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movie review pride and prejudice keira knightley

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Everybody knows the first sentence of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. But the chapter ends with a truth equally acknowledged about Mrs. Bennet, who has five daughters in want of husbands: "The business of her life was to get her daughters married."

Romance seems so urgent and delightful in Austen because marriage is a business, and her characters cannot help treating it as a pleasure. Pride and Prejudice is the best of her novels because its romance involves two people who were born to be in love, and care not about business, pleasure, or each other. It is frustrating enough when one person refuses to fall in love, but when both refuse, we cannot rest until they kiss.

Of course all depends on who the people are. When Dorothea marries the Rev. Casaubon in Eliot's Middlemarch, it is a tragedy. She marries out of consideration and respect, which is all wrong; she should have married for money, always remembering that where money is, love often follows, since there is so much time for it. The crucial information about Mr. Bingley, the new neighbor of the Bennet family, is that he "has" an income of four or five thousand pounds a year. One never earns an income in these stories, one has it, and Mrs. Bennet ( Brenda Blethyn ) has her sights on it.

Her candidate for Mr. Bingley's hand is her eldest daughter, Jane; it is orderly to marry the girls off in sequence, avoiding the impression that an older one has been passed over. There is a dance, to which Bingley brings his friend Darcy. Jane and Bingley immediately fall in love, to get them out of the way of Darcy and Elizabeth, who is the second Bennet daughter. These two immediately dislike each other. Darcy is overheard telling his friend Bingley that Elizabeth is "tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me." The person who overhears him is Elizabeth, who decides she will "loathe him for all eternity." She is advised within the family circle to count her blessings: "If he liked you, you'd have to talk to him."

These are the opening moves in Joe Wright's new film "Pride & Prejudice," one of the most delightful and heartwarming adaptations made from Austen or anybody else. Much of the delight and most of the heart comes from Keira Knightley , who plays Elizabeth as a girl glowing in the first light of perfection. She is beautiful, she has opinions, she is kind but can be unforgiving. "They are all silly and ignorant like other girls," says her father in the novel, "but Lizzie has something more of quickness than her sisters."

Knightley's performance is so light and yet fierce that she makes the story almost realistic; this is not a well-mannered "Masterpiece Theatre" but a film where strong-willed young people enter life with their minds at war with their hearts. The movie is more robust than most period romances; it is set earlier than usual, in the late 1700s, a period more down to earth than the early Victorian years. The young ladies don't look quite so much like illustrations for Vanity Fair, and there is mud around their hems when they come back from a walk. It is a time of rural realities: When Mrs. Bennet sends a daughter to visit Netherfield Park, the country residence of Mr. Bingley, she sends her on horseback, knowing it will rain, and she will have to spend the night.

The plot by this point has grown complicated. It is a truth universally acknowledged by novelists that before two people can fall in love with each other, they must first seem determined to make the wrong marriage with someone else. It goes without saying that Lizzie fell in love with young Darcy ( Matthew MacFadyen ) the moment she saw him, but her pride has been wounded. She tells Jane: "I might more easily forgive his vanity had he not wounded mine."

The stakes grow higher. She is told by the dashing officer Wickham ( Rupert Friend ) that Darcy, his childhood friend, cheated him of a living that he deserved. And she believes that Darcy is responsible for having spirited Bingley off to London to keep him out of the hands of her sister Jane. Lizzie even begins to think she may be in love with Wickham. Certainly she is not in love with the Rev. Collins ( Tom Hollander ), who has a handsome living and would be Mrs. Bennet's choice for a match. When Collins proposes, the mother is in ecstasy, but Lizzie declines, and is supported by her father ( Donald Sutherland ), a man whose love for his girls outweighs his wife's financial planning.

All of these characters meet and circle each other at a ball in the village Assembly Hall, and the camera circles them. The sequence feels like one unbroken shot, and has the same elegance as Visconti's long single take as he follows the prince through the ballrooms in " The Leopard ." We see the characters interacting, we see Lizzie avoiding Collins and enticing Darcy, we understand the politics of these romances, and we are swept up in the intoxication of the dance. In a later scene as Lizzie and Darcy dance together everyone else somehow vanishes (in their eyes, certainly), and they are left alone within the love they feel.

But a lot must happen before the happy ending, and I particularly admired a scene in the rain where Darcy and Lizzie have an angry argument. This argument serves two purposes: It clears up misunderstandings, and it allows both characters to see each other as the true and brave people they really are. It is not enough for them to love each other; they must also love the goodness in each other, and that is where the story's true emotion lies.

The movie is well cast from top to bottom; like many British films, it benefits from the genius of its supporting players. Judi Dench brings merciless truth-telling to her role as a society arbiter; Sutherland is deeply amusing as a man who lives surrounded by women and considers it a blessing and a fate, and as his wife Blethyn finds a balance between her character's mercenary and loving sides. She may seem unforgivably obsessed with money, but better to be obsessed with money now than with poverty hereafter.

When Lizzie and Darcy finally accept each other in "Pride & Prejudice," I felt an almost unreasonable happiness. Why was that? I am impervious to romance in most films, seeing it as a manifestation of box office requirements. Here is it different, because Darcy and Elizabeth are good and decent people who would rather do the right thing than convenience themselves. Anyone who will sacrifice their own happiness for higher considerations deserves to be happy. When they realize that about each other their hearts leap, and, reader, so did mine.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Pride and Prejudice movie poster

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Rated PG for some mild thematic elements

128 minutes

Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet

Matthew MacFadyen as Darcy

Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet

Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet

Simon Woods as Charles Bingley

Rupert Friend as Lt. Wickham

Tom Hollander as William Collins

Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet

Jena Malone as Lydia Bennet

Judi Dench as Lady Catherine

Carey Mulligan as Kitty Bennet

Talulah Riley as Mary Bennet

Directed by

  • Deborah Moggach

Based on the novel by

  • Jane Austen

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Marrying Off Those Bennet Sisters Again, but This Time Elizabeth Is a Looker

By Stephen Holden

  • Nov. 11, 2005

The sumptuous new screen adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" has so much to recommend it that it seems almost churlish to point out that its plucky, clever heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, played by Keira Knightley, is not exactly the creature described in the 1813 novel.

The second of five well-brought-up but impecunious Bennet sisters, whose fluttery mother (Brenda Blethyn) desperately schemes to marry them off to men of means, Elizabeth prevails in the novel through her wit and honesty, not through stunning physical beauty. Among the five, the belle of the ball is Elizabeth's older sister, Jane (Rosamund Pike), who is as demure and private as Elizabeth is outspoken and opinionated.

But because Ms. Knightley is, in a word, a knockout, the balance has shifted. When this 20-year-old star is on the screen, which is much of the time, you can barely take your eyes off her. Her radiance so suffuses the film that it's foolish to imagine Elizabeth would be anyone's second choice.

Once you've accepted this critical adjustment made by Joe Wright, a British television director in his feature film debut, "Pride & Prejudice" gathers you up on its white horse and gallops off into the sunset. Along the way, it serves a continuing banquet of high-end comfort food perfectly cooked and seasoned to Anglophilic tastes. In its final minutes, it makes you believe in true love, the union of soul mates, happily-ever-after and all the other stuff a romantic comedy promises but so seldom delivers. For one misty-eyed moment, order reigns in the universe.

If the depth and complexity of the movie can't match those of the five-hour British mini-series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth that was shown on A&E a decade ago, how could they, given the time constraints of a feature film (128 minutes, in this case)? But in a little more than two hours, Mr. Wright and the screenwriter, Deborah Moggach, have created as satisfyingly rich and robust a fusion of romance, historical detail and genial social satire as the time allows.

Matthew Macfadyen finds a human dimension in the taciturn landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy that was missing in earlier, more conventionally heroic portrayals. Mr. Firth might have been far more dashing, but Mr. Macfadyen's portrayal of the character as a shy, awkward suitor whose seeming arrogance camouflages insecurity and deep sensitivity is more realistic. Isolated by his wealth, ethical high-mindedness and fierce critical intelligence, Mr. Darcy is as stubborn in his idealism as Elizabeth is in hers. The disparity between his diffidence and her forthrightness makes the lovers' failure to connect more than a delaying tactic to keep the story churning forward; it's a touching tale of misread signals.

The movie unfolds as a sweeping ensemble piece in which many of the characters outside the lovers' orbit are seen through a Dickensian comic lens. Ms. Blethyn's mother is a dithery, squawking hysteric; Donald Sutherland's father a shaggy, long-suffering curmudgeon with a soft heart; and the Bennet sisters, except for Elizabeth and Jane, a gaggle of pretentious flibbertigibbets. Jena Malone, as the saucy, boy-crazy youngest daughter, Lydia, offers an amusing caricature of teenage idiocy and entitlement.

William Collins (Tom Hollander), the priggish, self-satisfied clergyman Elizabeth rejects, to her mother's horror, is mocked for his short stature as well as his puffed-up airs. Late in the movie, Dame Judi Dench storms onto the screen as Mr. Darcy's imperious aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourg, to offer a tutorial on British snobbery. Elocution curdled with contempt and kept on ice; upwardly tilted facial posturing with narrowing eyes; and the deployment of artful humiliation, as when Lady Catherine coerces Elizabeth into playing the piano (very badly): all are laid out to be studied by mean-spirited future grandes dames on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the film's most intoxicating scenes, the camera plunges into the thick of the crowded balls attended with delirious anticipation by the Bennet sisters and moves with the dancers as they carry on breathless, broken conversations while whirling past one another. That mood of voluptuous excitement, barely contained, is augmented by Dario Marianelli's score, which takes the sound and style of late 18th- and early 19th-century piano music in increasingly romantic directions.

The movie skillfully uses visuals to comment on economic and class divisions. The humble Bennet estate, in which farm animals roam outside the house, is contrasted with some of the world's most gorgeous palaces and formal gardens, all filmed with a Realtor's drooling eye. Burghley House, a resplendent mid-16th-century palace in Lincolnshire, doubles as Lady Catherine's home, Rosings. At Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the largest private country house in England, which substitutes for Mr. Darcy's home, Pemberley, the movie pauses to make a quick tour of a sculpture gallery.

For all its romantic gloss and finery, the film still reflects Austen's keen scrutiny of social mobility and the Darwinian struggle of the hungriest to advance by wielding whatever leverage is at hand. This is a world in which, for a woman, an advantageous marriage made at an early age is tantamount to safety from the jungle.

As the tide of feminism that crested two decades ago recedes and the old advance-and-retreat games of courtship return, "Pride & Prejudice" speaks wistfully to the moment. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are tantalizing early prototypes for a Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy ideal of lovers as brainy, passionate sparring partners. That the world teems with fantasies of Mr. Darcy and his ilk there is no doubt. How many of his type are to be found outside the pages of a novel, however, is another matter.

"Pride & Prejudice" is rated PG (Parental Guidance suggested). It has adult themes.

Pride & Prejudice Opens today in New York, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Connecticut and Westchester County, and on Long Island.

Directed by Joe Wright; written by Deborah Moggach, based on the novel by Jane Austen; director of photography, Roman Osin; edited by Paul Tothill; music by Dario Marianelli; production designer, Sarah Greenwood; produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster; released by Focus Features. Running time: 128 minutes.

WITH: Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennet), Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy), Brenda Blethyn (Mrs. Bennet), Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennet), Tom Hollander (Mr. Collins), Rosamund Pike (Jane Bennet), Jena Malone (Lydia Bennet), Talulah Riley (Mary Bennet), Carey Mulligan (Kitty Bennet) and Judi Dench (Lady Catherine de Bourg).

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Pride & Prejudice

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Rent Pride & Prejudice on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, or buy it on Fandango at Home, Prime Video.

What to Know

Sure, it's another adaptation of cinema's fave Jane Austen novel, but key performances and a modern filmmaking sensibility make this familiar period piece fresh and enjoyable.

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Keira Knightley

Elizabeth Bennet

Matthew Macfadyen

Brenda Blethyn

Mrs. Bennet

Donald Sutherland

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

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Pride & prejudice, common sense media reviewers.

movie review pride and prejudice keira knightley

Gorgeous Jane Austen adaptation has timeless appeal.

Pride & Prejudice Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Themes include compassion and humility as antidote

Elizabeth Bennett is a headstrong woman who knows

Some clever verbal references to sexual desire. So

One use of "ass."

Some social drinking at parties, but no one acts i

Parents need to know that Pride & Prejudice , based on the novel by Jane Austen, includes discussions of marriage for money. Set in 19th-century England, it offers a mostly gentle, sometimes incisive critique of class and gender systems. Characters drink at a party, make mild sexual allusions, and argue…

Positive Messages

Themes include compassion and humility as antidotes to the titular qualities of pride and prejudice. Through Elizabeth's example, the importance of following your heart instead of financial concerns when it comes to marriage is shown. The challenges of very restrictive social conventions are made clear.

Positive Role Models

Elizabeth Bennett is a headstrong woman who knows what she does and doesn't want in her life, and, despite the restrictions placed upon her in a male-dominated society, is willing to do what it takes to make her dreams come true, no matter what anyone in her family or elsewhere has to say about it.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Some clever verbal references to sexual desire. Some rain-soaked declarations of sexual tension and then desire. During a sermon, a minister makes a slip of the tongue regarding the word "intercourse."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking at parties, but no one acts intoxicated.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pride & Prejudice , based on the novel by Jane Austen , includes discussions of marriage for money. Set in 19th-century England, it offers a mostly gentle, sometimes incisive critique of class and gender systems. Characters drink at a party, make mild sexual allusions, and argue with one another concerning money and romance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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Community Reviews

  • Parents say (29)
  • Kids say (62)

Based on 29 parent reviews

Perfect for entire family. Help boys understand how to treat the female sex with honor, dignity, and respect.

What's the story.

Elizabeth Bennet ( Keira Knightley ) is self-directed and stubborn, not to mention prone to PRIDE & PREJUDICE. Although she's a good girl, looking after her four sisters, trying to appease her mother (Brenda Blethyn), and doting on her daddy (Donald Sutherland), she also wants more than marriage to a boring man who happens to have money. She's destined to find her match in Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). They meet at a ball near her family home, Darcy being a guest of Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) and his sister Caroline (Kelly Reilly). Their arrival in town sets the Bennets, especially the bubbly missus, into a tizzy, as the girls are looking for wealthy husbands since their own respectable but small family estate is set to be inherited by the nearest male heir, Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander).

