriage, but Jane too, has consented to marry Mr. Bingley. Though married earlier, Kitty and her husband of convenience, Mr. Wickham, also play a part in the happy ending scenario.

Director Joe Wright announces his intentions right from...
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