The film commences with a
sweeping panoramic of the English countryside as "Pride
and Prejudice's" protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett (Keira
Knightley) frolics about hill and dale reading one of
her favorite books. Meanwhile the rest of the Bennett
daughters, all four additional girls to be exact, are
eagerly eavesdropping on their mother and father, Mrs.
Bennett (Brenda Blethyn) and Mr. (Donald Sutherland) Bennett
respectively, eagerly discuss the proposition of a covetous
new arrangement with the rich, and more importantly, available
Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods). With the Bennett estate
trusted to a male heir, and no sons having been born,
it becomes imperative for Mrs. Bennett to see her daughters
married off to well-to-do men so that they do not lose
all to Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander) upon Mr. Bennett's
As her match-making brouhaha
continues the scene pans to a riotous Derbyshire ball where
all five Bennett sisters are gaily engaging in social dancing
and mingling. Then, silence. A grand entrance
is made by none other than the iconic Mr. Bingley, his equally
well-to-do, albeit slightly portentous, friend Mr. Darcy
(Matthew Macfayden), and his sister, Miss Caroline Bingley
With all standing in reverent
awe, Mrs. Bennett quickly grabs her two eldest daughters'
hands in hopes of first introducing them to the agreeable
men before the rest of the ball stains Mrs. Bennett's hopes.
Meanwhile Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas (Claudie Blakley)
is also standing alongside Mrs. Bennett's daughters, eagerly
ready for recognition and fortuitous prospects. As
such, it seems Jane Bennett (Rosamund Pike) and Mr. Bingley
have quite hit it off, despite whatever awkwardness formality
may present to the situation.
Meanwhile the young, indeed
arguably immature, Lydia Bennett (Jena Malone), along with
her sister Kitty Bennett (Carey Mulligan) squeal in delight
at the prospect of the arrival of 'Red Coats' (or militia
men) to the ball. Still, Elizabeth attempts to join
in the fun by asking for Mr. Darcy's hand in a dance.
But when coolly rejected, she and Charlotte take cover for
some privacy, only to hear Mr. Bingley mutter delightful
commentary about Jane, while Mr. Darcy speaks tacitly of
Elizabeth's plainness, which is sadly, immediately confirmed
by her mother, much to Elizabeth's humiliation. Still,
there is a particular wit and keen sparkle to her eye that,
no matter how 'plain' in the looks department, has Mr. Darcy
at least a little curious in Miss Elizabeth, regardless
of whether he'll admit it to himself or not.
A quick letter from Caroline
Bingley requesting an invite to lunch seems hopeful for
Jane, that is, until Mrs. Bennett's quirky matrimony scams
winds Jane sick in bed at the Bingley's vacation estate,
leaving Bingley and his sister's the task of pining over
the fragile Jane Bennett. Still, concerned for her
sister's health, Elizabeth violates all codes of propriety
and runs the multi-mile distance to the Bingley estate to
check on her sister, which of course earns condescending
remarks from the hawkeyed Caroline Bingley.
Still, while Lydia and Kitty
giggle girlishly admire the march of the Red Coats, Miss
Caroline does her best to condescend Elizabeth in all aspects
of her life so that she may gain the advantage of Mr. Darcy's
opinion. Still, her stuffy propriety, obviously clashing
with Elizabeth's 'free spirit', Mr. Darcy can't help but
seem attracted to the latter, in spite of all her 'cultured
deficiencies'. While he quizzically ponders the whims
of women, particularly the motivated fancies of Miss Bingley
in comparison the unmotivated ones of Elizabeth, the rest
of the Bennett women arrive, to the disgust of Caroline
Bingley, to fetch their missing daughters. While there,
a brief look at the overtly scholarly and hermetic Mary
Bennett (Talulah Riley) will give example to the other extreme
of women- the anti-social.
With expediency the women rush
home to prepare to host the heir-to-be of their estate,
Mr. Collins. The pompous, squeamish Mr. Collin's eyes
Jane, but quickly finds that he must defer to the next in
line due to Mr. Bingley's recent acquaintance. Indifferently
Mr. Collins moves on, and irrationally decides to propose
to Elizabeth just as soon as he's finished reading his lengthy
sermons on morals and manners.
Still, before a proposal, there
must be a ball. But when the 'Red Coat', Mr. Wickham
(Rupert Friend), and Mr. Darcy's two men cross paths prior
to the event, an uncomfortable air is produced and Mr. Bingley's
self-hosted Netherfield ball results in Mr. Wickham's absence,
leaving Elizabeth sans a dancing partner since Mr. Darcy
of course is too proper to engage in such frivolousness.
Still, Elizabeth quickly learns of Mr. Wickham's and Mr.
