Friday, November 4, 2011

Pride and Prejudice (2005) Review

Oh, where do I begin? How do I describe this movie? How do I compare it to the perfect-in-every way 1995 version? How do I express my delight in watching it, my indignance (is that a word?) in the changes that the audacious screenwriters made, my mixed feelings when it ended? How do I convey how much I love the music and scenery, and how frustrated I am that I can't find the gorgeous "Liz on Top of the World" on Mixpod to add to my playlist? How do I politely express that it was NOT my Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen may very well be rolling in her grave?

I'll just have to do my best.

So... Pride and Prejudice 2005, a.k.a. the Keira Knightley version, a.k.a. the Matthew Macfadyen version, a.k.a. The New One. I usually just refer to it as P&P 05. :)

I suppose I should really begin by apologizing for the number of pictures in this post. For all of you who have slow connections, I do hope it doesn't take too long to load!

I suppose I should begin with the first picture that appeared on my post. (I chose a grand and glorious lot of stills from Google Images, and then uploaded them, and Blogger randomly arranged them according to its own whimsical whimsy.) I should also warn you that, like my last P&P review, this post will be entirely subjective and may or may not offend fans of P&P05. I will be polite. I promise. But I will also be entirely truthful.

The above picture of the Meryton ball is a good capture of three characters. Snooty Miss Bingley, melancholy Mr. Darcy, goofy Mr. Bingley. Because Dr. Harrison's Simon Woods' version of Mr. Bingley WAS rather goofy. I got the impression that he didn't have very much rattling around in his head. And though Kelly Reilly's Miss Bingley was a real snob ("Oh for heaven's sake, are we to be invaded by every Bennet in the country?") she didn't capture the essence of the character the way Anna Chancellor did. But she was "handsome", as she is described in the novel. Win!

Arthur Clennam Matthew Macfadyen's portrayal of Mr. Darcy, though...

Okay, I have to say that my heart just melted at this scene in the rain. While it was a little strange that Mr. Darcy just popped out of nowhere as soon as Elizabeth took shelter under the columns (was he stalking her???) his "uncivil" proposal was pretty close to perfect. When she said, "I don't understand," and he shot back, "I love you"... well, my sentimental little heart went into raptures. The look on his face when she (vehemently) said "no" was not unlike a puppy out in the cold. This scene above all others made me like Mr. Darcy.

However, all that said, he really didn't insult her the way he was supposed to. In fact, he even apologized a couple of times before he said anything bad about her family. So her furious reaction was a bit unwarranted. "And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry." Um, he really wasn't being arrogant and conceited. Sure, he said she wasn't handsome enough to tempt him at the Meryton ball. He separated her sister and Bingley, and though that seemed unforgivable, it wasn't because of his "complete disdain for the feelings of others". It was because he really thought Bingley was making a mistake--and he had no idea how much Jane loved Bingley. (Here I go on another of my Defend Mr. Darcy rants again...)

But Mr. Darcy is supposed to be proud. True, he's not as bad as he appears to be (he does change, but we the readers also come to understand him better) but he IS supposed to be arrogant and cold. This Mr. Darcy just looked like somebody who had been left out of a game. He came across as shy and withdrawn, not haughtily reserved. Point in his favor: he DID smile a little more than Colin Firth did. But just a little. In short, Matthew Macfadyen is Arthur Clennam and Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy. And don't get me started on David Rintoul.

Lady Harriet Cumnor Rosamond Pike made a beautiful Jane Bennet. This time, the directors hit the nail on the head. Jane is supposed to be gentle, withdrawn and lovely. You could plainly see how she felt about Mr. Bingley, yet she didn't make a big show of her emotions. As Elizabeth tells Darcy, "My sister rarely even tells her true feelings to me!" Her reaction when Mr. Bingley asked her to marry him was so sweet--naturally Jane would cry when she was asked to marry the man she loved! "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes."

