Monday, July 14, 2008

Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice; Romance, France/ UK, 2005; D: Joe Wright, S: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfayden, Talulah Riley, Jena Malone, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Pike, Judi Dench

England, 19th century. Mr and Mrs. Bennet have five daughters - Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia - and live on a working farm, thus try to marry them as soon as possible. Mr. Bingley, a wealthy bachelor, moves into the neighborhood, whose also rich but cold friend Darcy treats Elizabeth as a bore. Mrs. Bennet is angry when she refuses to marry Mr. Collins, but her father is on her side. Even though Elizabeth is still angry at Darcy, he sends her a letter explaining that she should beware of Lieutenant Wickham who only courts girls to get their money. Just then Lydia runs away with Wickham, but Darcy is able to track them down and save their honor by paying for their marriage. Jane is proposed by Bingley and Elizabeth by Darcy.

Even though it was hailed and hyped, Joe Wright's "Pride and Prejudice" isn't the best adaptation of Jane Austen's novel with the same title. Austen's portray of characters, relationships, turmoils and mentality of the 19th century has some charm even in today's time, which is why the novel still serves as a good source for a screenplay, yet this movie melts them down by crafting the story in a dry and rather lifeless way. Keira Knightley, nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar, is probably the best ingredient in the film since she manages to give life to her heroine Elizabeth, and one of the few instances of real spark, where the authors managed to get it just right, is the scene where Darcy passes by the mass of people, including Elizabeth who bows, but then bursts into giggle just a few seconds later. But alas, such outbursts of freshness sadly remain absent for the most part of the film, especially since the overstretched running time takes a dimension of it away, reducing it's good emotional appeal.


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