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on October 15, 2016
This production of Pride and Prejudice is simply brilliant. The scenery, costumes, musical score, camerawork, casting – the actors live their parts and I am now spoiled because I cannot imagine the characters being played by any others. I would guess that many of the actors in the film would consider this their best work. Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn portrayals of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet stand out as my favorite supporting performances. The major scenes that Donald Sutherland shares with Keira Knightley [Elizabeth Bennet] are quite warm and felt true to how a doting father would be with his favorite daughter. Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy paired with Keira Knightley’s Lizzie is so intensely perfect and beautiful; the two bring such a freshness to the classic characters. I think this is one of those films that no matter how many times I see it, which is least ten times as I do watch it every year, I never feel like I’m “watching a movie.” I get lost in it so much so that I can feel the air, smell the grass or hear my heart pound when I imagine dancing at the ball or experience the grandeur when walking through Pemberley for the first time. I sense that most of the magic in this film due to Joe Wright’s flawless directing. Thank you Mr. Wright, you have made a gem.
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on February 12, 2015
When I saw the trailer for this movie I was both excited and disappointed: I hadn't heard any rumors about a new P and P film, so I was thrilled. This is my favorite book. I loved the A and E version, but was eager to see a new take. But, I had never been a Kiera Knightly fan. I don't know why. Maybe I was just jealous of someone that damned pretty. But it occurred to me that this would be the first film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice employing an actress who was actually the right age. Because the elder Miss Bennets are so self-possessed, we don't balk at far more mature actresses playing the roles. But here was an actual 20-year-old playing Lizzie!

Other reviewers have said much of what I would say. The scenery is lush and the score is lovely. Purists and prudes will quibble that Mr. and Mrs. Hurst are left out entirely, and that there is a chaste post-wedding kissing scene at the end (past the point where Austen herself ended the story.) Some scenes take place out of doors, which I found incredibly refreshing. In the book and the previous movies, almost all scenes are indoors. This gives the movie a less claustrophobic feel.

The costumes and sets are just beautiful. Lizzie wears the same few dresses over and over, as she undoubtedly would have done. Hems are muddy, yes, and not only in the scene where she arrives to visit indisposed Jane at Netherfield. There are almost no bonnets in this movie. The dresses of the Miss Bennets and other country girls are flatteringly high waisted, while Miss Bingley,'s London fashions are more extreme and therefore less flattering but more elegant, and the older ladies like Mrs. Bennet still cleave to earlier styles with more of a bodice. These little touches are subtle but thoughtful. Longbourne is delightful, entirely surrounded by a small moat. There are chickens and geese, cows and pigs around, and a lovely dog or two wandering through the house.

The cinematography is stunning. Camera shots are sometimes just one very long single shot lasting many minutes and covering a lot of movement and human interactions.

And Kiera Knightly? Absolutely perfect. You may think that she is too pretty to play Lizzie, but then you have to realize that in 1797 she would have been thought too thin and boyish for ideal beauty. Rosamund Pike makes a perfect, pleasing Jane. Matthew Mcfaddyen is a new gold standard for Darcy. The scene in the rainstorm when he first proposes to Lizzie is dazzling.