Isn't this part cute? Anne said she really liked Jane's hair in this movie--Susannah Harker in P&P95 "always looked like she stepped out of a box of curl papers". Well, I have to say that I thought the hairstyles rather inaccurate for the time period. Okay, maybe Jane's hair wasn't perfectly coiffed all the time, but Lizzy would NOT have been wandering around out in public with her hair down. Ladies just didn't do that. It was considered immodest once a woman was grown up.Hmm. This picture brings me to my next point. I really, really didn't care for Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet. I know she's pretty. I know she has "fine eyes". And yes, her hair is beautiful (even though it shouldn't have been so flyaway). But frankly, all I could like about her was her looks. She was too bold and forward for Lizzy. Lizzy is spirited, yes, but she's not disrespectful. I mean, does it seriously fit with her character to shout at her family "For once in your life, leave me alone!"? Nuh-uh. Yes, she showed a bit of Elizabeth's outdoorsy personality (I really loved "Liz on Top of the World", as I told you) but her mannerisms and expressions and sitting on a swing in the barnyard, barefoot (?) were just completely out of character. Sorry, Keira fans.

Now about the rest of the Bennet family... Donald Sutherland was the most blah Mr. Bennet I've ever seen. (Wow, I'm being ruthless here.) His saving grace was that one scene at the Netherfield ball, when he's comforting poor embarrassed Mary in the hall. I really liked that--it showed Mr. Bennet's loving, fatherly side. The 1995 version focuses more on his wit and sardonic remarks.

Brenda Blethyn played Mrs. Bennet far too sympathetically. As I said in my P&P95 post, Mrs. Bennet isn't supposed to be sympathetic. I liked the character she played, but it wasn't Mrs. Bennet. Mary was okay--kind of dull, but that's the way she's supposed to be. I was disappointed they left out a lot of her pompous remarks, but hey, time constraints.

Oh, and a total aside--this picture really makes me laugh. Mrs. Bennet's goofy grin, Mr. Bennet's Jiggy Nye-ish expression, Mary's boredom and Elizabeth's mischievous grin are just funny. And the camera angle makes this shot look like something out of Gulliver's Travels--Mr. Darcy appears to be a giant in the midst of Lilliputians.

Ada Clare Carey Mulligan made a sweet Kitty, but she was way too silly for my taste. I know Kitty is supposed to be silly. But in that one scene at the Netherfield ball where she and Lydia are holding wine glasses and laughing uproariously... um, that was the way she behaved throughout the entire movie. Giggle. Snort. Giggle. Either Kitty was supposed to be perpetually drunk, or she was just an idiot. I'm leaning towards the second. But Kitty IS supposed to be an idiot. So I guess I liked this interpretation of her. Sort of.

Jena Malone made a good Lydia. She was definitely younger than Julia Sawalha, and she looked more like a boy-crazy teenager. Rupert Friend as Mr. Wickham also played the role of slimeball-pretending-to-be-charming quite nicely. I disliked Adrian Lukis' Wickham from the very beginning, but Rupert Friend's Wickham seemed trustworthy at first. I liked the cute little scene in the ribbon shop, even if it wasn't in the book.

Speaking of cute scenes, I really liked the part where Darcy and Bingley are rehearsing Bingley's proposal to Jane. It really helped develop how Mr. Darcy's character had changed, and how he and Bingley get along together. Delightful!

Osborne Hamley Tom Hollander played Mr. Collins rather well, I thought. "It's been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable." :) He was quite different from the Mr. Collins of '95, but then again Jane Austen didn't really write Mr. Collins as an oily character. He's supposed to be pompous, dry and dull, but not slimy. So this Mr. Collins was a little more true to the book (except for his height, right Melody?)--however, I was disappointed that we didn't see more of him. Mr. Bennet's "and I will never see you again if you DO" wasn't really justified, IMHO, because we really didn't have any reason to hate Mr. Collins. Sure, he was boring, but he wasn't awful. You could understand Charlotte's agreeing to marry him.

This brings me to another thing I really liked. Charlotte's explanation of why she was going to marry Mr. Collins was extremely well done. Instead of sitting there thinking, "Has she gone off her rocker?" I was nodding and, though feeling sorry for poor Charlotte, understanding why she accepted his proposal. He really was her only chance at a comfortable home, and she was tired of being a burden to her parents. At twenty-seven, she was past her bloom (hmm, isn't that reminiscent of another Jane Austen heroine?)

Georgiana Darcy was too bubbly, I felt. Plus, she looked about 13 years old, when she is supposed to be 16. Georgiana is supposed to be so quiet and shy... Tamsin Merchant didn't do half as good a job as Emilia Fox in '95. (I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I'll stop comparing, I really will!) All in all, I was disappointed in Georgiana. I did, however, like her rapport with Darcy, even if it wasn't quite in character. You really got the feeling that they were a close brother and sister. I liked their little exchange about the piano. "My brother gave [the piano] to me. He shouldn't have."
"Yes, I should've."
"Oh, very well then."
"Easily persuaded, is she not?"