Is It Any Good?

Based on the Jane Austen novel, this film's overly dramatic music and golden-lit fields are salvaged by Keira Knightley's remarkable charm. She's well-suited to play Elizabeth. In the usual Austen pairing off, designated couples are defined, divided, and brought back together. Upright sort Bingley ("I'm not a big reader, I prefer being out of doors") falls for Elizabeth's bland sister Jane ( Rosamund Pike ), and Darcy starts squabbling with Elizabeth. He broods and grumps, she's given to pensive rhapsodies, twisting around and around on a rope swing in the family barn, the image slowed down to make sure viewers note her daunting loveliness. Darcy certainly does -- again and again, even as he does his best to resist, by disparaging the locals ("I find the country perfectly adequate") and convincing Bingley to abandon Jane.

Though their volatile romance is the basis for Austen's class critique, it's a romance, and Elizabeth must come to realize not only that she is attracted to this difficult fellow but also that he's generous and tender -- perfectly adequate boyfriend material -- and only a bit oppressed by his own relative, the ferocious Lady Catherine ( Judi Dench ). Still, the film follows Austen's shape without Austen's sharpness. The tinkly piano annoys, the expansive landscapes look romantic. And Elizabeth can make the sentimental choice at last, when she actually falls in love with her monied, much desired object.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about Elizabeth's rebelliousness in Pride & Prejudice : How does she worry her mother but also inspire her father's loyalty? How do the parents handle their disagreement about Elizabeth's choices?

What do you see as the challenges in adapting a classic novel into a movie?

In this movie set in the early 19th century, how are attitudes concerning love, gender roles, and economic class shown?

Compare the movie to the book. How does this Elizabeth compare to the one you imagined?

How do the characters in Pride & Prejudice demonstrate compassion and humility ? Why are these important character strengths ?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : November 11, 2005
  • On DVD or streaming : February 28, 2006
  • Cast : Donald Sutherland , Keira Knightley , Matthew Macfadyen
  • Director : Joe Wright
  • Inclusion Information : Female actors
  • Studio : Focus Features
  • Genre : Romance
  • Topics : Book Characters
  • Character Strengths : Compassion , Humility
  • Run time : 127 minutes
  • MPAA rating : PG
  • MPAA explanation : some mild thematic elements
  • Last updated : April 19, 2024

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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The Lady Vanquishes

movie review pride and prejudice keira knightley

Anyone working up a good derisive snort at this movie’s tagline—“Sometimes the last person on earth you want to be with is the one person you can’t be without”—would do well to snort-suppress: The 1940 Laurence Olivier–Greer Garson version of Jane Austen’s most famous novel was promoted with the slogan “When pretty girls t-e-a-s-e-d men into marriage.” There’s always been a Cosmo -girl approach to peddling Austen’s wares; the movie industry is perpetually jittery around the author’s razor-edged comedies of manners (All those words! All those crucial things left unsaid in the silences between those words!) and invariably tries to promote them as silly fun for the popcorn chewer. (The one terrific success that merited such treatment, of course, was Amy Heckerling’s Clueless adaptation of Emma .)

In the new Pride & Prejudice , Keira Knightley glides around with great assurance, tossing off barbed observations about her dithery mother and the foolishness of her four sisters. Indeed, Keira’s cat-smile suggests such supernal all-knowingness that, with Austen’s adapted dialogue (via Deborah Moggach) tripping off her tongue, she comes off as an eighteenth-century Maureen Dowd. Any suitor of sense and sensibility would steer clear of Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet, lest the fangs and claws come out too quickly. The actress’s feral intelligence is similar to the fierceness she brought to her recent run-in with director Tony Scott’s exploding editing machine, otherwise known as Domino .

But it’s a good bet that the only moviegoers who will have seen both Domino and Pride & Prejudice are film critics, and so we’ll be spared, I presume, movie-lobby riots in which ticket holders brawl over whether Mickey Rourke—who displayed such touching chemistry with Knightley as he instructed her on the fine points of blasting holes into bail jumpers—would have made a better Mr. Darcy than Matthew Macfadyen. Actually, I daresay that anyone , including Mr. Rourke or even Gilbert Gottfried, would have made a livelier match for Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet than the sour Macfadyen. He frequently looks merely peeved or perhaps hungover, as though director Joe Wright had tricked him into wearing poufy clothes after a long night out at the pub.

In condensing to a mere two hours Austen’s elaborately arrayed tale, this P&P will probably not pass muster with those viewers who still tremble happily at the memory of the BBC’s five-hour-plus 1995 production, which starred Colin Firth as the most hotsy Darcy ever, give or take your imagination the first time you read the book. Still, there are pleasures to be had here. The boobish Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods, sporting bright red hair styled to resemble Archie Andrews) makes a rare intelligent remark when he observes (in the novel; the movie has no time for such felicities) that Elizabeth is an astute “studier of character.” Thanks to the vivacious and brainy Knightley, the new P&P renders this quality exceedingly well, and when you combine her with Donald Sutherland, portraying Elizabeth’s father as a man who knows which daughter to adore while merely loving the others, the movie has moments of true Austen shrewdness. The comedy is provided by women at two extremes—Brenda Blethyn is a marvelous mutton-head as the Bennet mother, and Judi Dench is a mensch as the maleficently meddling Lady Catherine.

If only Knightley had a co-star equal to her here: The 1995 edition of Colin Firth, come to think of it, would have been perfect. As it is, we get something appropriate—an earthbound Pride & Prejudice , as befits the sins and errors of its title—when what we want is what we always want from a romantic period piece: something transcendent. Maybe in the techno-future, when we’ll all sit around creating our own films on sub-iPod-size gizmos, we’ll be able to splice together Knightley and Firth and achieve a mash-up made in movie heaven.

Pride & Prejudice Directed by Joe Wright. Focus Features. PG.

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Pride & Prejudice

I t is a truth by Universal acknowledged that a British producer in possession of Hollywood finance must be in want of a period screenplay. So it's scarcely surprising that the British production company Working Title, having disappointed its American financiers Universal Studios with the contemporary comedy, Wimbledon, should turn to Jane Austen's perennially popular 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice

Admittedly, Merchant-Ivory fell on their elegant faces with their foolish miscalculation Jane Austen in Manhattan, but generally Austen adaptations have gone down well, especially Pride and Prejudice. There was a chocolate-box MGM version in 1940 starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, both well into their 30s, as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; a Broadway musical used to launch the reopened Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1991 featuring Patricia Routledge as Mrs Bennet; numerous broadcast adaptations (most famously, the Andrew Davis treatment featuring Colin Firth's Darcy); and Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood extravaganza, Bride and Prejudice

The first film for the cinema by Joe Wright , an established TV director, working from a script by novelist and TV playwright Deborah Moggach, this widescreen Pride & Prejudice is a brisk affair with a narrative drive that finds relatively little time for reflection. It plunges straight into the story of Mrs Bennet's justified obsession with marrying off her five daughters by having Mr Bennet reveal that he's already visited the wealthy, eligible young newcomer, Mr Bingley, before his wife has urged him.

Within minutes, we're at the unfashionable ball at the local assembly rooms where the boisterous proceedings are immediately silenced by the arrival of Bingley, his sister (he has only one here) and his best friend, the even richer bachelor, Mr Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). The latter's pride and arrogance immediately antagonise the spirited Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), second eldest Bennet daughter and the one, for obvious reasons, best liked by her sardonic, ironic father (Donald Sutherland).

It is Bennet's inability to produce a male heir that has exposed his family to possible future poverty as their relatively humble Hertfordshire estate is entailed so that a cousin, the Reverend Collins (Tom Hollander), will inherit it on Bennet's death. It is appropriate, therefore, that after endless intrigues, proposals made and rejected, social signals misunderstood, lives enhanced and depressed, and an elopement, the film version ends not with marriages but with Bennet's final resigned quip to Elizabeth after giving his blessing to her forthcoming union with Darcy. Having seen three daughters married off, he says: 'If any young men come for Marty or Kitty, send them in for I am quite at leisure', and the film fades to black.

There is, presumably, no way of making Mrs Bennet sympathetic and in Brenda Blethyn's uningratiating performance, she's the mother from Hertfordshire as the mother from hell and more grotesque than funny.

Oddly enough, the outstanding figures in the movie, and the best performances, are both male. Not Darcy or Bingley or Wickham, who are all on the callow side, but the pair at the opposite ends of the spectrum, the wise, witty, understanding Mr Bennet, whose best characteristics Elizabeth has inherited, and the odious Reverend Collins, a man as unctuous as Uriah Heep, though sad and self-deceiving rather than hypocritical. Hollander's performance is a comic study in embarrassment and there is a peculiarly painful moment when the diminutive Collins stands behind the tall, imposing Darcy at a ball, attempting to attract his attention as a prelude to a terrible rebuff.

The strength of McFadyen's Darcy is that he's not so obviously charismatic as to make Elizabeth's initial rejection implausible. The strength of Knightley's Elizabeth is the way we see her grow in self-knowledge and confidence, concluding in her celebrated showdown with Darcy's imperious aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, played by Judi Dench like Lady Bracknell without the jokes.

Knightley, with her small features and physical fragility, bears a strong resemblance to Winona Ryder as Jo in Little Women, though at one point she's placed on a promontory in the Peak District during her visit to Darcy's Derbyshire mansion, which makes her resemble a Bronte heroine.

The movie is well designed and its locations intelligently chosen. Most importantly, the various houses accurately reflect the social gradations of their owners: the red-brick and tile of Langbourne, where the Bennets live in rough comfort at the centre of a working farm where pigs, ducks and chickens cavort around the doorsteps; Collins's dark, repressive vicarage; Bingley's fine country house with its polished floors, footmen and neoclassical furniture; and the contrasted grandeur of Darcy's place in Derbyshire, light, tasteful, welcoming, and Lady Catherine's mansion in Kent, deliberately overwhelming in its heavy furnishing, murals and platoon of liveried servants. The production designer is Sarah Greenwood.

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  • Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet; Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy; Talulah Riley as Mary Bennet; Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet; Jena Malone as Lydia Bennet; Carey Mulligan as Kitty Bennet; Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet; Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet; Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg

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  • Focus Features

Movie Review

In 18th century England, the Bennet household bustles with five nearly grown daughters, one bemused father and a giddy mother with a singular goal—to arrange for her daughters “advantageous” marriages to wealthy men. The motivation is practical. With no sons to pass it on to, the relatively cash-poor Bennets will likely lose their family estate. Their only hope is for one of the daughters to find a husband willing to support all of them.

Fortune smiles when the young and prosperous Mr. Bingley rents a mansion in their area. A community ball initiates attraction between Bingley and the eldest Bennet girl, animosity between his friend, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Bennet, and an awareness among the principals of the social differences separating them. Specifically, Lizzie is conscious both of the wanton public foolishness of her mother and younger sisters and the resulting disapproval of Mr. Bingley’s sister and Mr. Darcy.

Of course, this is Lizzie’s love story. Her initial “loathing” toward the seemingly aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy is only deepened the more she learns about him, especially from a young army officer named Mr. Wickham. But she can’t quite escape her unexplainable feelings for Darcy, and she can’t understand why he continues to express interest in her.

Positive Elements

These characters exist in a world so chaste and proper that it’s almost shocking to our modern sensibilities. Marriages are pursued and love is expressed with virtually no physical contact beyond public dancing in groups at community and private balls. Female honor and reputation are valued and defended at great cost.

Parents, even foolish ones, are treated with respect and compassion. Of course, some of this properness is created by the fear of being discredited in a community driven by status and a strict class structure. But the commitment to a veneer of respectability alone is revealed here as damaging. So, in general, the attitude of respect and decency is refreshing.

Lizzie defends the honor of her parents and sisters when others mock their common ways. Mr. Bennet obviously loves his wife and girls, and he expresses strong support and concern for Lizzie. Lizzie and Mr. Darcy both admit to coming to wrong conclusions about the other. Mr. Darcy sacrifices both his pride and his prejudice to help Lizzie’s family and earn her respect and love.

Spiritual Elements

Mr. Collins, a cousin to the Bennet girls, is a minister. As Lizzie plainly states, he’s a ridiculous man. He exists in the story, in part, to provide comic relief, forcing on the Bennets both unwanted sermons and unrequited affection in pursuit of a wife.

Sexual Content

We’re “treated” to an excerpt of one of Collins’ tedious messages, including an unintended and comical misuse of the word intercourse . Period costumes reveal some cleavage, and nudity is on display in collected paintings and sculptures. Chaste kisses are exchanged both before and after a wedding.

Violent Content

Crude or profane language.

One character exclaims, “Good lord!” Another calls himself an “a–“ for his foolish behavior.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Drinking is prevalent at the two balls attended by the family, resulting in even less socially proper comments and behavior from Mrs. Bennet and the younger daughters.

Fans of Jane Austen’s classic novel—as well as the millions who cherish the six-hour 1995 BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle—may well wonder at the point of yet another telling of this tale. But first-time feature director Joe Wright tells it so well that few Austen lovers will be complaining after taking it in.

Lost to the two-hour running time are some of the complexities of the plot, as well as some of the great, pointed, clever exchanges of dialogue Austen is known for. Enough remains to remind us of her ability to use words as weapons and gifts in quick and equal measure. But the tight focus of Wright’s film is the unabashedly romantic love story between Lizzie and Darcy, and his story satisfyingly ebbs and flows with their affections.

The mixed British and American cast skews younger than in previous adaptations, and the whole ensemble delivers. Keira Knightley is believably sharp-witted, and Matthew MacFadyen’s stiff Darcy gradually disarms as his character is revealed. But old pros Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn shine brightest as the wise and foolish Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. It’s telling that the film’s most moving moment comes with Mr. Bennet’s reaction to Lizzie’s announcement about her true feelings for Mr. Darcy.

