Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Pride and Prejudice: country matters?

I can't believe I nearly didn't go to see Pride and Prejudice. I owe a debt of thanks to those on my f-list who said it was worth going, because this film version amazingly does stand creditably against the BBC series. I thoroughly recommend it.

Differences from TV: At two and a half hours it has only half the space to play with that the TV version does, and it loses some detail, and much of the sharpest dialogue. I don't see how this could have been avoided though. Many of the scenes have key features swapped about (night for day, indoors for outdoors) which I think was intended to break a scene-for-scene comparison with previous versions. Again, I think an understandable decision.

The visual atmosphere is very different. More like Thomas Hardy than other P&Ps I have seen. As happytune remarked this morning, the weather and the countryside are important in Austen, and in this version the mud of the farmyard is right up to the drawing room door, and the Bennetts are country people. This is a good decision.

The leads: I didn't think Keira Knightly could possibly make a fist of this (look at that daft pout she has in her IMDB photo), but she was very good. Not quite Jennifer Ehle (who could be?) but lovely. Sometimes when she was on screen I felt my cheeks aching and realised I had been smiling with her for minutes at a time.

Matthew MacFadyen was very good as Darcy - no really. I had thought he had too weak a face to play darcy, but he wasn't prettied up. They put him into a wide great coat to make him look bigger (mmm) and he was convincingly grim-to-unattractive at the start, and stonkingly sexy at the end.

glitterboy I know you, as I do, relish the moments in the TV version where Darcy melts inside. These moments are very well rendered here.

Other characters: Much excellent acting. You don't need me to tell you that Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland and Judy Dench know what they are doing. Mr Collins was properly excruciating. Some of the minor characters, including Wickham, weren't given enough space to hang themselves, but at least that left room for the emotional drama.

Yeah, see it.
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