Oh, and the "knight in shining pajamas" scene, as Alexandra dubs it, was just... weird. Sorry, hopeless romantics. I really am one of your kind. But this wasn't really romantic, it was just silly. "Your hands are cold." Also, the scene at the end.... ick. My friend's younger brother refers to it as "the scary part", and I'm inclined to agree with him. Too much kissing! "Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy." Um. Wow. That's so... epic. Far better than, "dearest, loveliest Elizabeth," undoubtedly.

Sorry. *snaps out of sarcasm mode* I really did like this movie. It was a great film. No, I mean that. It was fun to watch, and the story moved at a good pace. Visually it was stunning. The cinematography was amazing, as was the music.

But it really wasn't Pride and Prejudice. It just wasn't. It wasn't my Pride and Prejudice. P&P is my favorite Jane Austen book, and this movie didn't do it justice. I think the real problem is that they tried to modernize it and make it appealing to today's viewers. And in doing so, they missed the point of P&P. The reason Jane Austen was such a brilliant writer--nay, a genius--was that she captured human nature. She wrote about people and how they related to one another. Times and fashions and language and societies change, but people do not. Any person, no matter what era they live in, can relate to Jane Austen's amazing characters. So when a filmmaker tries to "update" a classic story and change things around in order to please shallow moviegoers, that filmmaker has made a mistake. (Oops, here I go into one of my rants about how modern films are being watered down for viewers spoiled by too much TV...)

Really, I can't help thinking that at any moment someone is going to produce a piglet, and we'll all have to chase it.


Ella said...

I lvoe this movie,exepct for the statue scene.
I haven't read P&P so I don't know how to compair the book to the movie.
I do hope to read the book soon.

Julia Rogers said...

You are SOOOOO right, nice movie....NOT P&P!!!!!!! I agreed with just about everything you said, every quibble you had with it i said YEP!!!!! : ) Except i dont mind lots of romance, (or whatever the general word -term is for it, i thought it was cute.....but NOT P&P!!!! )
And that quote about "knight-in shining-pajamas" was classic!! That was SOOOOO uncharacteristic to run around in your night clothes and shout and be so bold and run around in the rain ETC... anyway
all that to say i agree with you! : )
God Bless!!

Hayden said...

Ok, really....I'm pretty sure we share a brain now. :D My family and I recently watched this version and I literally agree with you on EVERYTHING, from Keira Knightley's hair (I do admit though I thought wearing it down was highly inappropriate for the time, her hair at the ball was stunning!)to Mr. Darcy's proposal in the rain right down to Mr. Bingley's practice proposing! I'm planning on doing reviews of the two "good" versions ('05 and '95) myself, and you have done an extraordinary job on your reviews! I am very happy now :)

Miss Dashwood said...

The book is amazing. You will love it. It's as if Jane Austen took the 1995 movie and put it down on paper.
Oh, wait.
Never mind.
Um, anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, you said you didn't like the statue scene. Do you mean the part where Lizzy is looking at the statue of Mr. Darcy, or the part right after that when she's watching Mr. Darcy and Georgiana through the door?

Miss Dashwood said...

(I wrote that previous comment, to Ella, before I'd published Julia's and Hayden's, so now I'll reply to them.)
Julia, I can't take credit for the knight in shining pajamas--that bit of ingenuity belongs to Alexandra's brothers, but I loved it and so I stole it. But I did cite her as a primary source, so she can't sue me.
I do have to point out that Lizzy-of-the-book DID run around outside a lot. Ok, maybe "run around" isn't the best expression, but she liked taking walks and her petticoat was "six inches deep in mud" at one point. :) So that part was all right. I just didn't like her attitude or mannerisms, or even at times her way of talking.

Hmm, I wonder if I've found my long-lost twin sister? Oh, no, you're actually ten months older than me, so that's impossible. But anyway, I'm so glad you liked the review! I'm hoping I don't offend any die-hard P&P05 fans though...
I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed the costumes, and Lizzy's hair at the ball was indeed stunning. The styles weren't Regency, but that's forgivable because they were trying to set the movie in the time period Jane Austen wrote it in. (Odd sentence.)

beast'sbelle said...