Wright doesn’t just capture the precision of good acting or the beauty of the English countryside, though. In addition to offering a well-crafted film that families (especially those with tweens and teens of the female persuasion) can enjoy together, he serves up Austen’s story in a way that makes it a great starting place for conversations about issues of growing up, finding a mate, history, culture and family relationships. Better, it might lure new readers to Austen’s books and other literature of the period. Not bad for the umpteenth adaptation of a nearly 200-year-old work.

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Keira Knightley's 10 Best Movies, According To Letterboxd

Pride and prejudice (2005): 10 behind-the-scenes facts you didn't know, civil war's perfect follow-up is coming 5 months after $89 million hit.

  • Macfadyen & Knightley bring modern appeal to classic roles, redefining Darcy & Elizabeth for new audiences.
  • Their on-screen chemistry adds depth and emotion to the iconic romance, resonating with viewers long after.
  • The 2005 adaptation thrives on period authenticity, capturing Regency era social dynamics with depth and skill.

Pride and Prejudice , Jane Austen's timeless novel, has been adapted into various formats, but there's no better Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennet than Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley. The 2005 Pride & Prejudice adaptation stands out for its fresh approach and visual storytelling, breathing new life into the classic tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. This particular version is celebrated for its balance of fidelity to the source material with innovative cinematic techniques, making it a critical and commercial success. Its charm lies in not just retelling the story but in reimagining Pride and Prejudice for a contemporary audience.

Matthew Macfadyen and go-to period piece actor Keira Knightley brought a compelling blend of talent and chemistry to their roles as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Macfadyen, known for his depth and versatility, is best known for his Emmy-winning performance as the weasely Tom Wambsgans in Succession . Knightley, a celebrated actress known for embodying strong, independent women, rose to international fame in the early 2000s, breaking out as Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean . Together, their portrayals in Pride & Prejudice not only redefined these beloved characters for a new generation but also marked a significant milestone in their careers.

Keira Knightley has played iconic characters in her best films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride and Prejudice, and Atonement.

7 Matthew Macfadyen & Keira Knightley Have The Best Chemistry

Darcy & elizabeth's encounters are marked by tension & unspoken feelings.

The on-screen chemistry between Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet is a cornerstone of the best Pride and Prejudice adaptation . Their interaction encapsulates the complex dynamic of attraction, misunderstanding, and eventual deep connection that defines the relationship between these iconic characters. From their initial encounters, marked by awkward tension and unspoken feelings, to the profound realization of their love, every glance and exchange between them is charged with significance.

This palpable chemistry not only makes their romance believable but also deeply moving, drawing viewers into the emotional journey of Darcy and Elizabeth. It's a testament to their skill as actors that they can convey such a range of emotions, from disdain to deep affection, with subtlety and intensity . Macfadyen and Knightley's chemistry is the thread that weaves through the narrative, making the characters' eventual union not just satisfying but a moment of cinematic beauty that resonates with audiences long after the film ends.

6 2005’s Pride & Prejudice Has Incredible Period Authenticity

The actors mastered the social etiquettes & mannerisms of the regency era.

Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley's portrayals of their Pride & Prejudice characters are imbued with a period authenticity that transports audiences directly into the early 19th century. Their understanding and embodiment of the social etiquettes, mannerisms, and speech patterns of the Regency era are impeccable, contributing significantly to the film's immersive historical setting. This authenticity is crucial, as Pride and Prejudice is not just a love story but a window into the intricate social dynamics of its time.

The actors' ability to navigate the subtleties of Regency decorum—Macfadyen with Darcy's restrained demeanor and Knightley with Elizabeth's spirited independence—enhances the realism of their characters. They wear Jane Austen's period costumes with ease, moving through the stately homes and lush landscapes as if they belong, further anchoring the story in its historical context. This dedication to period authenticity adds depth to their performances, making the social and emotional obstacles their characters face all the more compelling.

5 Matthew Macfadyen & Keira Knightley Have Modern Appeal

Macfadyen's vulnerability breaks the mold of a traditional romantic hero.

Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley infuse their roles with a modern appeal that transcends the early 19th-century setting of Pride and Prejudice . While their performances are deeply rooted in the period's authenticity, they bring a freshness and relatability to the characters that resonate with contemporary audiences. Knightley's Elizabeth is portrayed as a strong, independent woman, her wit and resilience echoing modern feminist ideals . Macfadyen's Darcy, on the other hand, embodies a brooding intensity that appeals to current tastes, yet his gradual unveiling of vulnerability and depth breaks the mold of the traditional romantic hero.

This balance of historical fidelity and modern sensibility makes their portrayal timeless, bridging the gap between Austen's era and today. Their dynamic interpretations offer a new perspective on the classic tale, making it accessible and engaging for viewers who seek both historical depth and characters with whom they can identify. Their performances underscore the enduring relevance of Austen's themes—love, class, and personal growth—demonstrating their universality across time.

4 2005’s Pride & Prejudice Features Iconic Scenes

The rain-soaked proposal is an unforgettable movie moment.

2005's Pride & Prejudice is memorable for its iconic scenes that capture the essence of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet's complex relationship. The first dance, where their initial awkwardness gives way to a palpable connection, is beautifully executed, illustrating the tension and attraction between them. The rain-soaked proposal scene stands out for its emotional intensity , showcasing Macfadyen's powerful delivery and Knightley's passionate response, highlighting the turning point in their relationship.

These moments, including the Pride & Prejudice movie kiss , are crafted with cinematic brilliance, combining exquisite cinematography, atmospheric lighting, and a haunting score to amplify the emotional depth. The actors' performances in these scenes are pivotal, turning them into unforgettable highlights that have become synonymous with the characters themselves, etching their portrayal of Darcy and Elizabeth into the hearts of audiences worldwide. Their ability to convey complex emotions through subtle glances and nuanced dialogue enriches these scenes, making them central to the film's impact and enduring appeal.

3 Mr. Darcy & Lizzie Bennet Have Individual Character Growth

Macfadyen & knightley perfectly capture mr. darcy & lizzie's evolution.

Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley masterfully depict the individual character growth of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice . Their portrayals capture the essence of Austen's narrative, where personal development is at the heart of the story. Macfadyen's Darcy initially embodies pride and societal aloofness, yet through his interactions with Elizabeth and introspection, Darcy emerges as a figure of humility and profound love . Knightley's Elizabeth, spirited and prejudiced against Darcy's social standing, gradually recognizes her misjudgments and grows to understand the true nature of integrity and affection, making her one of Jane Austen's most inspiring heroines .

This evolution is portrayed with an incredibly resonating depth, showcasing the actors' ability to convey complex emotional journeys. Their adeptness at revealing these layers of growth underscores the lasting relevance of Austen's themes—highlighting the transformative power of love, empathy, and self-reflection. Through their nuanced performances, Macfadyen and Knightley bring a timeless depth to their characters, making their journey from misunderstanding to mutual respect and love a compelling and enriching experience for the audience.

2 Matthew Macfadyen & Keira Knightley Have Synergy With The Supporting Cast

The actors' scenes with donald sutherland & rosamund pike highlight their charisma.

The synergy between Matthew Macfadyen, Keira Knightley, and the supporting cast in Pride & Prejudice significantly enhances the authenticity of the film's portrayal of early 19th-century life. This ensemble's dynamic interactions bring out the best in Macfadyen's Mr. Darcy and Knightley's Elizabeth Bennet, providing a rich backdrop that highlights their characters' complexities. The supporting characters, from Elizabeth's spirited family to Darcy's distinguished circle , are portrayed with a depth that complements the leads, creating a vibrant social tapestry.

Macfadyen's nuanced exchanges with Donald Sutherland, who plays Mr. Bennet, reveal a subtle shift in Darcy's demeanor, showcasing his growing respect and affection for Elizabeth's family. These moments are pivotal, as they offer insight into Darcy's evolving character, softened and made more approachable through his genuine admiration for Mr. Bennet's relationship with his daughters. Similarly, Knightley's spirited interactions with Rosamund Pike , portraying Jane Bennet, underscore Elizabeth's loyalty and protective nature towards her sister. Their sibling dynamic provides a grounding contrast to the romantic plot, emphasizing the importance of family and sisterhood in Elizabeth's life.

Moreover, Knightley's scenes with Brenda Blethyn, who plays Mrs. Bennet, brilliantly capture the comedic and sometimes strained relationship between mother and daughter, adding layers to Elizabeth's character as she navigates her family's expectations and her own desires. These interactions, marked by affection, frustration, and understanding, contribute to a richer portrayal of Elizabeth's world. The ensemble's cohesive performance, led by Macfadyen and Knightley, creates a believable and engaging depiction of the social and familial intricacies of Austen's novel, demonstrating the actors' ability to connect with their co-stars and enhance the film's emotional and narrative profoundness.

Pride & Prejudice (2005) is still a beloved movie in the hearts of fans, but there are few that would know all of these behind-the-scenes facts.

1 2005’s Pride & Prejudice Has Enduring Popularity

The 2005 movie continues to find new audiences.

The portrayal of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet by Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley has achieved an enduring popularity that speaks volumes about their impact on the legacy of Pride and Prejudice . Their performances resonate with audiences of all ages, securing their place as one of the most beloved on-screen pairings in the adaptation history of Jane Austen's works. This lasting appeal is a testament to their skillful interpretation of the characters, blending traditional authenticity with a modern sensibility that has broadened the story's reach.

Almost two decades after its release, their portrayal continues to attract new fans and spark discussions, solidifying the movie's status as a cultural touchstone. The film's ongoing relevance is fueled by its accessibility, emotional depth, and the timeless nature of its central romance, ensuring that Macfadyen's Darcy and Knightley's Elizabeth remain iconic figures in film adaptations of classic literature. Their contribution to the legacy of Pride & Prejudice is a reflection of their exceptional talent and the universal appeal of Austen's story, proving that love, understanding, and personal growth are themes that resonate across generations.

Watch Pride & Prejudice on Peacock

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is an 1813 novel by Jane Austen that has been adapted multiple times for movies, TV shows, and plays. The story centers on Elizabeth Bennet and her family, who are on the brink of becoming poor when Mr. Bennet passes away since there isn't a male heir. At the same time, Elizabeth is learning the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness.

14 Facts About Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice

By ellen gutoskey | jul 8, 2021.

Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen in Pride & Prejudice (2005).

While shooting the scene in Pride & Prejudice in which Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) makes his way across a foggy field and proposes to Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) in the dawn light, director Joe Wright heard a nearby makeup artist whisper, "I wish that was my life."

Soon after Pride & Prejudice arrived in theaters in 2005, it became clear that she wasn’t alone. Sure, some people still prefer the Colin Firth-starring miniseries from 1995, and Jane Austen purists like to wail about the omission of certain details from the book. But Wright’s adaptation birthed a whole new generation of fans, and it also caused plenty of longtime Austen aficionados to fall in love with the story all over again. Here are 14 fascinating facts about the making of what screenwriter Deborah Moggach considers the “muddy-hem version” of Austen’s classic novel .

1. Joe Wright hadn’t read the book nor seen the 1995 BBC miniseries when he signed on to direct Pride & Prejudice .

When production company Working Title Films first offered Wright the director’s chair for Pride & Prejudice —his first feature film—he’d neither read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice nor seen the BBC’s beloved 1995 miniseries based on it. In fact, the only adaptation he’d watched was the 1940 movie starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. He also didn’t think he’d care much for the story. He was wrong. "I took the script to the pub and by about page 60, I was weeping into my pint of lager," Wright told The Harvard Crimson .

Once he accepted the job, Wright still refrained from watching the BBC miniseries, just so that he wouldn’t be too influenced by it. Instead, he studied other Austen film adaptations, including Sense and Sensibility (1995), Emma (1996), and Mansfield Park (1999), as well as some other period dramas.

2. Pride & Prejudice purposely isn’t set during the Regency period.

Since Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813, following a substantial revision, it’s often considered a quintessential novel of the Regency period (which technically lasted from 1811 to 1820). But Austen wrote the initial draft, then titled First Impressions , around 1797—and that’s the year in which Wright chose to set his film.

He made this decision for a few reasons. For one thing, it helped separate his version from previous adaptations. It also allowed him to explore the French Revolution’s aftershocks in British society; 1797 was just a few years after the Reign of Terror, and highborn Brits started thinking it might be a good idea to ingratiate themselves with the masses and defuse any rebellious sentiment. “Hence, the Assembly Rooms dances in village halls, which people of Darcy and Bingley’s class would now attend. There, they would mingle with people they wouldn’t previously have ever met socially. It was a whole new era for society,” Wright explained .

And lastly, Wright just really hated dresses with empire silhouettes, which were all the rage during the Regency era. “I find empire line dresses are very ugly,” he said. “So we used the fashions of the earlier period, where the waist on dresses was lower and more flattering.” Caroline Bingley was the exception, since she’d have been wealthy and fashionable enough to adopt certain styles before everyone else.

3. Keira Knightley was almost deemed too beautiful to play Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice .

At 20 years old, Keira Knightley was both the right age to play Elizabeth Bennet—which Wright considered a crucial casting factor—and famous enough from 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean to satisfy producers’ desire to cast someone with name recognition. She was also a lifelong Pride and Prejudice superfan, having grown up listening to the book on tape and playing with dollhouse replicas of Pemberley and Longbourn.

But Wright was worried that Knightley's beauty might overshadow Elizabeth’s more important characteristics. “And then he met me, and said, 'Oh no, you’re fine,'" Knightley recalled on The Graham Norton Show . When they had met at a dark bar in Toronto, where Knightley was on location for 2005’s The Jacket , Wright realized her tomboyishness and “scruffy independent spirit” were much like Elizabeth’s. “[She] was not going to say what she thought you wanted her to say. She was going to say exactly what she thought,” Wright told Film Journal International . “That—and her humor—made her a perfect Elizabeth.”

