Pride & Prejudice (2005)

JOE WRIGHT

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  United Kingdom, 2005.  , , , , .  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , ,.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 2005.  Golden Globe Awards 2005.  Toronto International Film Festival 2005.

Matthew Macfayden and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice. Knightley was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress.

That fucking Jane Austen, every time I decide not to fall for it and every time I’m suckered in! Those hesitant to watch another adaptation of Austen’s most popular novel following the superb (and still superior) BBC miniseries of 1995 should stow their principles and indulge.   is amiable as heroine Lizzie Bennett, the most feisty and headstrong (which at the time it takes place simply means “resisting arranged marriage”) of five sisters living in destitute conditions with a loving father (, who is marvelous) and a giddy mother (a monstrously good ) who is anxious to see her girls wedded to rich men. Lizzie makes the acquaintance of stoic, unlikeable Mark Darcy () and before you can say opposites attract, they’re at each others’ throats with arguing…and of course, you know this means they really just want to get it on. Director Joe Wright has done a wonderful job of paring down Austen’s lengthy narrative to fit a two hour timeframe while not missing out on any dramatic movement (or even sexual tension), plus he polishes it off with a grungier look in the makeup and clothing that reflects the unsanitary situations of 19th century England much better than most period films to date have done. MacFadyen is the ideal romantic hero in the Tough-Guys-Don’t-Curtsey vein, while  and  are incredibly effective in supporting roles, and the production values are all at the top of their class. A wonderful production, though goddamn these girls for making me work so hard for their happiness when you just know they’re going to die from childbirth or a sneeze in, like, three months.

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