Excellent review! :) I'm another die-hard 1995 Pride and Prejudice fan. I saw the movie first (gasp!) and then read the book. I was amazed by how accurately they portrayed the book in that version.

I had a nice rant session of my own after I saw the 2005 version. I wasn't a blogger at the time, so it was just a verbal rant to my mom. ;)

I remember begging my friend, who hadn't seen the 1995 version yet, to wait to see the 2005 version until she'd seen the "right" version first. ;)

I noticed a lot of the same things you did. One of the things that really bothered me was watching the special features and hearing Brenda Blethyn refer to Mrs. Bennet as this heroic type character. What?!? Where did she get THAT from?

I could make this comment really long...but you've summarized things so nicely in your post that I'll restrain myself. :}

Thanks again for the review. It's nice to know there are others out there like me, who much prefer the virtues of the 1995 version. :)

Ella said...

Miss Dashwood-I meant the scene where Lizzy looks at the nude statues at Mr.Darcy's house.

Miss Dashwood said...

How delightful to hear from you! I've seen your comments on Ribbons of Light and your blog looks like so much fun. It's so nice to meet someone else who isn't too old for American Girl. :)
And yes, the virtues of the 1995 version far outweigh the good things about the 2005 version. :P

Oh, yes, now I remember. That part was quite unnecessary. The statue of Mr. Darcy was an amazing likeness though. Although I thought it was kind of weird that he had a statue of himself in his "art gallery". It was much more believable in the 1995 version, where Elizabeth was looking at the painting of him.

Jemimah C. said...

Well written post, Miss Dashwood. I enjoy reading people's views on Pride and Prejudice 1995 and 2005. Now how do I begin this comment? I'll go over your post and comment on whatever I want to comment about.

First of all, I have no idea which Pride and Prejudice I prefer better. I love the music and cinematography of 2005. However, I found the 2005 movie to be...rather inaccurate to the book. They did take out many parts, which 1995 kept. After all, 2005 was just a normal feature film, while 1995 was a mini-series. (Sorry if I'm using only the dates.) As for the characters...well, that another different thing. I liked both the 1995 and 2005 Mr. Bingley. They were essentially similar to each other. As for Miss Bingley, I think I prefer the 2005 one. As for Mr. Darcy--Colin Firth will always, always be Mr. Darcy. He owns the role. Enough said. Rosamond Pike made a lovely Jane. Her role was cast perfectly. As for Lizzy, I think both Jennifer Ehle and Keira Knightley portrayed her well. Yes, I agree--Keira was a bit too wild. Her looks, though, are what I'd imagine Lizzy to have. Unfortunately, I cannot imagine Keira and Colin Firth together as Mr. Darcy and Lizzy. So I'll keep both of them in their respective films. And I agree with you also when it comes to Georgiana. I think I like Emilia Fox better as well. But I love her theme song in 2005. And now for the last part...the first time I watch P&P 2005, I saw the British version (which was lent by a friend) where they took out the somewhat disgusting and "scary,"--as your friend's brother termed it--"Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy..." part. I didn't even know there was such a thing until later. Then my family bought a DVD of it that had both the international (or American) and British versions. The British version omits that certain scene. We did try the intl./American version. I never got to enjoy it. I hate that scene! But in my opinion, Pride and Prejudice 1995 was a good film...but it did not give enough justice to the book. True. That's why I prefer reading books.

Melody said...

Hahahaha, as I was reading your post, the "right, Melody?" made me laugh out loud.
Well, almost out loud. Some family members are in bed and so I couldn't do it loudly.
Anyways; yes, right. Too short. But then so was David Bamber...but seriously, the Osborne guy was way too short.

I just loved how you did the character names and then crossed them out. =D Only I'm surprised I didn't see a Miss Matty (crossed out) Judi Dench! I guess that's just 'cause sweet Miss Matty could never play anyone like Lady Catherine!

I confess that I haven't actually seen this whole movie. But then it wasn't really up to me. So I have an excuse. ;-) But what I did see, was way to modern, and NOT P&P. I'd (thankfully!) seen the 1995 version first, and I remember thinking how boring Mr and Mrs Bennet...and well, practically everyone, was in comparison.

I actually started watching this last month (first 15 mins. or so) and I was thinking, that so-called-Lizzy (oh wait! They spelled it wrong...Lizzie) is way too giggly. She may love a laugh, but she doesn't giggle like Kitty and Lydia! HA!