This is a movie I will happily watch again and again.
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on November 23, 2015
This is an ADAPTATION, not a 5 hour tour of Austen's wonderful novel. And what a wonderful adaptation it is. I was never a great fan of the BBC version, although I have seen it several times and agree that Colin Firth was an outstanding Darcy. Ehle, however, got on my nerves. She was too old for the part (as was Firth) and her unrelentingly cheerful version of Lizzy never showed the true depth of the complex character Austen intended her to be. That may be because the producers chose to focus on the sex appeal of Firth, rather than the character development of Lizzy.
I have heard all the complaints and grumbling expressed by critics of Wright's film. The left out speeches, gloomy Darcy and muddy hems. I will admit that some of the dialogue Joe Wright slashed would have served to flesh out Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship. But, once again, the movie is BASED on Austen's novel and it would be impossible to make a two hour movie out of a book that consists almost exclusively of dialogue. In spite of the omissions, the essentials of the central story and characters remain the same.
Wright's determination to cast actors that were the same age as the characters in the novel, brought home the relization that this is a story of first love between two people from radically different worlds. Macfayden's decision to portray Darcy as shy, insecure and awkward is flawless and an accurate interpretation. This is a young man, raised in an isolated environment who's been handed enormous responsibilities while very young. He's made a major mistake with his sister that almost resulted in complete disaster. Arrogance and pride have become his armor and defense against the uncertainty of the world. Darcy has fallen back on his determination to do what is expected of him at all costs. His world is narrow and small, but it is a safe place, and he understands the rules.
Knightly's version of Lizzy is a believable representation of a very young, untried woman with more confidence in herself and her abilities than is justified by her education and upbringing. I know that is sacrilege for most Austen fans, but Austen was a great observer of human nature, and as clever and sparkling as her Lizzy is, she is not the perfect character some readers make her out to be. Knightly shows just how vulnerable her closely held belief in her own powers of human observation make her. Lizzy is smart and witty, but her ability to dismiss reality and see people as she wishes them to be lead her to make poor decisions.
A common criticism of this version of P&P is the lack of character development of the two leads. I disagree. Knightly recognizes that she is not quite a clever as she thinks and that her version of reality is flawed. More importantly, she learns that she doesn't always understand people and their motives and how just how dangerous it is to judge people's characters based on first impressions. Macfayden's Darcy learns to let go of the expectations of family and pride of place. His love for Lizzy goes against all he has been raised to believe, and moves him beyond the wall of stricture and rigidity where he has found safety, and out into the world where human foibles are accepted and he is free to be himself. In the end, Lizzy and Darcy smooth out the sharp edges of each other's personalities and both become wiser. This is a subtle film and must be seen more than once to appreciate the performances of all the actor's interpretation of Austen's characters. Macfayden has the ability to convey emotion and vulnerability with a simple glance. The importance of every encounter with Lizzy is revealed through small, but significant gestures. The viewer is rewarded with the pleasure of watching the slow unwinding of the upright and tightly structured Darcy as he recognizes his flaws and let's go of his narrow view of life.
This is a beautiful movie. The composition of simple chores like the closing of Netherfield are gorgeously done. The countryside is stunningly beautiful and Wright uses his camera to great effect. Scenes often overlap with dialogue and movement that place the viewer inside the action. I have seen the movie several times, and find something new and refreshing with every viewing.
I would recommend this film to both fans of the novel and those unfamiliar with the book. It's a wonderful introduction to Austen and hopefully, will move viewers to further exploration of her novels. As to the purist out there, give this version a fair shot and watch it more than once and with an open mind. There is room in Austen's timeless story for more than one interpretation.
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on December 25, 2017
I appreciate this film so much - both as a film lover and as a pro writer/editor with a literature degree. These writers took the best of the novel and put it into two wonderful hours, while maintaining the theme Jane Austen intended - this story isn't so much a romance as it is a statement about social class inequities of the time. (The BBC series with Colin Firth, btw, is fun to watch, but they turned it into more of a soap opera romance - entirely dissing the novel in the process!) There are too many really wonderful performances here to mention. The set is an absolute feast, as is the cinematography. Period details are well-researched, from costumes to interior wall paints to the breeds of dogs running around. But the acting makes the film. For one example, notice the scene where Darcy first proposes and they have a fight - these are two amazing, accomplished actors. I've watched this scene probably ten times, and I get goosebumps every time still.
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on October 5, 2016
This is my favorite version of Pride & Prejudice so far. I have seen the older versions with Laurence Olivier and the one with Colin Firth (the first I put on the DVR and the second I purchased). Although I am a big Colin Firth fan, I enjoyed the attention to detail and the superb acting in this particular version. I have watched it many times when I want to escape and enjoy some simplicity of life.
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on March 26, 2017
Aesthetically speaking, this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is second to none. The casting, costuming, locations, and camera work are amazing and visually this film floors all over versions. It really feels like a work of art. Since this is a film version, there is naturally changes from the original book (lines of dialogue changed, scenes removed, etc) but even so, it remains true to the essence of the book and is vastly enjoyable to watch. For a more "very devoted to playing the book out on film" the miniseries with Jennifer Ehle is one of the best, though the tone of that adaption is less artistic and comes across a little more casual and humorous, whereas this version takes a more serious approach to the tale and really wants to drive home how beautiful and romantic the tale is. Keira Knightly shines as the witty Elizabeth Bennet, giving her an air of elegance with her acting and beauty, while Matthew Macfadyen makes Mr. Darcy come to life with distinct feeling and style. I honestly find no grievous error in it and this two disc collector's edition is lovely! I like all the special features and options, plus the cover of the DVD is very nice too. It's a great addition to my collection and I was lucky enough to snag it for a very good price in great condition used.
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on March 18, 2018
I do love this movie, from its opening music through to the second to the last scene--I totally avoid that add-on scene at the end where everything is "so romantic." Yuck. But the rest of the movie is wonderful.

I'm a big Jane Austen fan and reread Pride & Prejudice pretty much every three years. Now I don't reread or repeatedly watch Pride and Prejudice for its romantic qualities but for the great dialogue and wonderful insights into human nature. To love Jane Austen is to appreciate how much she reveals through her characters about human nature and--oh my--intelligent women. The book is by far better but this movie is wonderfully entertaining.

BTW other versions such as the one with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier and the special BBC one that didn't star Colin Firth but was from 1995 with Elizabeth Garvie are worth watching, particularly the latter because it is so close to the book. It stands in well for the book while the Greer Garson one is a dynamic women's movie, like A Letter to Three Wives focuses on women's issues. But that isn't this movie though it tries now and again.