4. Matthew MacFadyen was the first choice for Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice .

Wright had been a self-described “huge fan” of Matthew Macfadyen since having seen him in TV programs like 1998’s Wuthering Heights and 2001’s Perfect Strangers —and he was just the type of “great big hunk of a guy” Wright envisioned to play Fitzwilliam Darcy. “He was our first choice,” producer Paul Webster told The New York Times . But knowing that studio execs would be keener on a more famous name, they conducted a full search anyway. “[It] was exhausting and pointless, as we came full circle back to Matthew,” Wright said, and Macfadyen’s electric chemistry with Knightley pretty much sealed the deal. Had they chosen a lesser-known actor as Elizabeth, however, Wright thought they might not have gotten the green light to cast Macfadyen.

It ended up being a good decision; MacFadyen brought both gravitas and a subtle humor to the role. He and Tom Hollander (who plays Elizabeth's cousin, Mr. Collins) actually came up with the bit where Mr. Collins keeps trying—and failing—to get Mr. Darcy’s attention at the ball, then dodges Darcy’s elbow when he finally turns around. According to Wright, Macfadyen is also a “lovely dancer” (though his horseback riding is apparently “appalling”).

5. Julian Fellowes helped Carey Mulligan get cast as Kitty Bennet in Pride & Prejudice .

After getting rejected from acting school, Carey Mulligan wrote a letter to Gosford Park screenwriter (and future Downton Abbey creator) Julian Fellowes, whom she’d met when he gave a lecture at her school. Fellowes invited her and some other thespian hopefuls to dinner and introduced Mulligan to a casting assistant for Pride & Prejudice . Three auditions later, Mulligan landed the role of Kitty Bennet. It was Mulligan’s first-ever film role, but she wasn’t the only rookie on set. Talulah Riley (Mary Bennet) and Tamzin Merchant (who played Georgiana Darcy—and also originated the role of Daenerys Targaryen in the unaired Game of Thrones pilot before Emilia Clarke took over) were both making their silver screen debuts, too.

6. Emma Thompson did some uncredited script doctoring on Pride & Prejudice .

Wright, looking for advice on tackling an Austen film, had the production company connect him with Emma Thompson (who had won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for 1995’s Sense and Sensibility ). “I turned up nervously on her doorstep with my briefcase, and she had her walking boots on and said, ‘We’re going to Hampstead Heath,’” he recounted during a 2005 panel. “We sat down on a bench and opened the script, and I asked her questions, and she acted bits out for me and explained things to me. It was a brilliant shoulder.”

She edited the script, too; Thompson actually wrote all the dialogue for the scene in which Charlotte tells Elizabeth she’s engaged to Mr. Collins. And when Elizabeth is struggling to tell Mr. Darcy and the Gardiners that Lydia has run off with Mr. Wickham, it was Thompson’s idea for Elizabeth to enter the room, rush out to collect herself, and then return.

7. Joe Wright used a little profanity to persuade Judi Dench to play Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride & Prejudice .

Wright didn’t try to downplay Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s general unpleasantness when offering the role to Dame Judi Dench—in fact, he used it to his advantage. “I love it when you play a bi***,” he wrote to her in a letter. Needless to say, the tactic worked.

8. Sardines—the game—helped Pride & Prejudice 's main cast members get comfortable with each other.

The three weeks of rehearsals before shooting helped all the actors establish a familiarity with each other. To make sure those portraying the five Bennet sisters really felt like a family, Wright had them and Hollander hang out in the Bennets’ house, Longbourn—a real-life private estate called Groombridge Place . They played sardines, the reverse version of hide-and-seek. “That was one of the happiest days of my life,” Hollander said . Each member of the Bennet family was assigned their own bedroom, too, where the actors would kill time between scenes instead of trekking back to their trailers.

9. Joe Wright considered an imposing set of pig testicles “necessary to the plotline” of Pride & Prejudice .

Many a first-time Pride & Prejudice viewer has been taken aback by the rather close-up shot of a certain pig’s massive testicles. “That’s not something we thought of before we saw the pig,” Wright told IndieWire. “Then when we met the pig, we were incredibly impressed by him.” Though the filmmakers hadn’t expressly asked for such a well-endowed hog, they had needed a male that would have been used for breeding. As Wright explained, the Bennets were the type of family who’d pay someone to bring over a boar to mate with their sows.

“I felt the pig testicles were necessary to the plotline,” Wright told Hot Press . “The truth is that the Bennet family were country people surrounded by animals. Their existence really wouldn’t have been all that dainty. I wanted to take Austen out of that genteel drawing-room setting.”

10. Elizabeth Bennet's swing scene almost got cut out of Pride & Prejudice .

After finding out about Charlotte’s engagement, a contemplative Elizabeth spins around on the swing for a while, and we see the Bennets’ mucky, livestock-filled yard through her eyes. The sequence was a spur-of-the-moment addition that wasn’t in the script, and it almost ended up on the cutting room floor. Instead, Wright decided to nix a scene in which George Wickham and the militia march out of town, leaving behind a heartbroken bunch of young women.

“It wasn’t very well directed, and I usually take out anything that’s going to show me up,” Wright said . “It was a toss up between that scene and the swing sequence, and I preferred the swing sequence. But that’s probably a mistake—maybe we’re a little bit light on Wickham.”

11. Rosamund Pike and Simon Woods were real-life exes.

Wright had directed Simon Woods in the BBC miniseries Charles II: The Power and the Passion , and he knew Woods would make a “perfect” Charles Bingley. But since Rosamund Pike—Woods’s ex-girlfriend—was already set to play Jane Bennet, Wright “tried very hard not to cast” him. “Finally I rang Ros and asked if she’d mind, and she said ‘Absolutely not,’” Wright told The Guardian . “They hadn’t seen each other for two years but the next day they were dancing together. It was lovely.” (Pike later ended up dating Wright.)

12. Mr. Bingley’s proposal practice was improvised in Pride & Prejudice .

Mr. Bingley was always meant to call on the Bennets, leave after chickening out of asking for Jane's hand, and then return mere moments later once he’d practiced his proposal with Mr. Darcy. But the proposal practice itself was originally a much briefer interlude. Woods improvised the whole endearing thing, and the filmmakers liked his work so much they decided to just make it a longer scene.

13. Pride & Prejudice was Initially supposed to end with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s wedding.

Moggach’s first crack at a closing scene depicted Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s wedding, where the camera would linger for a satisfying moment on every individual character. But as Moggach later explained , “we didn’t want Elizabeth to come off as the girl who became a queen at this lavish wedding, or for it to be corny.”

Wright wasn’t keen on it either. In fact, he considers the real ending to be Mr. Darcy’s misty morning proposal, where the sunrise parallels the sunrise from the very beginning of the film. But knowing that viewers would expect to find out how the Bennets reacted to Elizabeth’s betrothal, the filmmakers developed the scene between Elizabeth and her father.

14. American viewers saw a different ending to Pride & Prejudice than British ones did.

Depending on which version of the film you’ve seen, you may be familiar with a different finale: The newly married and “incandescently happy” Darcys kissing on a bench at Pemberley. American test audiences appreciated what Moggach called the “rather sickly scene” much more than British ones did, so it was only released in the U.S.

The decision caused controversy on both sides of the pond. Members of the Jane Austen Society of North America got to attend an early screening, and many of its members abhorred the mawkish ending. “It has nothing at all of Jane Austen in it, is inconsistent with the first two-thirds of the film, insults the audience with its banality, and ought to be cut before release,” society president Elsa Solender griped . Meanwhile, British fans launched a petition to have the scene added back in. “What did us poor Austen aficionados (in the country of her birth no less) do to deserve such injustice?” it read. Fortunately for all sappy romantics, the contentious scene is now freely watchable on YouTube.


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Pride & Prejudice (2005) Movie – A Review

movie review pride and prejudice keira knightley

I vividly remember sitting in the theatre in 2005 waiting for the curtain to rise on the new Pride & Prejudice movie starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden. I was excited that one of my favorite Jane Austen novels was being trotted out as a major motion picture. It had been 65 years since MGM released its theatrical version of Pride and Prejudice and I was looking forward to two hours of sumptuous costumes and eye-popping settings that were not set in the Victorian era!

A New Mr. Darcy  

I had been reading about the Focus Features production for months on the Internet, especially at Austenblog, where the editrix Mags had been following the media promotional machine very closely. I had no idea who the British actor slated to portray the iconic romantic hero Mr. Darcy was. My sympathy for him was already acute. How could he possibly fill those big, black, shiny Hessian boots that Colin Firth’s strode about in so effortlessly in 1995? Queue fanfare music and red velvet curtain rising at the theater.

Overcoming Pride and Prejudice, Again

Since this movie was released eight years ago and has been available on DVD since February 2006, is there Janeite left in the world who has not seen it? Just in case you don’t know what it is about here is the blurb from the production notes:

Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?

Pride and Prejudice 2005 Darcy and Lizzy

An Entirely New Interpretation of Austen’s Story 

Adapted from Jane Austen’s classic novel by Deborah Moggach, with a spit polish on the dialogue by Emma Thompson (uncredited), director Joe Wright had a definite vision of what his movie version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice would be—and it is entirely different from what we had seen on screen or television before. Even though he assembled a fine cast of British actors, and a talented production team to relay his concept, my first impressions were ill-favored. However, the movie is appreciated by many and received four Academy Award nominations, including best actress for Knightley. Some Austen fans absolutely adored it—others not so much. I remained in the grey zone. Even after many years and several viewings, I am ambivalent, and that is the problem. The good stuff seemed to cancel out the bad stuff and left me in Switzerland.

Pride and Prejudice 2005 a visit to Netherfield

Television Mini-Series VS. Movie Version 

Comparing it to its predecessors is unfair, but it is inevitable. This movie is only two hours and nine minutes long, versus the five hours plus 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries. For those who enjoyed the Colin Firth version, which attentively followed much of Austen’s plot and included many lines of her dialogue, the transition to a shorter length will seem truncated—and rightly so. Wright’s version is set in the late eighteenth century and not in the prettified early nineteenth century of the 1995 miniseries. Honestly, the fashions in the late eighteenth century are not as striking as the Regency era. Are we swayed by pretty things? Heck yes!

Deeper Social Chasm 

The most disturbing difference in the two versions is in the social chasm between the two adaptations Bennet families. The 2005 version’s clothing, furnishing, attitudes, and manners are decidedly lower in station, bordering upon peasant class. This stark contrast makes the social class difference between the heroine Elizabeth Bennet’s lower-class landed gentry upbringing and the very wealthy and refined upper-class Mr. Darcy very wide indeed, and all the more amazing that he chooses her as his bride. Love truly wins the day.

What Would Austen Say?

In the 2005 adaptation, Austen still has the final say on many social issues she was chiding in her novel, but the Byronic depths that screenwriter Moggach and director Wright use to achieve their vision of the story were disappointing. Of note: Austen would have cringed during the first proposal scene with Elizabeth and Darcy. Her hero was never meant to be a wet, sad-eyed puppy, nor her heroine tempted to kiss him.

Pride and Prejudice 2005 wet Darcy

The Good Stuff

At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, I will say that there were changes and interpretations that I did like. The family dynamics were interesting to watch in both the Bennet and the Bingley household. The Bennet sisters seemed more in tune with each other and concerned about each other’s welfare. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are more affectionate and logical. While this seemed more agreeable over-all, it made the dynamics rather bland and canceled out what Austen achieved in her characterizations. There were a few performances that held the dictum. Simon Woods as Charles Bingley really gave the standout performance of the film adding an empty-headed and open-hearted suitor that was truly endearing. Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins was hysterical. Will we ever think about potatoes in the same way again? Judi Dench is by far the most imposing and imperious Lady Catherine de Bourgh to date. Her hot laser stare sent chills up the back of my neck during the scene at Longbourn when she asks Elizabeth to deny an engagement to her nephew, Mr. Darcy.

The Not So Good Stuff

Matthew Macfadyen as the proud hero had a fabulous speaking voice which was really a plus, but what the director made his character do really canceled out his finer qualities. Keira Knightley as the decidedly impertinent Lizzy Bennet did have her moments of spark and fire, but an Oscar nomination? Hardly. I understand the “you have bewitched me body and soul” ending was added for the benefit of American audiences. One assumes by this addition that we did not like how Austen had written it? We were not amused. The music by Dario Marianelli saved the entire film for me. Happily, it is the last thing we hear as the credits roll.

Pride and Prejudice 2005 Lady Catherine

A Pig in the Kitchen?

This review would not be complete if I did not mention the pig in the kitchen scene. Honestly, it was a low point in the movie for me. Why it was added I shall never understand. May I speak for Austen fans everywhere and say we are appalled? Now the tomato throwing may commence.

A Great Introduction for the Uninitiated 

In the end this film version of Pride and Prejudice was beautifully produced, visually stunning, and quite humorous. The English manor houses (including Chatsworth where some claim that Austen got her inspiration for Pemberley from) were a welcome visit. The comedy was a highlight as were the ensemble of British actors. I recommend this version to the uninitiated as an introduction to Austen on film to teens and those adults who skipped the 1995 mini-series because of the five hour running time. The 2005 Pride and Prejudice is total eye candy to those who love period dramas, and for those who need a short respite in England with Jane Austen.  

4 out of 5 Stars


  • Pride & Prejudice (2005)
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Screenplay: Deborah Moggach based on the novel by Jane Austen
  • Length: (129) minutes
  • Genre: Period Drama, Romantic Drama
  • Mr. Bennet — Donald Sutherland
  • Mrs. Bennet — Brenda Blethyn
  • Jane Bennet — Rosamund Pike
  • Elizabeth Bennet — Keira Knightley
  • Mary Bennet — Talulah Riley
  • Kitty Bennet — Carey Mulligan
  • Lydia Bennet — Jena Malone
  • Sir William Lucas — Sylvester Morand
  • Charlotte Lucas — Claudie Blakley
  • Mr. Bingley — Simon Woods
  • Caroline Bingley — Kelly Reilly
  • Mr. Darcy — Matthew Macfadyen
  • Mr. Wickham — Rupert Friend
  • Mr. Collins — Tom Hollander
  • Lady Catherine de Bourg — Judi Dench
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam — Cornelius Booth
  • Mrs. Gardiner — Penelope Wilton
  • Mr. Gardiner — Peter Wight
  • Georgiana Darcy — Tamzin Merchant


We purchased a copy of the movie for our own enjoyment. Images courtesy of Focus Features © 2005. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Updated 3 April 2022. 