Well, to sum up this movie in 2 words: inaccurate and modern.
They even had the wrong time era - like 1790s. They made the Bennets seem poor, actually poor! And that is NOT the way it is! Whoever wrote the script apparently didn't understand the social class system. The definition of (slightly jokingly) "poor" in the gentry is much different.

Longer comment than I meant to make. As usual. I'll stop before I can write any more...

One more thing: the statues. Well, I never got to that part. Not only was the painting better in the 1995 version, it was better in the book. The book! The book is great! The book is grand! Read the book! Please, movie makers! Have a good opinion of Jane Austen and try, at least TRY to do her justice. Don't change it. It's good. It's really good.

Melody said...

P.S. I laughed SO much during this post.


Alexandra said...

I'll have to tell my brothers...that knight in shining pajamas term is becoming famous in the costume-drama-blogging-circles. :-D

I agree with you totally on everything! The first time I saw this I actually preferred it to the '95, but that was only because i hadn't seen the '95 in years. After that was remedied, my opinion was...quite the opposite. :-)

While I'm not a radical Colin Firth = Darcy worshipper (he's one of my top favorite actors, but it's because he's a fantastic actor, *not* because he's Darcy :-P), he nailed Darcy the way Anthony Andrews nailed Sir Percy. Matthew, as I said in my own '05 review, was too much of a "shy-that-comes-across-as-proud-until-you-get-to-know-him" kind of character. He's a good actor and I enjoyed him, but not as Darcy.

I totally agree about Kiera and Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet (She actually came across as a silly-but good-hearted mother in the '05 one) and...basically everyone. :-) I have to say I adored the '05 Lydia casting. She actually looks 15, and when I saw it I was just like, whoa!!! She's so silly and YOUNG! Which, I guess, that part had never quite hit me. I love the '95 Lydia, don't get me wrong, but since she didn't quite look 15, that whole bit had never really "clicked" until I saw Jenna Malone's Lydia.

I am torn. The cinemaphotography and soundtrack are GORGEOUS. And I don't vehemently *hate* this just...doesn't really *seem* like Jane Austen to me. Or even Pride and Prejudice. If you were to totally forget the fact that it's supposed to be Darcy and Lizzie and P&P, I could tolerate or even maybe slightly enjoy it. But it just ain't Pride and Prejudice.

WONDERFUL review. :-)

Abby said...

I agree with you on so many points! But since I'm re-watching this version at the moment, and have a post planned for it quite soon...I won't post all my ideas here. But I definitely agree that while it is a lovely film in some ways, it just isn't P&P for me.

Some characters I thought were done well: Jane, the younger Bennet sisters, Wickham, Lizzy (in some ways, not so in others) and also Bingley - although he was perhaps a little too goofy, I still really enjoyed his character :') Mr Darcy...ugh, don't get me started! Just so not Mr Darcy. Shy and awkward, rather than proud, for starters!

I really do like some scenes - the first assembly and the ball I really enjoyed - but while they are lovely and fun to watch, they're not P&P for me. That's what it really comes down to! I find it hard to connect the book and this version together.

So much for a short comment!


Melody said...


Much earlier this year I did a post about all 4 versions of P&P, and at the end had a poll for the best one. At the time P&P95 won by around 75%; since then it seems I have had a few non-members float in and vote. Perhaps you would wish to show your support and vote for your favorite! hehehe
Here's the link:

Your fellow Janeite,

Miss Dashwood said...

I dealt with Judi Dench's Lady Catherine in the other post (I will brook no argument!) so I didn't think it necessary to mention it again. Plus I was afraid this post was getting too long (have you ever noticed that I can be a little bit wordy?)
Oh, and the Bennets were definitely way too poor. I mean, seriously? A PIG walking through their house??

I have no idea why Blogger keeps spamming your comments, but it does and I have to keep rescuing them from my spam bin. Sigh.
You're right--Jena Malone's Lydia was so seriously young, it kinda made me sit back and think, "Wow, Lydia was actually younger than I am when she ran away with Wickham!" Talk about a horrifying thought. Julia Sawalha seemed childish and immature but not THAT young. So yeah, Jena Malone portrayed the character well, but I still think I prefer Julia S's version because she was funnier.
Though I did laugh very hard at Jena M's "have you seen my ring?" thing. (Sorry, I abbreviate names when I'm typing ALL THE TIME.)

