Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pride and Prejudice


Dir: Joe Wright

Several of the Serious Jane Austen Fans (SJAFs) I know were dismayed to hear that hottie Keira Knightly was going to play beloved Elizabeth in the newest remake of Pride and Prejudice. Despite fears, Knightly manages to embody the lead, using her lengthy neck to both gaze into the horizon and quickly spin away from unwanted conversations with aplomb.

The story presents five sisters who by virtue of their gender can not inherit and thus must find husbands. The two elder sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, carry on a series of romances, all circumscribed by their families lack of finances and the rigid class structure of the era.

Donald Sutherland plays the women’s father, a well-meaning, but grizzled patriarch whose care for his daughters is evident. The talented Brenda Blethyn plays their frenzied mother, whose overbearing fixation of marrying off her daughters consumes her every waking moment.

The class politics are explicit. While the Bennets are property owning, they exist on that blurry line between upper and the middle class. This film presents the difficulties of the family in stark terms, preferring to present the Bennets as closer to impoverished than classy. It makes the politics spicier, but in some ways misses the layers of class politics presented in other versions.

The story is a classic and popular with romantic spirits as well as bitter class warriors. Fantastic dancing, and much of the quick dialogue is maintained. Not as good as the BBC miniseries, but a version worth seeing.


Blogger ronvon2 noted on 12/14/2005 04:50:00 PM that...

How does it compare to the countless other Austen adaptations on screen?

It is getting good reviews and serious awards attention.  

Blogger maxwell noted on 12/15/2005 03:54:00 PM that...

I think it is better than all except for the BBC miniseries (easily found on dvd). The class stuff is amplified, and some of my favorite spicy dialogue is cut out, but a few classics make the cut.