Instead this movie has wonderful music by Keene and beautiful photography and great casting. Brenda Blethyn, Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike are favorites as well as Donald Sutherland and Matthew Macfadyen. Also note other young actors who have gone on to do much more in film. And if you can, listen to the director's take on the latter scenes. Learning how Brenda Blethyn uses her ability to bring humor to a scene was great for me. I watch her now in Vera and appreciate her every twist and turn, physically and vocally.
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on November 4, 2016
While the story of Pride and Prejudice is as good as ever, the portrayal of the Bennet family in this version does NOT show the people and surroundings that Jane Austen wrote about. The setting of Longbourne and personalities of most of the Bennets (especially of Mr. Bennet) show an almost 'hillbilly' version of them. In actuality Mr Bennet IS AND SHOULD BE a gentlemanly, intelligent and scholarly man; the house and surroundings of the estate ARE AND SHOULD BE that of the landed gentry of early 19th century England; Mrs. Bennet IS AND SHOULD BE an elegant although silly woman of her class. What is presented shows what even a chastened Mr. Darcy would never associate himself to.
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on April 20, 2016
Austen, I apologize for. Ignoring you so long. The adaptations are wonderful but your verse and
prose and voice are true gifts and I finally get it. As I finished it, in a day no less as I enjoyed it so
much even knowing how the story ends, I decided which adaptations to watch and compare and
pick out my favorite with the knowledge now of Austen's voice in my mind and heart. Because of
this story I find myself choosing the 2005 version with Keira Knightley and MacFayden even though
the lovely 1995 miniseries was more true to the story word for word. I felt the heart and soul of
the 2005 to be its true match and the passion and chemistry of our two leads more intense, deep
and powerful.

MacFayden's eyes are pools of haunted passion and we can see his struggle against his very self,
his pride and his society at war with his heart. And Ms. Knightley gave us an Elizabeth of wit and
intelligence not afraid to laugh at her own faults and to have that irony and wit trading quips with
her Darcy. The sexual attraction is impossible to deny yet so rigidly repressed as everything of emotion in
that society.

Wickham was brilliantly played by the handsome and delightful Rupert Friend. I can finally see
why our smart and usually quick Lizzy falls for his charm and lies. Such a rake he is but of the kind the most wise lady could fall victim.

Jane as played by Rosamund Pike is ethereal in beauty
and delicate as porcelain, remote and cold seeming as she is deeply reserved and shy onlybecoming relaxed and warm on the candlelight glow of the room she shares with her sister Lizzy. And Mr. Bingley I also thought well cast. A sweet and handsome fellow too unsure of himself that
he trusts Mr. Darcy to protect him.

The Bennet family was also captured perfectly from the loving but often negligent Mr. Bennet
fleshed out by Mr. Sutherland who balances a love of the girls with the man's despair at his
marriage to a woman he cannot respect and the daughters that take after her so he locks himself
away on his library. His only enjoyment in books and in finding rather cruel enjoyment watching
the ridiculousness of others while being completely blind to his own and his failure to rein in his
wife and daughtera who continuously embarrass the family and the other two daughters giving
Mr. Darcy and others the perception that Jane and Lizzy are. Merely hunting for wealth and
pretending at love.

Even Lady Catherine finds her best avatar in Judi Dench who gives her the arrogance and
intimidating presence she should have even as she is rather a silly and self centered character too
many times the actress makes her out to be too flat and easily disregarded. She had power and it
had to be respected and Lizzy's courage as she stands up to her is so much more remarkable in the
face of that daunting woman as played by Ms. Dench.
The beauty of the film too catches the romance of the scenery and I was just swept away. As
much as I loved Firth as Darcy and Ehle as Lizzy this movie had the same feel as the novel gave me.

I cannot wait to watch it again
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on February 14, 2017
Spectacular cinematography. I particularly enjoyed the surrealistic love scenes and the stills that are reminiscent of Van Gogh. Beautiful erstatz period music (sounds like a Beethoven piano sonata). Outstanding screenplay. I liked the circle story motif and the alternation of romanic and dramatic scenes to avoid making the plot too sweet. Outstanding acting from the top to bottom. For example, Hollander is the perfect ass. Pike is the most demure Bond girl in history. Donald Sutherland is a scream as Mr. Bennet. And there are also those other two persons who play the leads. They are pretty good too. The more I watch this movie, the more things I see. Like Charlotte Luca rolling her eyes when Mr. Collins dances with Elizabeth. Or Mrs. Bennet foolishly advising Kitty to drop her handkerchief in front of the regiment. Not to be missed. Do not expect it to mirror the novel, which though amazingly beautiful, cannot easily be condensed into a 100 minute movie.
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