Somehow, Bingley in this version just didn't cut it for me. I found it odd that he would come into Jane's room when she was sick to see how she was (highly inappropriate and shocking for those times!) and his hairdo was just ugly. And his little snorty-laugh in the accomplished woman scene was too... uncouth. Anyway, that's just my opinion.
But yes, Jane was very well done and I liked her exceedingly. And you're totally right--I just can't bring myself to connect the book and this version. It's good, but it's not P&P.

Miss Dashwood said...

I do love Georgiana's theme song! The music was spectacular in this production--though it was very beautiful in 1995, it wasn't quite as "wow" as 2005. And I wish we had seen the British/int'l version--that ending scene was completely unnecessary and kind of stupid. :)

Rissi said...

LOVE this version of "P&P." It is beautiful and pretty to look at; the acting isn't half bad and grows on the viewer every time it is watched and best of all, filmmakers did a superb job with a two-hour time slot.

An Old-Fashioned Girl said...

An Old Fashioned Girl
Dear Miss Dashwood,
Ha,ha! I love that line about somebody producing a piglet! That just says it all! And I agree with you: this is not P&P.

Lauren said...

Ok, I'll just have to admit it! I think this is the best movie ever.

Sorry Jane Austen fans! I am still one of you, but the 1995 version doesn't do a thing for me. I think the characters are so perfect in this version, the scenery is breathtaking, and the music is lovely, the cinematography is BEAUTIFUL!

I will admit that it isn't completely historicity correct, but I put books and movies in separate categories. I think movies should have a little 'modernising' and I don't like movies that are too long, they need to be watched in less then three hours.

However the end scene (which is in the deleted scenes on our DVD) is waaaaaay to overboard. I can't stand that much romance!

Sorry, I am being quiet disagreeable (I only just recently followed this blog) but I have read a few different reviews on this movie, and I really just wanted to defend it.

I did find this review a lot kinder then some others, but I appreciate you being honest, and no too biest.

Oh, I really do love your blog, and an Anne week is so exciting. You will probably hear from me again soon ( :

From Lauren

Lauren said...

I forgot to mention that I never liked the character of Georgina in 2005 P&P. I completely agree with you on that aspect. I hope I wasn't to mean on the first comment. I really truly didn't mean to be offensive if I was!

Charity U said...

I'm just writing up my review of this movie, which I just watched for the second time. Having read yours (which mine almost rivals in length), I think we agree on a lot of things, though not all. I too (as you may know) am a huge fan on the '95 version. I look forward to hearing what you think of my review! And I'm devotion an entire post to contrasting the characters from the two...should be fun. :)

Oh, if you reply to this, can you leave your comment on my blog? I know you follow, and I'm not here real regularly (yet! I'm working on that, have to get this blog permitted), but if you reply, I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you. I'd be missing it, so.

Melody said...

Wait... you have Defend Mr. Darcy rants, Miss Dashwood???? I didn't know. I guess that's because no-one needs to defend Mr. Darcy to me, hahaha.

The Mad Elvish Poet said...

*sigh* I shall never understand why people prefer the long, '95 version. I didn't like any of the women in it. And Colin Firth...he just looked too sweet, if you take my meaning. He was *supposed* to look cold and remote and haughty, and he just looked...stupid. *ducks rotten tomatoes*
I'll admit that this one wasn't as true to the book (especially regarding Georgiana) but, you have to admit, the proposal in the rain was much more romantic than the drawing room scene. And the "And I love...I love...I love you." Oh! I melted.

Holly said...

YES YES YES!!!!!!! This is so perfectly true!! I believed EVERYTHING you said about it...great movie with music, acting and cinematography, but SO wrong as a Jane Austen film!!
Love this so much...thank you a thousand times!!!!!!!!! : )

Mal said...

I'm totally with you on the "your hands are cold" part.... Seriously??? What kind of response is that? Haha I've never noticed how stalker-ish Mr. Darcy is in showing up by the columns right after her!

You've inspired me to go put the 95 version on the top of our Netflix list :)

-mal :)

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I love your sense of humor! If someone can make me laugh by simply writing, they've done well. Thank you very much for this review; it's very good. I agree with you. It's a great film, but definitely not P&P. I prefer everything about the 1995 version except for two things: Wickham and Mr. Collins :P I like 2005's portrayals of them better. So on that we agree also. And although I do like Keira Knightley, I believe she has her place...P&P isn't it. She's not Lizzy. And I believe I could enjoy the film even more if someone else had portrayed her. And I do love Matthew Macfadyen, but I agree that he wasn't haughty enough. I couldn't sympathize with Elizabeth...I felt sorry for him. (I love his Arthur Clennam...perfection!)
Thanks again for the review! It's great!

klgazo said...