Darcy's rocky past via the mouth of Mr. Wickham. Quickly
allowing her 'prejudices' to get the best of her, Elizabeth's
heart is only too disappointed when Mr. Wickham fails to
show to the ball and is instead, left running from the coattails
of an odious Mr. Collins. Soon thereafter his proposal
comes. But true to her heart and not her coin purse,
Elizabeth Bennett quickly rejects his proposal in light
of her new acquaintance with the charming Mr. Wickham and
the puzzling Mr. Darcy.
Still, Mrs. Bennett is enraged
in Elizabeth's hard-headedness and, just as soon as she
rejects Mr. Collins, so too is Jane sent news that Mr. Bingley
is to leave his vacation estate. No wedding is to
occur. More than likely it is on behalf of his repellent
sister's opinions. Under the pretense of seeing Georgiana
Darcy (Tamzin Merchant), Mr. Darcy' sister, the gentlemen
and Caroline hastily leave to visit Miss Darcy at the Pemberley
estate. What Elizabeth has yet to discover is the
prospect for Miss Bingley to marry Mr. Darcy herself, and,
Miss Darcy to marry Mr. Bingley. It seems perhaps
Mrs. Bennett is not the only woman with marital scams up
her sleeves. Adding to the blows is news that her
best friend, Charlotte Lucas, is recently engaged to none
other than Mr. Collins. Choosing to marry under the
rite and prospect of safe haven and a comfortable life,
Charlotte spreads the news to a rather disarmed Elizabeth.
Still, in hasty communication
with Charlotte, Elizabeth promises to pay her respects to
Charlotte and her new home with Mr. Collins at Rosings estate.
There Elizabeth will finally be granted the opportunity
to meet none other than the 'iconic' Lady Catherine de Burgh
(Judi Dench). Likewise she will also be afforded the
company of a rather poor excuse for refinement, Miss de
Burgh's daughter. Mr. Darcy himself will also show
his face in the good company of Mr. Colonel Fitzwilliam
(Cornelius Booth). To her surprise, Mr. Darcy is none
other than Lady de Burgh's nephew. Under the
equally precarious eye of Miss de Burgh, rivaling Caroline
Bingley's, Elizabeth is once again subjected to condescending
remarks from those 'high-stationed' people in life. It seems
deficiently mannered people may run in both of their families.
But just as a potential rapport
emerges between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, bad news of his
potential involvement in Jane's recent heartaches may cause
an emendable chasm. His proposal could come at no
worse a time. Once again, Elizabeth Bennett will reject
a male suitor. This time, however, violently personal
remarks on behalf of both character's and their families
Detracted, Elizabeth decides
to travel the countryside with her good aunt and uncle Mr.
(Peter Wright) and Mrs. (Penelope Wilton) Gardner.
Once again it's England at its best with beautiful and lush
landscapes of country green and other natural colorings.
Here, more surprises await Elizabeth, such as discovering
that Mr. Darcy is once again to pop up his head at the Grande
estate, his own estate, Pemberley. It's good taste,
decorum, and ambience at its apex; and Mr. Darcy is owner
of it all.
Wounded, both will be forced
to face their hearts and their true feelings before their
pride gets the best of them. But will the sudden interference
of a potential family tragedy, the surprising marriage of
Lydia to the even more surprising character of Mr. Wickham-apparently
a money beggar and disloyal dependent of Mr. Darcy, spoil
all potential for yet another Bennett daughter love-match?
What's more, a sudden visitation from an enraged Miss de
Burgh proves that she is most disapproving of Elizabeth's
interference with her attempted scheming of uniting him
with her own daughter. My, my, to be a woman in those
days! What ever will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy do?
"Pride and Prejudice"
is rapturous. It's romantic, it's comic, it's whimsical,
it's historic, it's lovely, and it's refreshing amidst today's
high-tech, FX loaded films. Rather than resorting
to the mechanical, but rather in likeness to its Romantic
authoress, Jane Austen, Wright reverts to the screenplay's
roots and sets the stage with overwhelming beauty au' natural.
The film relies on the grandeur of the artists' performances
and their complimenting presence amidst a background of
amazing British landscaping and housing. This film
shines in comfortable elegance, and eloquence. It
is a timepiece to be honored and treasured throughout the
years. Director Joe Wright should be so ecstatic that
such a successful visionary adaptation was manifested in
his 'rookie' film. Indeed "Pride and Prejudice"
has the confidence, the magic, and the composure of being
the product of a veteran director.
The music in "Pride and
Prejudice" is as grand and whimsical as its sets and
costumes, both of which were coincidentally nominated for
Oscars. The score is sweeping, epic, and filled with
the brilliant vibrancy of harmonic major chords playing
in classical melody. Elegance is lynchpin of this
film, and it abounds everywhere from performance, to set,
to costume, to the score itself.
