First, let me say that, although it was not as great as Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility or even the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the performances of Keira Knightley and company plus key moments, breathtaking cinematography and camera angles, make Pride and Prejudice a spectacular movie.
Knightley stars as the headstrong Elizabeth Bennett, with Talulah Riley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, and Carey Mulligan costarring as her sisters, Jane, Mary, Lydia, and Kitty, respectively. Their hilariously overbearing mother (played brilliantly by Brenda Blethlyn) wants nothing more for her five daughters to be married to respectible gentlemen. Their befuddled father (Donald Sutherland) would prefer otherwise, but he really has no say in the matter.
Enter Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, and the lives of the two eldest Bennett daughters (Jane and Elizabeth) are turned upside down.
For Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) and Jane, it’s love at first sight. Of course the matter of their varying financial status becomes an issue for Bingley’s bitchy sister/relatives and Mr. Darcy. But that’s only a minor plot element.
The real story (and why Pride and Prejudice is considered to be one of the greatest love stories) is between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). First she hates him for his apparent arrogance, then he realizes his love for her (in an amazing scene that takes place in a downpour nonetheless.) But she cannot marry him because he hurt her sister by separating from Jane from Bingley. Their love is a vicious circle; back and forth is goes, which is why it so captivating.
Pride and Prejudice is an excellent mix of humor, romance, bantor, plot, characters, and scenery to make any viewer laugh and smile. Not to mention that any picture that has 15 minutes of Dame Judi Dench screen time involved, makes it worth seeing. Expect Keira Knightley’s name to be mentioned during the award season for her portrayal of Elizabeth.
Updated October 7, 2010