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46 thoughts on “ Pride & Prejudice (2005) Movie – A Review ”

I loved that movie. I never got to see the version with Colin Firth, but I can honestly say I didnt find this movie the least bit upsetting. I loved the actors’ performances and the soundtrack was equisite. Its one of myfavorite movies to watch!!

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I love the book. I loved the Colin Firth miniseries. And I LOVED the 2005 movie. There was nothing about it that I didn’t like. I thought the casting was fabulous. For once, Jane was really beautiful, as she’s supposed to be. The cinematography and music were first-rate. Of course, it’s shorter and had to leave out a few plot elements. That’s true with most book to movie adaptations. But I can sit down and watch it any time I want instead of having to wait for a holiday in order to justify the time commitment of either the miniseries or re-reading the book.

And Matthew Macfadyen? No need to feel sorry for him. He more than held his own. I loved him. He’s everything I pictured Mr. Darcy to be. And I was more breathless watching him walk across the meadow than I ever was watching Colin Firth come out of the water. That felt gratuitous while the meadow literally took my breath away.

I loved this movie (and this Mr. Darcy) so much that I wrote a book that Austenprose reviewed just a few days ago called My Own Mr. Darcy. As you can see, I not only loved this movie, I found it inspiring.

sammiek25, you really do need to see the Colin Firth version! You are missing an adaption that focused on being as true to the book and time period as possible, and is different enough from the 2005 version that you will not find them in competition.

I found the 2005 film a little disappointing (which didn’t stop me from buying it on DVD and rewatching), because it had too strong of a Gothic romance atmosphere, more Bronte than Austen. In itself, it is a fun way to retell the story. The Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson version with the major plot changes and completely the wrong costumes, better captured the sparkling wit of the original. (In spite of it all, Olivier is still my favorite Darcy. Just think what he would have done with a faithful script.)

What is so great about this story is that in another 20 years someone will do another remake, and we will all eagerly see it, too.

I had similar reactions to this one. I both loved certain things, but other things I didn’t like. Pig made me laugh, but yeah, not a high point of the story. I did prefer the more austere Darcys like Rintool and Firth, but its because of how I pictured him after reading the book. At the same time, I really loved that it was on the earlier time line being more Georgian than Regency because that’s when she originally wrote First Impressions and I did enjoy the more familial Bennets of this one more than the others.

Here’s my latest toward the challenge. I enjoyed Alexa Adam’s Holidays at Pemberley for my 18th entry. Good Reads review link:

I have read the book many times and each time i see this movie, I try to match the events (the important ones from my point of view) with the book. I agree the proposal in the movie didn’t agree as i have always pictured as in the book. I also failed to understand the pig event. But overall the movie was good and for non readers it would be a good regency movie.

Well… At no point in this film is there any pig (or any other live animal) in any kitchen. And the scene in with the word “bewitched” occurs (a word also used by Austen in the novel, btw.) is not the ending in any version of the film either.

I get the feeling this was written a very long time after you saw the film. Maybe you should give it another go.

Thank you! I wrote a whole blog post ( here ) about how the pig is clearly not inside the house.

This version has it’s faults. So does the 1995. For me, the book will always be the best, but I can enjoy both this and the 1995 on their own merits too.

I reviewed this several months ago, and Ialso put it second to the Colin Firth version. My reading for this month was a new book focusing on the period between the engagement and the wedding, Violet Bedford’s Betrothed to Mr. Darcy. See it at

I completely understand all your reservations, Laurel Ann. I didn’t particularly enjoy the film the first time I saw it, but I went with a friend who completely loved it and begged me to go a second time; on the second viewing, having put aside all my disgruntlement over what I didn’t like, the sheer romance of the story (I am a sucker for P&P in all forms!), the beautiful cinematography and the score pulled me in.

Like you, I found Judi Dench’s Lady Catherine superb and I loved Simon Woods as Bingley. One other thing I did like was that the Bennet sisters seemed more appropriately cast in terms of age. I always felt that in the 95 series some of the girls came across as a little too old, and I think Rosamund Pike was a beautiful Jane.

I made my peace with it long ago over the things that didn’t ring true to the book because I simply love the story. I can watch any of the films, series, plays, in any interpretation and I’ll always find something I love about it somewhere. :)

Thank you for sharing your review; I really enjoyed reading it, and I loved your reference to being ‘in Switzerland’ on it!

I disliked the film totally. I have only managed to see it twice. Macfadyen spoke much too quickly, Bingley was turned into an idiot, and the plot flaws!, and I made the mistake of watching the American ending, oh dear

I love P & P but not this movie version. I honestly have to admit that I could not make it through the entire film. I found Kiera Knightley so annoying and so completely miscast that I couldn’t get past it. Having said all that, I am sure that Laurel Ann’s assessment was spot on!

I too experienced quite a bit of angst with this version. After alot of reflection, I decided that the spirit of the story was there but remained disturbed at the failure of the movie to adequately portray the strength of Elizabeth and Jane’s relationship. This version did seem to resonate more with a less Janeite audience and I am grateful for anything that makes a new generation want to know more about Austen. I do have a DVD which I use when I want a quick fix but dont have time for the 95 version. Having said that I love the reference to Switzerland and I join you there.

I am one of the ones who loved the movie. Maybe it is my love for Matthew Macfadyen or Keira Knightly, or maybe it’s because it can be watched in a fraction of the time of the BBC version. Maybe it’s because the heart of the story remains and that is enough for me. I watch this movie all the time and never tire of it. Yes, the pig in the kitchen scene was pointless and unneeded, but the rest of the movie was perfect. I won’t watch the American version. I hate the last scene with Darcy and Elizabeth deciding what he should call her. I always turn it off for that scene. The rest of it though, I was quite pleased with. Yes, there are differences between it and the book, but it’s foolish to believe that people don’t see books differently and that any movie will be as good as the books we love. Plus, directors need to do something to give them an edge. You don’t want to come across as a copy-cat. Changes happen and you have to roll with them. For everything it was, I enjoyed it.

I went into the theater prepared to hate the film, and I walked out a convert. This is a film that I have watched too many times to count. Yes, it is a departure in tone, costume design from the BBC mini series, but I still love it. Wright sets the scenes up like portraits. He’s now one of my all time fav directors because of this film. I highly recommend watching the director’s cut of the film. He addresses the Elizabeth – Jane relationship. They wanted to show over the course of events the sister moving away from each other.

All that being said, Firth is the quintessential Darcy, for me at least. I did enjoy Macfadyen, esp the sunrise declaration of love. It worked for me.

I really didn’t like that movie. I felt it sanitized Austen’s wit, particularly with Mr. and Mrs Bennet, taking the absurdity away from Collins and Lady Catherine. Longbourn would not have been that shabby – Mr Bennet may not be in Darcy’s league but he certainly could afford to paint his walls. I found Macfadyen and Knightley’s acting atrocious, particularly in the first half of the movie. It totally negated Caroline Bingley’s and the Gardiner’s importance to the story, not to mention eradicating the Hursts altogether. Charles Bingley was reduced a 2 dimensional cardboard cutout shadow of himself — I really had to wonder what Jane Bennet saw in him. The movie was hard to follow even with my familiarity with the books and my friends who were not familiar with the story were confused as all get out what it was about. The one thing I can say about the movie was that it had beautiful cinematography.

I liked this remake and own and watch it regularly. I have also seen the A&E version several times and is actually how I was introduced to Pride & Prejudice. I love Macfayden’s Mr. Darcy, but agree with others; I’d love to have seen him in a more faithful adaptation. I think the biggest appeal of this version is the brevity, which is great if you already know the plot. I made my husband watch this with me and I filled in the details left out of the plot lines. If I hadn’t done that, he would have dismissed the movie altogether as illogical. I also had him watch the A&E version with me (over several nights), which was a real chore for him because of the length and as he put it “the great amount of words.”

As a huge fan of ‘North and South’, both book and BBC film, I can understand the dilemma of trying to love both versions of a favorite story. I forgive all the unrealistic and off-canon twists the movie version of N&S made to make the story come alive in the film medium AND to make the movie appeal to the average modern movie goer. What this movie version of P&P got right was the emotion of the story. Gosh, and it was beautiful to watch! The impact of sights and sounds and the drama of the unfolding story was done well, even if certain liberties were taken that were recognizable to those who know the text very well. It was a beautiful love story, based very closely on Austen’s famous story. Beautiful film. I love it. It was a resounding success as a film piece. Oh and the music…!

I agree, this version was awful!!! The BEnnett’s had a butler, maids and cook but the 2005 version did make them look like peasants, not country squires. The women never seemed to wear hats which may sound like a trite complaint but hats were a symbol and were worn as status as well as protection. Mr. And Mrs. Bennett did not seem believable to me at all. I only watched it once as that was all i could manage, despite adoring Judi Dench’s work generally. The 1995 version had a few concerns but it remains my favourite for Colin and Jennifer’s performances made it for me with the rest of that wonderful cast and that is when i really started reading Jane A more seriously. Thanks, peace

I am a clear 3/5 on this version myself. Some things I really liked, such as Mrs Bennet, who for me, is just about perfectly portrayed. I also loved Jane and thought that Lydia was much better cast in this version that many others. I thought Mr Darcy’s gorgeous voice and all his impassioned looks were marvellous.

However, I didn’t like the dirt, some of the changes to the story were nice cinematically but didn’t really make sense to me, I didn’t like Bingley’s portrayal as an idiot, and the thing that I find spoils this film for me is how fast the dialogue was delivered, it’s very distracting.

The “you have bewitched me, body and soul” line is gorgeous, but it’s not Austen, as you say, and now it’s quoted as though it is. I seem to recall the quote was Darcy had never been as bewitched by any woman as he was by her, or something along those lines, it’s just before Elizabeth leaves Netherfield.

I think if this is the first version of Pride and Prejudice you’ve seen you’d like it, but it’s not as good if you’ve seen previous versions. Bearing in mind it’s so much shorter it does a pretty good job.

I absolutely love the 2005 film version.

Well I am not afraid to respond in favor of this adaptation. Hopefully my Life Membership with JASNA will not be revoked. As a moody teenager, I was introduced to the sparkling wit and happy endings of JA. I admit I was partial to the hopeless despair in the likes of Thomas Hardy’s Tess & Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Dare i say i might have been prejudiced against Austen’s happily ever afters. I missed the P&P 1995 hooplah w/ Firth & Ehle. So when my sister recommended I see it, I went not really remembering the synopsis. Anyway sitting in the movie theatre, I was mesmerized by the beautiful Marianelli soundtrack, sweeping cinematography, funny dialog, beautiful characters and overall story. I remember my mother leaning over and asking me if that daybreak scene happened in the book, and I think I said, “shhhhhh… I don’t think like this.” I left the theatre thinking, wow that was awesome, I need to read that book. So I did, and after reading the 6, delved in the online fanfiction, bought the few adaptations available circa 2006, joined JASNA, went to my first AGM — and the rest is history. Since then, under the tutelage of Laurel Ann, countless authors and periodicals, films… I have learned much about the period, dear Miss Austen, etc etc. and recognize the gigantic latitude the director took with Austen’s masterpiece to create this film. The change in period clothing was his nod to Austen’s earlier attempt at P&P as “1st Impressions”, supposedly. And despite the pig scene, the run down Longbourne, D&E’s daybreak meet – her in her bedclothes! He sans cravat! the missed opportunities of authentic Austen dialog, Lizzy sans gloves & often a bonnet, the cutting and pasting of original, etc etc. it still is a favorite. I liken it to the ultimate fanfiction. And when I think of it like that, not a true adaptation of Austen, I forgive all those artistic director interpretations. Besides it was the catalyst to bringing me to Austen. So with that I do. I do forgive Joe Wright. It’s a gorgeous film that I am sentimental about. Now I will duck behind the couch in wait of the tomatoes.

You won’t get any tomatoes from me. You sound like you experienced what my main character in My Own Mr. Darcy experienced. It changed her life, too.

Once again, Laurel Ann, I experienced the greatest delight in reading your review and finding so well articulated many of my own experiences with this version of P&P, which I also saw when it first appeared in the movie theater. I did enjoy the warmth of relationships and the less annoying mother herein depicted, and thought Judi Dench a delightful Lady Catherine, but was unsatisfied with the ending variation from the original! It is romantic and I still watch it on occasion to satisfy an Austen craving, however! :-)

My November choice is “Second Impressions” by A Virginia Farmer… aka Ava Farmer… aka Sandy Lerner. I purchased this book after being enthralled by the chapter in Deborah Yaffe’s “Among the Janeites” in which she tells the amazing story of Sandy Lerner, cofounder of Cisco Systems, an organic farmer, a creator of a small grunge cosmetic company, and a Janeite heroine extraordinaire! She used her wealth to salvage Chawton House and turn it into a Library and source for the study of early English women’s writing, including a vast collection of Jane Austen material and editions of her books! She began her novel when, like so many others, finished reading all that dear Jane had written and feeling bereft and in need of continuing the story. With her very busy life, the novel she began wasn’t finished until 26 years later!

“Second Impressions” takes place 10 years after the conclusion of P&P and depicts our beloved couple at home at Pemberley, in London, and traveling around both England and Europe, with well researched descriptions and commentary on the culture and times of the places visited. It tells a sweet story of Georgiana, and an amazing come-uppance for Lady Catherine! :-) She also brings into the story a relationship of Mr. Darcy with Mr. Knightly, comparing farming practices, and Anne Elliot-Wentworth as a friend of Elizabeth. Since she has so thoroughly researched everything about Austen’s world, from the politics, culture, and words used, it is very faithful to Jane’s writing style even to the humor and self-criticism and growth of the main characters! It was not as light reading as many I’ve been immersed in this year, but well worth the effort!

Hi. I just LOVE that version. I love that Lizzie more than the other one (of the series). And Darcy, well, I love them both (movie and series) Nice choice for the month :)

My review of november:

I enjoy, and mostly agree with your review of this version of P&P. Technically and musically it is wonderful, but overall it’s certainly not my favourite. For me it wasn’t the pig, but it was the dirt and disarray that the Bennet’s function in, the complete absence of Mr. and Mrs. Hurst, and Mr. Bingley sticking his head in Jane’s sickroom at Netherfield. I was horrified. Interestingly enough, those last two items were also present in the Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson version.