Likewise the cast was deft.
Keira Knightley is all grown up as the vibrant and headstrong
Elizabeth Bennett, one of British Literature's (specifically
the Romantic era), most beloved heroines of all time.
Keira Knightley shines as an example of a pioneer striving
to marry for love rather than comfort. Matthew Macfayden
as Mr. Darcy is also quite appropriately cast and sound
in his portrayal of the epitomized gentlemen. Rosamund
Pike endears with her cherubim looks and genteel manner.
Simon Woods as Mr. Bingley is simply a perfect match.
Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench, the powerhouses in the
film, bring a great strength and air to the master piece.
Each sinks into their role and in deed, it's nearly impossible
to imagine casting someone else as either Mr. Bennett or
Lady de Burgh, as they simply own the screen in their portrayals
of each. Their iconoclastic presence solidifies and
elevates the rest of the cast.
The result is a sound production
of a light-hearted romance invested in great stakes such
as the fate of 19th century women. The real everyday
concerns of 18th/19th century family life give this film
a tangible historic effect and a palatable plot for the
film. Here, the cult of domesticity abounds and "Pride
and Prejudice" is an attempt to expose the potential
foibles and comforts of such arrangements. Elizabeth
is paramount in her diffidence to such norms, and likewise,
remains acquiescent to such prospects. She is both
a product of the times, and yet a pioneer of the horizon.
Wright's vision appropriately captures the necessary tension
of such times, and Donald Sutherland brings a sound paternal
perspective through which to attempt to objectively view
the estrogen-filled narrative. In the end, one simply
sits back and enjoys this novelty, this rare gem of contemporary
film that, for a moment, lets audiences escape into the
magical land of history via Austen's romantic vision that
is "Pride and Prejudice."
"Pride and Prejudice"
was nominated for 4 Oscars: Best Art Direction (Sarah Greenwood
and Katie Spencer); Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran);
Best Music, Original Score (Dario Marianelli); and Best
Actress (Keira Knightley). Additionally the film garnered
another 7 wins including the BAFTA's Carl Foreman Award
for Most Promising Newcomer (Joe Wright, director) and the
Empire Award for Best British Film, and 14 nominations including
one Golden Globe each for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress.
Keira Knightley plays Elizabeth
Bennett, the heroine.
Matthew Macfayden plays Mr.
Darcy, the hero.
Rosamund Pike plays Jane
Bennett, the eldest of the Bennett daughters.
Jena Malone plays Lydia Bennett,
the second-youngest of the Bennett daughters.
Donald Sutherland plays Mr.
Bennett, the aged husband to Mrs. Bennett.
Brenda Blethyn plays Mrs.
Bennett, the 'marriage' doctor.
Kelly Reilly plays Miss Caroline
Bingley, Mr. Bingley's uppity sister.
Judi Dench plays Lady Catherine
de Burgh, Mr. Collins patron and Mr. Darcy's aunt.
Claudie Blakley plays Charlotte
Lucas, Elizabeth's best friend.
Tom Hollander plays Mr. Collins,
the Bennett's heir.
Simon Woods plays Mr. Bingley,
Jane's love prospect.
Darcy: I don't have the
talent of easily conversing with people with whom I'm unacquainted.
Elizabeth: Perhaps you
should take your aunt's advice and practice.
Darcy: Do you expect
me to rejoice in the inferiority of your circumstance?
Elizabeth: And those are the
words of a gentlemen? 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
Darcy: Forgive me, madam,
for taking up so much of your time.
Mr. Bennett: Lydia will
never be easy until she's exposed herself in some public
place or other and we could never expect her to do it with
so little inconvenience as under the present circumstances.
Elizabeth: If your dear
father, do not take the trouble to check her she will be
fixed forever as the silliest and most determined flirt
who ever made her family ridiculous....
Mr. Bennett: Lizzie we
will have no peace until she goes.
Elizabeth: Is that really
all you care about...
Mr. Bennett: ...Let us
hope that her stay in Brighton will teach her of her own
Mr. Gardner: Oh, what
are men compared to rocks and mountains?
Mrs. Gardner: Or carriages
Elizabeth: He's so rich.
Mr. Gardner: Good heavens
Lizzie, are you such a snob?
Mrs. Gardner: ...he won't be
there anyway. These great men are never at home.
Jane: It's alright Lizzie...
I';m just glad he comes alone. That way we should
see less of him. Not that I'm afraid of him.
I just dread people's remarks...
Darcy: ...You have bewitched
me body and soul. And I love, I love, I love you.
I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.
Mr. Bennett: Lizzie,
are you out of your mind? I thought you hated the