If you keep up with my blog much or know me in person, you are probably aware that I do NOT like romance novels/movies. That said, I do not like the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. However, don't misinterpret me, I love the book and the 1995 TV series. I watched the 2005 version when it first came out on video and, to prepare for writing this review, I watched it again a couple days ago. I assure you, I tried quite hard to find good points about it so I wouldn't sound all negative but try as I might, I could only find one- I like Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Besides that, nada. Naturally I am heavily comparing the movie to the book, and then to the TV series. Maybe if I had never read the book or seen the TV series I would feel differently about it, however, I have, so I don't. Anyways, the movie fails on some cultural levels as well.
Let's start with the cultural. First off, the dress that Miss Bingley wears at the Neverfield ball was completely wrong. It looked more like the underdresses that the girls wore rather than a dress in itself. A lady wouldn't wear a sleeveless dress. It would be scandalous. Secondly, ladies did not wear their hair down in public in those times, and that is something that Elizabeth does several times in the movie.
Another problem that I have with the movie is the social standing that this version places them in. In the book they are middle class, but they are gentry and therefore have a higher social standing. This movie seems to put them in a lower social standing then they really are. This is shown by them having their livestock so close to the house, a pig running through it, and the fact that they seem to have no one to fix Jane's hair (I assume that is why it always looks messy).
When it comes to Mr. Darcy, I am sorry but in my mind there will only be one Mr. Darcy, and that is Colin Firth (although I guess I do really like Lawrence Olivier's performance too). Matthew McFayden just doesn't cut it for me. First off, he just isn't proud enough. He doesn't have the domineering look that Colin Firth gives off so well. And then, he always looks like his is going to cry, or that he is bored, I can't tell which but whatever it is, it isn't Mr. Darcy. Additionally, I just didn't feel like he changed, at least enough for me to see.
For Elizabeth, I feel like Keria Knightley might have done a good job if she had had a better script. As it was, I thought she was far too silly throughout. She acted more like Lydia than like Lizzy. Something I was really sad they left out and I think that if they had put it in would have made it far better was the close relationship between Lizzy and her father. That is, in my opinion, an integral part of the book and something that shouldn't be left out. Without it, you don't see as deeply into the two characters.
Jane and Bingley, I'll group them together. Jane was sillier and more outgoing than in the book, in other words, her character in this movie was uncharacteristic of what was in the book. Enough said. Bingley, was an idiot, period. I wouldn't have married the Bingley in this movie, I think I could have married the Bingley from the book.
Overall, you just can't make a good movie of Pride and Prejudice and rush it that much. Everything moved ridiculously fast so they could fit the whole story into two hours. It didn't work. When it comes down to it, why I really didn't like the movie was because it wasn't a movie of Pride and Prejudice, it was the romance story from Pride and Prejudice and then everything else taken out. That's not Pride and Prejudice. I don't love the book for its romance, I love the book because of the incredible insight Austen gives us into human nature as well as the witty and thought provoking lines imbedded throughout the book. Pride and Prejudice is not in my mind a romance novel, it is far more.
Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.