I saw this movie before I read the book. It’s actually why I read the book. I love the movie and the book so so much. I haven’t completely seen the mini series yet, but I did start it long enough to find that Elizabeth was prettier than Jane, which I didn’t like, and the Mr. Bennet was very cynical versus sarcastic and humorous. I didn’t like him from what I saw in the mini series. I thought the casting for the movie was perfect. While Keira is pretty, Rosamund has an ethereal beauty to her that makes her stand out. Like others have said, Judy Dench was perfect for Lady Catherine. The parts I did have a problem with (after I read the book obviously) was that Mr. Collins wasn’t the same in the movie as he was in the book, physically, but I understand why. And the movie doesn’t really show that Lizzy and Charlotte drifted apart significantly after Charlotte’s marriage. Other than that, I loved the movie and now I feel the need to watch more of the miniseries.

I saw this movie twice; not because I liked it but because I couldn’t believe it could be so off base. The second viewing convinced me that Joe Wright had read the P&P Cliff Notes and decided to embroider on that. There undoubtedly was all that dirt and mess during the period depicted but this a P&P film not God’s Little Acre. Another thing that bothered me a lot was the way Joe Wright filmed Judi Dench as though she was starring in a horror film with every pore and wrinkle highlighted in order to scare the audience. I could say more about Keira Knightley mugging for the camera and Matthew Macfayden looking like a little lost boy and the horribly miscast Donald Sutherland, but I won’t! Nuff said…

Amazing review, Laurel Ann! As I said in my own review some months ago, it is not my favourite adaptation. But anyway, there are some things I would not despise :) I agree with you about the proposal in the rain and the scene with the pig… Wright could have done better! My selection for this month was “Mr. Darcy’s secret” by Jane Odiwe. This is the link:

I loved the feel of the 2005 P&P and I thought the dirty Georgian farmhouse take was interesting. My big beef is that Mr. Wickham didn’t seem bad enough. Adorable, yes. Villainous, not so much. Sigh. Here’s my review of Longbourn by Jo Baker:

Thank you for your balanced review Laurel Ann My friend Jill and I went to see the 2005 film together at the cinema and we found we liked Judi Dench but disliked the way poor Mr Bingley was reduced to an idiot. The cannot sleep ending that we watched was not a patch for us on the 1995 Colin Firth version of the ending.

Mr. Darcy’s Refuge: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

As I have never read any of Abigail Reynold’s variations I am approaching this book with a degree of trepidation. I have heard that my idea of how Mr Darcy may reveal himself as being a gentleman and how this character develops in this book may be very different but I shall plunge into this book and see how I feel at the end. It could be that 21st century attitudes have been written for a character that I see as very much from the time of Jane Austen. But I am getting ahead of myself and I shall have to wait, be patient and read the text. This variation is going to be my 13th review for this Pride and Prejudice challenge. Challenge is the right word to use for some of my reading of this book. I found it very difficult and uncomfortable to read some of the passages involving Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt as if I was reading scenes where I did not want to be reading. So next time when I am not reviewing the book I can employ my Kindle buttons and skip over them. The rest of the book did feel easy to read. The text flowed enjoyably along despite the fact I could be reading for example about the river in Hunsford being in full flood and the danger to citizens and property.I think this is because Abigail Reynolds writes so vividly. From the opening sentence on I was drawn in The break in the rain seemed like a sign. It meant Darcy could ride to the parsonage and discover what was troubling Elizabeth. What will happen then – Abigail Reynolds writes her variation and nudges at the Jane Austen text and pulls out ideas and sentences from the original novel of Pride and Prejudice and then ricochet markedly away from the original plot. Darcy thinks that Elizabeth is plotting how to ensure that Darcy proposes to her As reader I thought that the story was going to be all about following in the footsteps of Jane Austen and having Elizabeth worried about Darcy separating her sister Jane from Darcy’s friend Bingley and about Wickham being denied his inheritance. The plot however goes off in all sorts of unexpected directions from ones I was expecting and in the end the various couples came together but not in the same way as Jane Austen envisaged and wrote at all. Some of the characters that Jane Austen created have unexpected back stories added on by Abigail Reynolds. Mr Bennet changes in his manner to Elizabeth as a result of his back story and did not seem to me to be such a friend to Elizabeth. In fact at times I quite disliked him. I liked the addition of characters created by Abigail Reynolds from the village of Hunsford, and from the vicarage itself as well as a fearsome uncle for Darcy. Poor Bingley seems to be even wetter in this variation than Jane Austen portrayed him in Pride and Prejudice and I felt sad about that. Overall I did enjoy most of this variation apart from the drawback and challenge as mentioned at the beginning of the review. I think I would read another Abigail Reynolds variation with great caution and being ready to skip bits.

I really like this version – it’s not exactly page-to-screen Austen, but it’s a gorgeous film. I agree with your comment about the music saving it, too.

It’s definitely an adaptation – Wright wanted to make a movie about Elizabeth’s coming of age (especially in terms of sexuality) so there’s a ton of focus on the body, place, setting, etc. It’s not the same as reading the book, of course, but that’s why we can always reread and trust our imaginations!

That said, I don’t understand the pig in the kitchen either. :P

I agree with Laurel Ann – I’m in Switzerland. What I liked was the overall beauty of it (including the music). The casting of all the young parts was all very good and very age-appropriate. I agree with others about Jane’s beauty (excellent) and Bingley’s idiocy (not-so-much). Mr. Collins ought to have been “large” (tall? fat? both?), but at least he was young and introduced an appealing vulnerability to the role.

But then it is all spoiled by the casting of the parents’ generation with actors (fabulous actors all) who are old enough to be the grandparents. Brenda Blethyn was over 60; Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench over 70. Mrs Bennet should be about 40; we don’t know how old Lady Catherine is, but I shouldn’t think any more than 50. Mrs. Gardiner should be about 35! And what happened to the Gardiners’ children?

As for KK – some love her and some hate her – she looked awfully skeletal in this movie.

The pig was comic relief.

I mostly agree with Laurel Ann’s review and won’t add much to the many comments. I will say I may be in the minority in preferring Barbara Lee-Hunt as Lady Catherine in the 1995 mini series to the esteemed Dame Judi Dench. I didn’t dislike Dame Judi (who could?), but thought Miss Lee-Hunt gave a magnificent performance. I much prefer the 1995 version partially for the length but also for the superlative casting. A couple of further comments: I do agree with those who find Rosamund Pike to be a more satisfactory Jane Bennet than any I’ve seen before. As for Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet, I didn’t think she was at all like Jane Austen’s creation, but BB is a hard actress to resist. The film with Keira Knightley was fun to watch but as others have said, the Bennets were portrayed in a much lower class than they should have been. As for Rupert Friend (so fine as Prince Albert in The Young Victoria), his role as Wickham was so whittled down, he never got much chance to show his villainy, but he sure was cute!

Oops! Spelled Barbara Leigh-Hunt’s name, it didn’t look right even as I was writing it.

This isn’t my favorite movie adaptation, but it’s still enjoyable. My daughter loves it, though.

My 13th review for the challenge is The Red Chrysanthemum by Linda Beutler:

I also read The Pursuit of Mary Bennet for the challenge this month:

I like this version very much, though not for its accuracy. The costumes are very nice, and Mr Darcy quite handsome (yes, sometimes I am shallow). My 6th entry (5th blog post) for the challenge is ‘Mr Darcy takes a wife’, which I enjoyed, but probably will not read again. As I’ve read 2 more books, I expect to review them soon and also put them in a comment below this November review.

Just made it! Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen I thought it fitting to read P+P before the year was up. This 5th entry makes my commitment for Disciple complete. As I read I would think of the scenes from the movie or one of the series, which ever one did justice to that particular scene. It’s always enjoyable to dive into Austen.

Just for fun:

first 13 seconds. Love it!

I loved that! It even sparked a short conversation about it with the guys at work.

I love Big Bang Theory but even more now with Sheldon’s comment. LOL! The conversations that Austen books spark up are always fun aren’t they.So are the Big Bang ones.

I have seen the 2005 film only once. I know opinion is much divided on it but to be honest I have no strong feelings either way – I didn’t think it was wonderful but I wasn’t scandalised by the differences between that and the book (or between that and the 1995 BBC version!) I’d love to see an adaptation where Mr Collins isn’t way too old, though. They always make him about 40.

For my November entry I have reviewed the audiobook of Jo Baker’s “Longbourn”, read by Emma Fielding

You’re feelings on this film are very similar to mine, Laurel Ann, Particular in regards to that pig.

I reviewed three books this month for the challenge: The Darcy’s of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow: Return to Longbourn byt the same kind lady: and Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe:

I’m slightly late but it’s been a long month so I hope I’ll be forgiven.

My book review is for Pride’s Prejudice by Misty Dawn Pulsipher

I also re-watched an old favourite..

Pride and Prejudice 1940

It happened in OLD ENGLAND in the village of Meryton. – Opening Titles of Pride and Prejudice 1940

I approached this review in the same way as my previous ones, by making notes of the good and bad points while I watched the film. I shall try to be objective but I must confess that I love this film and have since I was a child, and I think perhaps in some cases the good and bad points are one and the same.

Now this version has even more scenes and people missing than the 2005 version but as I made the choice not to comment on that for a film then, I will mostly do the same here. A film’s time is limited so what is important, to my way of thinking, is to keep the essence of the story line and characters intact. In this the 1940 version succeeds where the 2005 one fails. Was it a faithful adaption? Of course not. Was it a beautiful story? Most definitely. The style of the film is definitely classic Hollywood and I think there is something magical about films from that era. They were made to make you feel good, to make you smile and to uplift you, even when they were sad. Modern films in some ways might be more realistic but they have lost something.

The most evident ‘mistake’ is the costumes, it’s obviously been set after the regency period but whilst the style is incorrect to the book, their dresses are suitable for young women of their station in life. Likewise their ages, though they are all clearly older than the characters they depict, are in proportion to each other. The conversations are recognisable but the words are not Jane Austen’s. Having said that there is some great banter that doesn’t feel out of place in the film or coming from the characters, whether that is the dialogue itself or the actors’ ability to deliver the lines, is possibly open for debate.

Another area which I think falls into both the good and bad category is the humour. They ham it up a little in places, for example, Lady Catherine walking into the chaos at Longbourne and accidentally sitting on Kitty’s music box, which again is not out of keeping with the style of the film, and so does not jar you or make you cringe, but you can’t necessarily imagine it in the more tranquil confines of the book.

A few odd things… Charlotte Lucas whilst professing to be as plain as she is in the original work, is anything but, Mr Collins is Lady Catherine’s librarian and not a clergyman, and Caroline Bingley whom at no point appears to be friendly to anyone other than her own party and Jane, is apparently in correspondence with someone residing in Meryton. A production point, that I’ve always rather liked, is the fact that certain characters have their own background music that plays whenever they are centre screen for that scene. A grand and imposing tune for those of the upper classes and something rather more whimsical for Mr Collins… it does add a certain atmosphere but now I know it well enough to notice, it also makes me smile. Another thing that I have always appreciated is the name they give to Colonel Forster’s regiment, where ‘the ___shire’s’ from the book, is literally pronounced as ‘the Blankshire’s’.

Possibly the one thing that I don’t think should have been altered was Lady Catherine’s attitude at the end. It wasn’t really necessary to change her into a loving aunt just looking out for her nephew, but this film has a neatly tied up happy ending for all its characters and I suppose they felt it might spoil it for her to remain opposed to the last.

What I think really makes this film work for me however, are the characters. Despite everything I have listed, the characters themselves remain true to their basic natures. They’re graceful, they have poise, and at first glance can pass for what they are meant to be. They have faults but it’s not in manners. There’s a general affection between the Bennetts that makes them seem like a family even when they’re at odds. The younger Bennett girls are immature but not vulgar or fast or particularly childish. They’re just enjoying themselves and being silly, and they’re also trusting where they shouldn’t be. Bingley is a gentleman and not stupid, Wickham is handsome and gentlemanlike, Caroline Bingley is delightfully snobby, Mrs Bennett is just the right mix of well brought up and dizzy, desperate to marry off her girls because that’s her job and old enough to have become a gossip. Jane is beautiful and sweet whilst Elizabeth played by Greer Garson is the stronger character, protective and caring of all her sisters. Mr Collins wonderfully pompous, Lady Catherine is suitably imposing and Mr Bennett is the perfect mix of dignified gentleman, resigned husband, and affectionate but disinterested/mocking father. And of course Laurence Olivier as Mr Darcy is the strong male lead, stiff at first but learning to bend to please Lizzy as he learns about her and himself.

On the whole it was a beautifully made romantic film and I would highly recommend watching it.

To comment on 1995 movie. I also have reviewed this in July. I love it. I still agree with a comment that was said in an earlier blog (I think you said it Laurel Ann) that the first version you fall in love with stays dear in your heart. I saw this before I read the book for the first time. I then noticed all the changes of course. But somehow it made me feel like this movie was a remake to other movies which would explain many changes. Like a rumor things get changed the more it is told. Anyway the cinematography & music continue to tug at my heart. And even though Colin Firth is the best Darcy, I love MacFadyen wearing his heart on his sleeve. (sorry but I thought Bingley was adorible.)

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"We waste our money so you don't have to."

"We waste our money, so you don't have to."

Movie Review

Pride and prejudice.

US Release Date: 11-11-2005

Directed by: Joe Wright

Starring ▸ ▾

  • Keira Knightley ,  as
  • Elizabeth Bennet
  • Matthew MacFadyen ,  as
  • Talulah Riley ,  as
  • Mary Bennet
  • Rosamund Pike ,  as
  • Jane Bennet
  • Jena Malone ,  as
  • Lydia Bennet
  • Carey Mulligan ,  as
  • Kitty Bennet
  • Donald Sutherland ,  as
  • Brenda Blethyn ,  as
  • Mrs. Bennet
  • Claudie Blakley ,  as
  • Charlotte Lucas
  • Judi Dench ,  as
  • Lady Catherine de Bourg
  • Sylvester Morand ,  as
  • Sir William Lucas
  • Simon Woods as
  • Mr. Bingley

Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice .

