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Pride & Prejudice


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Editorial Reviews

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Literary adaptations just don't get any better than director Joe Wright's 2005 version of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. The key word here is adaptation, because Wright and gifted screenwriter Deborah Moggach have taken liberties with Austen's classic novel that purists may find objectionable, but in this exquisite film their artistic decisions are entirely justified and exceptionally well executed. It's a more rural England that we see here, circa 1790 (as opposed to Austen's early 19th century), in which Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) is one of several sisters primed for marriage, with an anxious mother (Brenda Blethyn) only too desperate to see her daughters paired off with the finest, richest husbands available. Elizabeth is strong-willed and opinionated, but her head (not to mention her pride and prejudice) lead her heart astray when she meets the wealthy Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), whose own sense of decency and discretion (not to mention his pride and prejudice) prevent him from expressing his mutual affection. They're clearly meant for each other, and as Knightley's performance lights up the screen (still young enough to be girlishly impertinent, yet wise beyond her 20 years), Austen's timeless romance yields yet another timeless adaptation, easily on par with the beloved BBC miniseries that has been embraced by millions since originally broadcast in 1995. Individual tastes will vary as to which version should be considered "definitive," but with a stellar supporting cast including Judi Dench and Donald Sutherland, this impeccable production achieves its own kind of perfection. --Jeff Shannon

Product Details

  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,022 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JOHI

Customer Reviews

It's a great love story and very well acted!
JMSowell
I love how the movie ended because I really liked the book but when I read it, I thought that the only thing it lacked was, exactly, a kiss.
Pride and Prejudice Rules (The book and 2005 movie)
I am a huge Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice is one my favorite books. the movie is great I prefer this version better than the others.
monik a

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

379 of 407 people found the following review helpful By Megan Stoner on November 25, 2005
Format: Theatrical Release
When I heard that there was a new version of "Pride and Prejudice" to be made, I was far from pleased. In fact, I was fairly annoyed: A&E's version with Colin Firth has been a staple of my DVD collection for an incredibly long time, and I couldn't imagine anyone tampering with perfection. Why mess with genius?

Happily, I was wrong in my estimation of the movie. Perhaps it's only appropriate, given the subject matter: the whole story of "Pride and Prejudice" is wrapped up in wrong estimations of character, miscommunications, and partial understandings. The Focus Features version of "Pride and Prejudice" is more of a classic Romance, set earlier in period and filmed against more stunning backdrops than the A&E version: there were no grand cliffs or windswept heaths in that one, but they work here.

The performances are universally excellent: I was appropriately annoyed by Brenda Blethyn's ludicrously inappropriate Mrs. Bennet, and Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh is one of the most delicious strokes of casting genius...ever. Donald Sutherland as the bemused patriarch Mr. Bennet holds his own in a largely British cast, and was suitably affectionately distracted in his fatherly role. Simon Woods is amiable and open-faced as Mr. Bingley, and properly deserves Rosamund Pike's delicate Jane.

The movie belongs, however, to Matthew McFadyen and Keira Knightley, as it rightly should. The book, however involved its subplots, focused mainly on their sparring, and the film wisely excises a lot of the extraneous matter, tightening its focus and condensing some scenes. Matthew McFadyen is, possibly, an even better Mr.
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711 of 803 people found the following review helpful By Toomuchtimeonmyhands on January 11, 2006
Format: DVD
Okay, I am a rabid Frith and BBC fan of the miniseries, but I was very impressed with this adaption and found it refershing in it's grounded, youthful take on the story.

For starters, there is a very grounded nature to the presentation of the story. Some Austenites got their knickers into a twist because they thought it made the family and their circumstances too drab looking. But I loved it! The Meryton Assembly basically sets the stage for this grounded approach-the dancing looks a little heavy footed, the girls look sweaty, and you can't help but think that someone needs to open a window cause it looks awfully sweaty! But at the same time,it made the story come alive, like you were a fly on the wall, peeking in on Lizzy and Darcy and the rest of the gang.

Lastly, I loved the youthful take on the story. I LOVE Firth and Ehle as the '95 leads. They had this chemistry and sensual tension that was electric! But their take was definitely from a mature standpoint-like the way I'd act now as a 33 year old woman. Whereas Macfadyen and Knightley? Theirs is a more youthful, innocent, first love take that I just took to. Great chemistry, Lizzy's a little less cocksure, Darcy's a bit more unbalanced by this attraction, and it felt right in terms of age and stage of development with the actual characters in the book.

Great adaption, brisk storytelling, and a wonderfully irreverent tone by a fun director who knew it was a good idea to knock the pedestal off from under our Lizzy and Darcy, and let them be seen in a more grounded light. And ps-I thought Macfadyen, even though he doesn't have that big of a part, was a great Darcy!
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212 of 240 people found the following review helpful By Mercy Bell on November 23, 2005
Format: Theatrical Release
I saw an advanced screening of this film in Boston and was very pleased, it is intelligent in its handle of the material and its fluency in cinematic crafting. Goodbye to dusty, "precious" interpretations of Jane Austen. This cheeky, poetic, even dark new film makes the story youthful with down-to-earth vibrancy and worship of emotion. Here are young people making the mistakes and dreaming the dreams of the young (when it was written it wasn't antiquity, it was life). Lizzie is not a smirking omniscient but a quick witted independent; hotheaded and fiercely loyal to her sister. She is wary of an unfair world and uses her wits to survive. Darcy is not an impenetrable stoic but a shy sensitive soul with high unwieldy social pretensions fending off the outside world. And they are both lonely and have big yearning hearts, so the filmmakers made one great decision -- they let them fall in love the first moment they lock eyes. In a shot we see hearts behind fortified personalities and an instant chemistry that takes a movie's worth of battling with each other and themselves to right itself. It's an earthy move that sets the tone for a film about the people and world behind the antiquated manners, a world not so different from ours.

Now set in 1797, when Austen wrote the first draft of the book, the filmmakers committed to main plot points and themes, and astutely represent the Romantic Age and Austen's characters. The love between Jane and Lizzie is supreme and fuels a desire in Lizzie to tear at Darcy when he separates Jane from Mr. Bingley. She's hurt, she reciprocates the pain, and it is bitter. Pride and prejudices are drawn clearly: Lizzie searches hard to find fault with Darcy, and Darcy cannot bring himself to let down his guard.
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