Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet is my all time favorite female literary character.  She is strong willed, witty, sarcastic, stubborn, compassionate, adventurous,  loyal, and a realist.  Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a book that I read at least once a year.  And ever time I read I stay up late to finish it because I just can't stand to put it down.  

Before I was introduced to the book, my sister and I discovered the BBC's 1995 TV miniseries of the classic tale on VHS at the local video store.  I vividly remember the two of us getting settled on the couch to watch... not sure what exactly we would be seeing.  It came in 2 parts, and by accident we put part 2 in the recorder first.  Instantly Elizabeth is having flashbacks to Darcy's initial proposal.  We were completely confused and about to cut our losses and walk away in hopes of finding a better way to spend the evening.  Luckily we discovered our mistake and watched from the beginning.  It took all of 10 minutes to be completely absorbed in the story.  The BBC version is about 5 hours long.  5 wonderful hours.  We quickly bought our own copy and spent many Sunday afternoon watching it over and over again.

Since that time I have searched out every possible version of the story.  The BBC seems to put out a new film version every decade.  I've seen them all dating back to 1940.  There are also a few spinoffs like Bride and Prejudice

These are all entertaining enough,  but non compared to Jennifer Ehle and colin Firth's portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that in 2005 we would be getting a Hollywood quality version of Pride and Prejudice staring Kira Knightly.  I forced my husband to take me on opening night and I jumped and giggled like a schoolgirl while we waited in line.  I think the anticipation was the best part.  I even made friends with some other jumping and giggling girls in line with us.  

Since that time there have been many discussions about which was better... the 1995 version or or the 2005 version?  Here are my thoughts...

- Absolute best part of both movies combined is when after staying at Netherfield park. 2005 Mr. Darcy helps Elizabeth into the buggy and flexes his fingers after touching her hand!  SWOON!!!  Sounds small and silly I know, but if you didn't catch it the first time around watch it again and I guarantee your heart will be pounding!  :)

- 1995 Darcy out performs, out dances, and out manlys 2005 Darcy hands down.

- 2005 Jane fits the book description of beauty much better than weird looking 1995 Jane.

- I was completely distracted by Keira Knightley's gigantic and harsh chin in the 2005 version

- Claudie Blakley, who played Charlotte Lucas in the 2005 version was amazing!  She made that part come alive.  Her fear of being a burden to her family by never marrying  is so well portrayed.  When she defends her reasons for marrying Mr. Collins you completely believe her and can feel her pain, fear, sorrow, and relief.  This is completely lacking in the 1995 version.

- The newer version better displayed the financial difference between the Bennet family and the men they end up falling for.

- Jennifer Ehle completely convinced me she was Elizabeth Bennet.  Keira... not so much.

- All things considered they are both well done but one is 5 times longer than the other, and therefore 5 times better!

1 comment:

  1. Caroline:Austen addict2/18/2010

    Totally agree w/ you on all points! Still loved Matthew Macfayden's portrayal, but Colin Firth's was better. Not much of a Keira Knightley fan. Jennifer Ehle is definitely more believable for her acting & beauty!