When I first heard about this latest remake of Pride & Prejudice , the first thing that went through my mind was, "Why bother?" The Internet Movie Database lists 8 different filmed versions of this story (including this one) and another remake seemed too much like returning to the same well after it had long run dry, particularly after the definitive 1995 mini-series version featuring Colin Firth. After seeing this latest remake however, it seems that the Jane Austen well still has holds water after all.

If for some reason you missed one of the earlier versions, or fell asleep during High School English, the story is a simple one. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are the parents of five daughters, all ranging in age from their mid-teens to their mid-twenties. Because of the laws in England at the time, women could not inherit property so when Mr. Bennet dies, the women will be homeless, unless they can secure husbands who will provide for them. When rich Mr. Bingley arrives in the neighborhood with his equally rich friend, Mr. Darcy, Mrs. Bennet sees a chance for two of her daughters. But naturally, the course of true love never runs smoothly in these stories and many obstacles must be overcome before the conclusion of this comedy of manners.

The character of Elizabeth Bennet is perhaps the most classic female character in literature. Her personality is still used as the model for women in romantic comedies to this very day. For an actress to portray her is similar to when an actor gets to play Hamlet. If you're going to do the classics, it doesn't get much more classic than this.

Unlike her role in this year's Domino , which was laughably unbelievable, the role of Elizabeth fits Kiera Knightly like a glove. Her posh accent and saucy flirtatiousness are perfectly suited to this character and the dialogue rolls off her tongue in such a way that it makes you wish that you'd taken elocution lessons.

The role of Mr. Darcy has always been overshadowed by Elizabeth and this isn't the exception. Unknown, at least in America, Matthew MacFadyen gets the thankless job this time around and he plays the stern, upright English men, whose exterior masks a passionate love, with the competent stiff-upper-lippedness that you expect from a British romance.

Playing the other colorful characters in the story are some pretty high-caliber actors as well. Donald Sutherland does a very good job as Mr. Bennet, the lone man in a house with six women. His final scene with Elizabeth is particularly touching. Brenda Blethyn plays Mrs. Bennet with equal skill. As the social climbing mother always on the prowl for a husband for one of her five daughters, she will make you laugh and want to slap her at the same time. And the always reliable Judi Dench plays the stern British Aunt with all the skill that you'd expect.

I always love it when a movie surpasses my expectations. Since so many movies are apt to do the opposite, it is doubly pleasurable to be pleasantly surprised by one. Whether this is your first or eighth exposure to this story, you'll find plenty to enjoy.

Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice .

I am ashamed to admit it but I somehow made it through nearly 39 years of living without being exposed to any Jane Austen work either in print or on film. Happily that is no longer the case.

Pride and Prejudice is a great movie from what I can only imagine must be an even greater novel (reading it is on my list). I can't say that this is the best version of the movie since it's the only one I've seen and I've heard that the 1940 Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson version is quite good. Still this version works on nearly every level a movie should.

I'm curious as to how much of the original dialogue from the novel is used in the movie. I assume most of it, in which case the book was clearly waaaay ahead of its time, most especially in the character of Elizabeth. She is willful, strong-minded and completely independent. A 21st Century woman only with better manners.

Scott is right about the role of Mr. Darcy taking a backseat to Lizzie but I wouldn't call it thankless. In a similar fashion to how Rhett Butler is so memorable in what is clearly a second fiddle part to Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind , Mr. Darcy manages to hold his own against the high spirited Miss Bennet. He is, in some ways, the more complex character, since he is portrayed at first as the antagonist of the story. At any rate Mathew MacFadyen completely fulfills the requirements of the role.

Still this is and always will be Elizabeth Bennet's story. She IS one of the greatest characters of all time without really being extraordinary in any way. She gets the best lines of dialogue and is adept at couching insults in the guise of compliments, such as when she tells the incredibly dull and overbearing Mr. Collins, in response to his statement that he tries to give his compliments as unstudied an air as possible, “Oh, believe me, no one would suspect your manners to be rehearsed."

The final scene is quite simply devastatingly romantic. Elizabeth tells Mr. Darcy that he may call her Mrs. Darcy only when he is incandescently happy. He then proceeds to whisper “Mrs. Darcy" as he kisses her tenderly all over her face. I nearly swooned.

Knightley is so beautiful she can make a grown man swoon.

Patrick, when did you become an old woman? You swooned? I completely lost track of what I was going to write once I read that. How do I follow such a gay line?

What I liked about this movie is that it actually explains why Elizabeth and Darcy fall in love. Darcy is inexperienced with women and has set unrealistically high standards for his future bride. He is immediately intrigued with Elizabeth as she is obviously intelligent and does not throw herself at him as other girls are. However, his pride and prejudices keep him from taking his growing feelings for her seriously.

Elizabeth finds herself attracted to him early on as he is aloof, and later on because he proves to her he can be counted on. My favorite scene is when Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him and she turns him down. I did not swoon, but it was the moment where he breaks out of his reserved nature and admits his feelings. Elizabeth meanwhile, turns down his proposal even though she still loves him. Both characters are revealing such raw emotions during this exchange that they become real and, oh hell! Maybe I did swoon. It is that kind of a movie.

Photos © Copyright Focus Features (2005)

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Pride & Prejudice parents guide

Pride & Prejudice Parent Guide

A light, bright and sparkling adaptation of the well loved novel..

Jane Austin's classic novel comes to the big screen starring Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen as Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwiliam Darcy. The two lovers, kept apart by mistaken first impressions, class, and misunderstandings, sparkle in a tightly focused adaptation.

Release date November 10, 2005

Run Time: 129 minutes

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The guide to our grades, parent movie review by kirsten hawkes.

Adapting one of the best loved novels of all time takes a certain amount of courage. And when that novel is Pride & Prejudice, with its legions of obsessive fans, a director needs to make sure he gets every element right. With this adaptation, Joe Wright comes very close.

The movie opens with Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley), second of five daughters born to a nervous mother and bookish father. Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland), being a landed gentleman, has no need for employment so he secludes himself in his study while his estate slowly decays. Shrill, shrieking Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) is obsessed with the fact that her husband’s estate is entailed on a male relative, meaning that she and her daughters will be homeless and impoverished upon his death. It is therefore imperative that at least one of her daughters marry very, very well.

In true Austen fashion, the tale is replete with biting dialogue, witty rejoinders, gossip, misunderstandings, and brilliant irony. Add in a weaselly clergyman, a smooth-tongued scoundrel, a scandalous elopement, an insulting proposal, and a meltingly romantic finale and you have 129 minutes of highly entertaining period drama.

While Austen fans might quibble over details in the film adaptation, other viewers will find little to complain about. In fact, audiences will likely enjoy watching as Elizabeth and Darcy learn to look beyond their initial pride and prejudice and discover that love can be found in the most unexpected places.

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Kirsten hawkes, watch the trailer for pride & prejudice.

Pride & Prejudice Rating & Content Info

Why is Pride & Prejudice rated PG? Pride & Prejudice is rated PG by the MPAA for mild thematic elements.

Violence:   None noted Sexual Content:   A clergyman accidentally uses a term that connotes sexual activity, to his embarrassment. Profanity:   None noted. Alcohol / Drug Use:   A secondary character has too much to drink at a ball. She is hung over the next day. There is wine served at meals which is drunk by most of the characters.

Page last updated March 24, 2022

Pride & Prejudice Parents' Guide

Elizabeth and Darcy both have negative first impressions of each other. Why? How do we develop first impressions ? Why is it so difficult to change them?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

The best place to start is with Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. Fans can also go on to read Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park.

Ever wonder about Darcy’s perspective? Pamela Aidan has written An Assembly Such as This, first novel in her trilogy, which tells the story from Darcy’s point of view.

What if Elizabeth had accepted Darcy’s first proposal? Lara S Ormiston has published an enchanting story of their growing relationship in Unequal Affections.

Celebrated mystery author P.D. James crafted a 19 th century whodunit in Death Comes to Pemberley. When a man is killed on his estate, Darcy must determine the identity of the killer to save the family from scandal.

Stephanie Barron has written a series of murder mysteries featuring Jane Austen as the detective. First in the series is Jane and Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor.

Author Seth Grahame-Smith has taken the Pride and Prejudice story and put it in a comic horror setting in his novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

The most recent home video release of Pride & Prejudice movie is February 27, 2006. Here are some details…

DVD Release Date: Feb 28, 2006 Connoisseurs of drawing dramas are sure to appreciate the delicious 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice . Available in either wide or full screen presentations, the DVD release is served up with a commentary by director Joe Wright. There are also a host of featurettes to feast upon, including: A Bennet Family Portrait (an intimate look at each of the five vibrant Bennet sisters and their parents), Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time (the history of a revolutionary storyteller and a very private woman), Behind the Scenes at the Ball (a behind-the-scenes look at this lavishly stunning new version of the classic romance) and HBO First Look: Pride & Prejudice, A Classic in the Making (complete with talent and filmmaker interviews). Audio tracks are provided in English, French and Spanish (all in Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English, Spanish and French.

Related home video titles:

Indian moviemakers and actors from Bollywood did their own music-filled version of Jane Austen’s novel in the colorful, cultural film Bride & Prejudice . Emma Thompson does double duty as screenwriter and actress in another Austen tale of impoverished women in Sense and Sensibility .

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Screenshot (142)

Secondly, the romantic element is played up quite well. Elizabeth’s emotions are well displayed, starting with real distress after reading Darcy’s letter, and showing her developing feelings thereafter. At least she’s shown having some feelings before she sees Pemberley, which always strikes me as a particularly awkward moment to start liking Darcy, as if one look at the house is enough to sway her, the avaricious little minx. So I liked seeing a degree of misery before that. Keira Knightley, who is spectacularly ill-suited for the role in almost every other way, pulls this off with aplomb, having strong enough acting skills to pull off the love-sick scenes. And the final scenes are well done and have real emotion – the reunion with Darcy, and the interview with Mr Bennet.

And thirdly, not a good point, but an observation. A two hour movie is necessarily going to be curtailed in a score of ways. Characters were cut out wholesale – Maria and Sir William Lucas, Mr and Mrs Hurst and all the Gardiner children got the chop. Favourite scenes were merged or cut and almost everything was truncated, sometimes to the point where it made little sense. But at least all five Bennet girls survived.

So. On to the bad stuff. Settle down, this is going to be l-o-n-g. Let’s talk about the farm first, that whole thing with the pig, and geese and chickens and dogs and mud everywhere. OK, I get that the idea was to show the Bennets’ lowly status in society, the fact that they haven’t risen very far above the rank of farmer. But… Mr Bennet’s income is some two thousand a year, almost half of Mr Bingley’s. There is NO WAY ON EARTH that they live in the midst of their own farm. The set designer has taken a single line of the book (’[the horses] are wanted on the farm more often than I can get them’) and extrapolated to plonk the entire household in the middle of the farm. Every gentleman of the era living in the country had a home farm to supply their food needs; none of them lived on the farm. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

There are so many historical inaccuracies in the film. The costumes were hit and miss, and I hated that Elizabeth never seemed to wear a hat or gloves (or shoes, sometimes!). I suppose it was intended to show her independence of spirit, but really it shows her to be quite beyond the bounds of propriety. A lady never went out without a hat, and not wearing gloves was incredibly fast – a man might touch one’s bare skin! The horror! And let us draw a veil over the whole matter of hairstyles for the younger girls, and the men, for that matter. Shudder. What were they thinking?

Then there was the question of forms of address. Darcy never seems to call Elizabeth anything but Miss Elizabeth, even when alone with her, even when there isn’t another Miss Bennet within fifty miles. If it’s meant to show intimacy or growing attachment, it fails. It’s just plain wrong. And then when Mrs Bennet and the younger girls arrive at Netherfield, they are announced as ‘Mrs Bennet, Miss Bennet, Miss Bennet, Miss Bennet’. Utterly wrong. It was perhaps intended to be amusing, but instead it just makes the scriptwriter look incompetent.

So let’s talk about the script. I’m not a purist, by any means, and I’ve already accepted the necessity for cutting and modifying to squeeze the story into two hours, but Jane Austen was a brilliant writer. Best to use her words as much as possible, surely? But no, the scriptwriter chose to toss out a great deal of well-crafted prose and replace it with something far more mundane. Sometimes it sounded like dumbing down, as when Elizabeth’s comment to Lady Catherine that she ‘plays, but very ill’ is changed so that she plays ‘poorly’. Is that because the scriptwriter thought the audience wouldn’t understand the expression, or because she herself didn’t? And some of the crucial interchanges lost much of their sense to the need to overplay the emotion, and OK, I get that sometimes Austen was dry and not emotional enough, so I can perhaps forgive that. But it also lost all the wit. The delightful exchange at the piano at Rosings where Elizabeth talks to Darcy through Colonel Fitzwilliam is condensed to bland nothingness, and ends with Elizabeth’s extraordinarily rude comment: ‘Maybe you should practise more’.

It’s the same problem with the chosen settings. Why was the first proposal scene set at a temple in the pouring rain? It creates a dramatic backdrop, and our main characters can be dripping to (presumably) symbolise their rejection of the proprieties (or something), but honestly, it was just silly. And then there was Pemberley. Elizabeth arrives in a carriage with her aunt and uncle, looks around the house (which looks more like a museum, to be honest), and gets lost. Fine. But then she comes across Georgiana and Darcy (wrong: they would never have been allowed in the house if any of the family were at home), is spotted, has her embarrassing conversation with Darcy and then – walks back to the village? Excuse me? Her aunt and uncle left her behind? To walk home alone? And Darcy let her do that? I don’t think so. And as for Lady Catherine turning up in the middle of the night – no, no, no, a thousand times no!

