Pride and Prejudice (1995)

"Excellent"

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Review


Most film adaptations of classic books are inferior to the books they are based on. This is partly because the written word allows more nuance than the camera, but also because great books don't always have enough plotting or action to make great movies, and film adaptations often overcompensate by rewriting the book in a quest to make it more cinematic. The most obvious recent example (speaking of quests) is The Lord of the Rings: Peter Jackson omitted key scenes, changed others, and generally jacked up Tolkien's fanatically-loved bestseller for no good reason.

So it's an achievement when a famous book makes it to the big screen, or the small screen, intact -- and kudos must go to the A&E/BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice for flawlessly recreating the classic JANE AUSTEN novel. This production is as faithful to the book as Cliff notes (though at five hours long, it's not much of a time-saver -- you might as well read the book). The filmmakers fill in the off-camera scenes of the book so seamlessly that Austen might have written them herself.

The cast includes some BBC veterans and they are all excellent in this production, especially David Bamber as the oily Mr. Collins and Benjamin Whitrow as the ineffectual but loving Mr. Bennet. Firth is an obvious choice to play the awkward, haughty Darcy -- the book doesn't give him much to do, except stand in the corner at parties and brood about sleeping with Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle), but he does that pretty well. Firth may actually be the best screen Darcy ever (including Lawrence Olivier, who starred in a 1940 version of Prejudice).

Ehle does a nice job as Elizabeth, though much different from the spitfire played by Keira Knightley in the 2005 version. Ehle's Elizabeth is a dignified but forthright individual, surrounded by leisure pursuits, but unable to ignore the problems faced by women of her time: how to balance individuality and love with economic necessity.

All three concerns meet head-on in Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth visits Darcy's estate, a trip which shows off Darcy to better advantage. Austen the artist/woman was too honest not to include some ambiguity about which aspects of Darcy win Elizabeth over -- is it the shirtless dip in the pool? Or his generous nature in resolving her family's debts? Or is it his very suitable estate (here realized by Lyme Park, a Cheshire pile which routinely stands in for settings in Masterpiece Theatre productions)? Elizabeth comes clean in a letter to her sister: basically, it's the house. A happy ending is in sight from then on, though like all romantic novels (most of which were influenced by Austen), complications ensue. In the end, Elizabeth finds love on her own terms.

Warning: Pride and Prejudice is not for men (which is why I got my wife to contribute heavily to this review). There is no action in it, and the plot centers on marrying off daughters to British dandies. But guys, your S.O. will love it. Pride and Prejudice is where classic lit and chick lit meet -- it's probably the only high-school English novel that teenage girls read for pleasure, and it deserves its popularity for being a readable classic which sympathetically presents a well-loved character. Likewise, this production deserves the accolades it received for its faithful translation of Austen's book to the screen.

The 10th Anniversary Edition of the film comes in a green fabric slipcase along with a 120 page book about the making of the film.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Simon Langton

Producer: , Sue Birtwhistle, Julie Scott

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.