I found this blog a couple weeks ago, and let me just say - I love it! Thanks so much, Miss Dashwood. :)

I've kept thinking about this review and this movie, and although what I'm about to say might be very similar to what others have said before me - I must have my share of the conversation!

Being essentially raised on the 1995 P&P, my family was naturally hesitant when the "new Pride and Prejudice," or "2-hour version" (said with disgust), came out. I didn't even see it until 2008 or 2009, I was so unenthusiastic about it. And after I saw it once and was left with an opinion neither here nor there, I mostly forgot about it.

Last summer I was determined to watch it again. The year before I had to read the book for school, and realized even more what a true masterpiece 95 is. I needed to compare.

This time, I did have an opinion - but it was very mixed. The story was delightful, what the actresses and actors did with their characters was creative and rather refreshing - but having "Pride and Prejudice" as the title, to me, seemed sacrilegious. It was not Pride and Prejudice, but loosely based on the story - take a family with 5 daughters (two of which are sensible) and a crazy mother, add in a couple rich guys and their families - and that's about where the similarities stop.

The main and very general storyline is the same, but the minor details are completely botched. For example, in the rain scene when Darcy first proposes (which some of my friends have raved to me about being so sweet and romantic), there's a moment when Lizzie looks at Darcy, and it almost turns into a kiss. NO! She still hates him for hurting her sister, still hates him for what he did for Wickham. Would she then kiss him? Any woman of integrity would never kiss a man of whom she thought so low, and that would apply to Lizzie as well. I dislike the scene because it comes too close to destroying Lizzie's constancy of character.

But...I still love this movie. Why, after completely ranting at it's horridness in the last paragraph?

Because it's still a good story. I've watched it many times, trying to convince myself of its merits. Yes, it does not keep to the book, yes, some things are not well done because there wasn't time, and yes, some good scenes are destroyed.

But if you forget the book, forget that you've seen and loved the 1995 version, do not require it to stick to the book, and allow a little modernization - you'll find yourself pleased. Bingley in particular just makes me laugh - and the scene by the pond when he's practicing his proposal is especially sweet (as Miss Dashwood said; I concur).

Just keep in mind: this isn't period drama. It's just a modern reflection - but a good one at that.

Katrina (:
Jeremiah 29:11

Lela Gary said...

Somewhat late, but as I browsed Reviews and came to yours, I want to say, yu are right on many things on the 2005 Pride & Prejudice movie, except two.
The movie in its entirety, director and screenwriter/writer totally misinterpreted the whole, however pleasant film they finally produced. From silly to annoying to flashes of beauty, it should not be called P&P.
And you, dear Ms Dashwood, should not apologize constantly about your criticism, and especially when it is quite right.

Janesadvocate said...

Just found your blog,perusing Sense and Sensibility quotes,and find I have to comment on your review. I am an absolute fiend when it comes to the Kiera Knightly version: I have purchased it 3 times and 2 copies went to yard sales, I keep hoping for some redemption as many laud this piece of butchery. I will say that one of it's fans is a film prof at USC School of Cinematic Arts, quite a feather!!But the costumes, I'm sorry,tight basques with dropped waists and layered skirts. The interiors, wainscoting with painted panels. The hairstyles, but you know about that already. The Bennetts are gentry, they don't have pigs near their home, let alone in it. Elizabeth loves to laugh,but doesn't snicker constantly and she isn't a mouth-breather.The Elizabeth at the top of the world shot was right out of the 1995 version, where it was not quite so heavy-handed,
I could go on, but I'm much too upset, contemplating yet another yard sale

Miss Elliot said...

Alas, I fear I am outnumbered here. P&P'05 is one of our Family Favorites. We like to compare it to champagne: not very accurate but so light and sparkling that it is a delight. Also, we like that it is only a little under two hours instead of six hours long. So I think the two movies shouldn't be compared- one (the 95 version) was tring to be period correct and true to the story (and is one of the best movies ever) and the 05 version is just taking the idea of the story and making something totally different out of it (and it is also one of the best movies ever).
P.S. We also like (oh dear, waaay too long) the fact that in the 05 version, there are not sooo many low-cut dresses (there are some, but they get liitle screen time) as in the 95 version- Jennifer Ehle's Lizzy (though the only true book-Lizzy to me) was continually wearing very low-cut gowns. So much so that the running joke between me & my mother is the part where Jane is sick in bed at Netherfield and Lizzy is getting ready to go downstairs and she says, "There. Shall I disgrace you?" We always laugh there and say, "Yes, dear Lizzy." But.. whatever.

Anita GM said...

I like this!

I am agree with you in a lot of points. And in the rest you are iluminateing me.

Don't think bad about me!
I love the 95, and for resume my ideas of the PP05 i say that only shows romanticism, and a love story.

It so no Austen!


Desislava Bancheva said...

I love this movie-I watching it so many times. My favorite scene is the "rainy scene" when Darcy said"You bewitched me-body and soul and i love. love, love you".

Sophia Cook said...

I agree the movie is well filmed and acted. And I actually love Keira Knightley's interpretation (except for the yelling which is out of character).

But I CRINGED and GROANED in three places:
1) Bingley entering Jane's bedroom (COMPLETELY UNBELIEVABLE);
2) Elizabeth walking about the Collins' house in pajamas and Mr Darcy walking in their front door at night without knocking (PUHLEEZE).
and 3) the most preposterous moment--Lady Catherine coming to the Bennetts house at night and the entire family answering the door in their pajamas. COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!

For me, it is just hard to overcome this incredible behavior enough to take this movie seriously. In spite of Macfadyen's perfect performance.

jessica prescott said...

Personally, I have to say I really, really liked Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett. You see, the impression of Lizzy I get from reading the novel is a girl who--despite her affectionate heart and good principles--is also headstrong, hot-tempered, and outspoken. And that's how Keira portrayed her. I agree with you that she WAS sometimes a little TOO outspoken and rude, but Jennifer Ehle wasn't really outspoken and rude at all. So I had a hard time connecting with her version of Elizabeth, because all the time I was like, "Something is missing. This girl is just too serene and mature." That's not to say I didn't like Jennifer Ehle's character, as a character--I did, very much. She just wasn't Lizzy Bennett to me.
Matthew Macfadyen's Mr. Darcy was quite good, I thought, but definitely not as good as Colin Firth--he was a bit too shy and sensitive. I think Mr. Darcy is actually a LITTLE shy, deep down inside, but it shouldn't be so obvious. I really loved his first proposal, though--"I don't understand." "I LOVE YOU." "Oh." Yeah.

BlueDorrit said...

Your review just made my day. I've been trying to convince people for years that this is just not P&P.
There aren't enough words to express how dissappointed I was when I saw that proposal scene. Matthew Macfadyen is a failure, Keira Knightley is a bigger failure. They just sound like Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann arguing most of the time. And apparantly, that's what Keira Knightley does best, arguing loundly with her proper Englist accent and looking like she wants to be kissed.
I re-watched the movie after a few years but these two still confuse me.
It's a mystery to me why this movie has such high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Could be the critics were expecting a disaster but it turned out not so bad after all.

The Rush Blog said...

The 2005 version of "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" is a movie. The 1995 version is a television miniseries. It is only natural that the 1995 had the running time available to be more detailed. Yet, not even that version was completely faithful. To compare the two versions strikes me as irrelevant, due to the different formats for each production.

By the way, the costumes featured in the 2005 version is a lot more faithful than the 1995 or 1980 versions. "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" was written and set around the end of the 1790s, despite being published in 1813. Its setting is more accurate to the novel. Does this make it a better version? No. But it certainly wasn't horrible.

I have only seen four versions of Austen's novel - 1940, 1980, 1995 and 2005. And to be honest, I prefer all four versions. Yes, I feel that the 1995 version is my favorite. But I still like the other versions very much.

Shoibonti Chatterji said...

All points are valid. Also I feel that the leads were a little confused and awkward. Mr. Bingley was shown to be a little idiotic at times and similarly Jane. There were extra laughs for no apparent reason. Mr. Darcy was not as strong.

Rachel Owen said...


Nice blog, thank you so much for this great review. You’re so right to say that it was a nice movie. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t really compare the two. The cast was great and I think Keira Knightley interprets her character very well. Loved it!