On the subject of Lady Catherine, here we have one of the stellar actresses of our time, Judi Dench, in a role she could fulfil with her eyes closed, yet somehow managing here to be merely ordinary. How does that even happen? With Jane Austen writing the lines and Judi Dench speaking them, what could possibly go wrong? I have no idea, but something did. Then there are Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn, brilliant actors both, underwhelming as Mr and Mrs Bennet, apart from a couple of flashes where the script gave them room to breathe. Other actors were plain miscast, like Elizabeth herself (I’m not a great fan of Keira Knightley, but I’ve seen her much, much better than this), the younger sisters, Mr and Miss Bingley and Mr Collins. I read one review that said (paraphrasing) if one actor is wooden, you can put it down to bad acting, but if they’re all wooden, it has to be a more fundamental problem, either the script or the direction or both. I’d agree with that.

The interesting question is this: if I’d never read the book and never seen the BBC’s 1995 version, would I have rated this more highly? The answer is surely no. There is no charm here, no effervescent lightness of touch that would lift the film above the ordinary. The dramatic scenes of flowing frocks on the horizon or the hero and heroine dripping wet are plain silly. And frankly, any film that puts Judi Dench in the sort of role she was born for, yet manages to make her performance ordinary deserves to die. What an incredible waste. There are a couple of moments at the end when the script rises above the mundane, and I rather enjoyed that energetic country dance early on, but the rest of it was dire.

7 responses to “ Film review: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2007) with Keira Knightley ”

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Although I agree with a lot of your sentiments and criticisms of this adaptation, I have to object a little. Lapses in logic, feeling like some of the dialogue was clunky, Keira Knightley being perhaps a less-than-inspired choice for Elizabeth – with all this I agree. But I also think that judging this film against something like, say, the 1995 miniseries is always going to be unfair because the mediums and intentions are entirely different. Disliking the finished product is everyone’s right if they want to, but I think sometimes criticisms of the movie (lacking historical accuracy, for example) sometimes miss that historical accuracy was not entirely Joe Wright’s intention. In interviews he has said that he really enjoyed the messiness of the period, and wanted to heighten it, for thematic reasons.

“I wanted a sense of the elements, of mud and rain. It occurred to me that love is an elemental force, and I wanted to set it in the context of the other elements. And it seemed to me that if Elizabeth had a very earthbound existence, then her aspiration for romantic love would be all the more heroic. She’s got her feet in the mud, and she’s reaching for the stars” (Joe Wright in an interview with IndieWire, 2005).

Again, I think that there are instances where Joe Wright seems to THINK he’s being very historically accurate when in fact he isn’t (re: hair) and I know he got flack for saying that he thought that empire waists were “unflattering”, but in interviews he’s said that the decision to set the film in the late 1700s is for an entirely different reason. “Austen wrote the first draft of the story in 1797, and it wasn’t published until 1811. I felt that the earlier period looked more interesting, it was a more interesting period socially and therefore those social changes were reflected in everything, including costumes.” Even that criticisms that Lady Catherine, with all her wealth, is wearing outdated clothes, is described by him as being like the Queen Mother, who wears outdated but beautiful and well-made clothing.

Things like filming on location or accentuating scenes with natural elements like rain weren’t done just to make things more dramatic, but also to continually try to ground the characters. Wright says that he believes that “when people do period films they are reliant on paintings from the period, because there is no photography. But in a painting, everything is formally composed; it’s not real life. Then they do wide shots to show off the period detail of the sets. I think that the detail is in the small things, like crumbs on a table, or flowers in a vase.” Whether or not you agree with his determination of other period films, his use of the outdoors and the elements is clearly not borne out of some simple desire to equate tears and rain.

Again, I feel like when many people review the film all they see is the historical inaccuracies, or the ways in which it differs from the novel, without taking into account that it was entirely the director’s intent. Perhaps Wright’s vision doesn’t work for you, but it IS a vision. It’s not trying to be like the 1995 miniseries, or even entirely like a pure adaptation of the novel, and criticizing it on those grounds seems like it’s missing the point.

movie review pride and prejudice keira knightley

What a glorious defence of the film – thank you! I fully accept that much of what I disliked was directorial intent, and not just ignorance or lack of care. In many ways, I liked the earlier-than-traditional date, and the more robust mid-Georgian feel, which is more in keeping with modern sensibilities than the more rigid 1995 or earlier versions. I loved the exuberance of the Meryton assembly, for instance. That’s an instance of the director showing the more earthy, less restrained side of the era while still being totally accurate historically. I don’t much mind the drama of the rain or the billowing skirts, because I can see the effect the director’s going for. And I like the point about love being an elemental force. But I just can’t get past the pigs and the lack of bonnets and gloves! What can I say? I’m a traditionalist.

I do think it’s possible to have a 21st century vision of a Georgian-era novel without entirely losing all the historical components. The very modern, very stylised version of Emma is an example which is both refreshingly different but also (mostly) historically accurate. I also liked Love and Friendship, which is beautifully lush and the script and acting more than compensate for any other deficiencies. Which is probably the biggest problem with the Kiera Knightley P&P: if the script and acting had been up to the mark, I could have forgiven pretty much everything else. However, I fully accept I’m in the minority on this. This version is hugely popular, and that means it’s meeting the needs of modern audiences, even if it treads on the toes of stuffy traditionalists like me.

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Oh and I have to echo what you said about the hairstyles. The men’s in particular were just plain awful.

Absolutely, but it’s all part of the total disrespect for historical accuracy the film makers displayed.

I finally got around to watching this. I didn’t before because I hadn’t heard anything good about it. It’s an odd adaptation. It almost felt like it was made by somebody who wanted to make Jane Austen that didn’t look or sound much like Jane Austen. Perhaps they felt these changes would make it more suitable for a modern audience but there comes a point at which it’s no longer recognizable as Jane Austen, which raises the question of why bother at all.

I totally agree, but you’d be surprised how many people adore this version, and consider it superior to all others!

It was as if the filmmakers didn’t trust the material given all the silly things they did to try to ramp up the drama, such as the pouring rain and worst of all Lady Catherine showing up at Longbourn in the middle of the night. That was simply absurd.

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Movie Review: Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Welcome, one and all, to the first in a new blog series for Keeping Up With The Penguins! All month long, I’ll be reviewing movie adaptations alongside the classic and best-seller books that inspired them. This week, I reviewed Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice , and I was pretty spoiled for choice when it came to screen adaptations. It is, after all, one of the best-loved books in English literature, and we can’t help but translate it to the screen as often as possible. In the end, it was a toss-up between reviewing the classic BBC mini-series or the more recent movie version. I ended up going for Pride & Prejudice (2005) , mostly out of laziness – a 129 minute film sucks up a lot less of your day than six hour-long episodes.

Pride & Prejudice stars Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, and Matthew Macfayden as the romantic lead Mr Darcy. I can see how Colin Firth would have made a better Darcy, but in my view Knightley was a practically-perfect Lizzie, exactly as I’d imagined her in the book. Plus, she was fresh off the back of the success of Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates Of The Caribbean . Director Joe Wright said that’s pretty much why he chose her; her star-power allowed him to cast a relative unknown as the male lead, and kept the marketing team happy. I can’t work out whether that’s a compliment or an insult to all involved.

And an important note at the outset: I know this is a historical film, but I refuse to nit-pick matters of period accuracy. Reviews that get stuck into “but the soldiers wouldn’t have had yellow embroidery on their jackets that year!” or “but that type of flower wasn’t introduced until 50 years later!” are boring as heck, and I won’t be one of them.

That said, as much as historical accuracy is off the table, story accuracy remains the centerpiece. When you’re adapting, as I said, one of the best-loved books in English literature, the stakes for remaining faithful to the original material while simultaneously making a great film for modern audiences get super-high. That happy duty fell to screenwriter Deborah Moggach (with a little help from her friend, the incredible Emma Thompson ).

At first, she tried to stay as faithful to Austen as possible, and she really put in the work, writing ten drafts over the course of two years. She focused in particular on trying to keep as much of the original dialogue as she could. When Wright came on board as director, he gently cajoled her into making a few small changes: adding a couple scenes from perspectives other than Lizzie’s, for instance, and tweaking the timeline. It was a pretty bold move on his part, given that he hadn’t actually read Pride And Prejudice before he saw one of the script’s early iterations.

Anyway, this version, Pride & Prejudice , is set in 1797, a bit earlier than most other adaptations (that usually place it in 1813, the year that the book was first published). From what I can tell, that decision was based almost purely on the fact that Wright hated nineteenth-century fashion. He also wanted this film to look a bit more earthy and rural, so there’s a lot of mud on hems and farm animals wandering about. Those factors combined helped Pride & Prejudice stand out among the slew of Austen adaptations in the ’90s and ’00s, which had presented much cleaner and more refined versions of the period drama.

I found that the movie skipped over a lot of the subtleties of the various political negotiations that took place in the marriage market, but perhaps to be expected in the medium of film. Wright had a lot less time to work with than the BBC adaptation, which was three times as long; he once said that Pride & Prejudice is “about Elizabeth and Darcy, following them, and anything that detracts or diverts you from that story is what you have to cut”. This means that the film really emphasises the romantic and comedic elements, and downplays Austen’s social commentary – whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing I suppose depends on which aspect of her work you like the best. They did have to take the time to do things like explain in the dialogue what an “entailed estate” means, because films don’t have footnotes, and that made me laugh.

I know Knightley is the star, with her sassy forthright iteration of Lizzie Bennet, but it was really the supporting cast that stole the show. Kelly Reilly abso-fucking-lutely nailed Miss Bingley! She’s snarky, she’s nasty, she’s snobby, all to great effect – even I found her intimidating, from the comfort of my own 21st century couch. And Tom Hollander as Mr Collins had me in hysterics! Again, his character was exaggerated – he was more awkward, more oblivious, more snivelling than he came across in writing – but he did it so bloody well. Hats off to both of them!

Actually, every character was exaggerated, almost a caricature of their book-selves. Lydia, in particular, seemed a lot more childish. I mean, in the book she was hardly a calculating femme fatale, but she was definitely a bit more worldly than Movie Lydia who got swept away in the illusion of a fairytale romance, giggling all the while. The irony is that Jena Malone , who played Lydia, was actually older than Knightley and most of the other Bennet sisters at the time of filming – movie magic strikes again! And, of course, I can’t neglect to mention Judi Dench’s stunning performance as the indomitable Lady Catherine de Bourgh; apparently, Wright convinced her to join the cast by writing her a letter that said “I love it when you play a bitch. Please come and be a bitch for me.” And she delivered!

On the whole, it was a very theatrical retelling of Austen’s best-known novel, but it stayed quite faithful to her story. They changed the “feel”, for lack of a better term, but not what actually happened in the narrative. For time and convenience, sure, they cut a few scenes and some minor characters, but none of the major plot points were altered. Quite a feat, as far as I’m concerned!

That’s not to say I didn’t have a few quibbles. My favourite line in the whole novel, where Darcy offers a distressed Lizzie a wine, didn’t end up in Pride & Prejudice , which I consider to be a huge oversight. And their first dance featured a bit of camera trickery whereby everyone else in the room literally disappeared, which I thought was a bit heavy-handed. Those minor cock-ups, however, pale in comparison to Lizzie’s horrible line in the big romantic climax, when she meets Darcy in the mist:

“Your hands are cold” she bleats, ugh! It’s an abomination, an insult to Austen, and no matter how good the rest of the movie was, all involved in bringing that line to life should be made to sit in the time-out corner and think about what they’ve done.

And thank goodness I saw the U.K. version, where the final scene shows Mr Bennet giving his consent to Lizzie and Darcy’s marriage. Apparently, the U.S. release added an extra “and they lived happily ever after” husband-and-wife-smoochy-smoochy shot after that, and I literally would have thrown up in my mouth. Such a shame to end an otherwise good film on bum notes.

But let’s not linger on such unpleasant matters! Pride & Prejudice was made on a (relative shoestring) budget of $28 million. It wound up raking in approximately $121 million total. Its success was hardly surprising, given the trend set by Romeo + Juliet and Shakespeare In Love , and other extremely popular Austen adaptations. There was a push for an Austen Revival at the time, and Pride & Prejudice rode that wave, trying to capture a younger audience; in fact, it was marketed as “brought to you by the produces of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually “, before Austen’s name was even mentioned.

The film was released in fifty-nine countries in 2005-06, and became the 41st highest-grossing film internationally that year. Its appeal went beyond the popular, too, and it earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Actress for Knightley). Despite the fact that Austen adaptations will always ignite strong feelings regarding accuracy and faithfulness, this one was undoubtedly a success on all fronts.

movie review pride and prejudice keira knightley

So, which was better, the movie or the book?

Through gritted teeth, I’ll say the book . The movie was great, and I really enjoyed it, but really the best part of Austen for me is her political and social commentary, and that’s something the movie really skates over. If you enjoy Austen for the romance, this movie should be a winner for you!

But probably no one will ever enjoy it as much as the woman in Chile who, Netflix reported , watched the film 278 times over the course of a single year. That’s a true fan, right there.

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Features & Discussion

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August 9, 2019 at 4:39 PM

As good as this was it always comes second best to that tv adaptation with Colin Firth for me. McFadden just doesn’t have the right brooding persona to make Darcy convincing.

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August 9, 2019 at 5:51 PM

Yes, I totally feel that! I feel like the ideal would be a mash-up: Colin Firth as Darcy, Kiera Knightley as Lizzy.

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August 10, 2019 at 5:13 AM

This is my favorite movie of all time! If you had hated it, I might have seriously reconsidered our friendship.

I thought Keira Knightley was a perfect Lizzie, playful and fun. I absolutely love the cinematography – the long tracking shots and the placement of the characters at different depth levels in scenes. And the music gets me every time.

I dislike the American ending – which is awful. I refuse to watch it. I’m also not a fan of the meet at dawn scene either. It just doesn’t quite fit. And you’re right about the dancing scene between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, the room disappearing part is over the top.

August 10, 2019 at 10:11 AM

Hahahaha I’m glad our friendship remains intact! 😉 Completely agree, Keira Knightley was the perfect Lizzie – it wasn’t a “perfect” film, but it was pretty darn good!

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August 12, 2019 at 12:24 AM

I love this movie so much more than the miniseries, which is a great scandal to many — and I like this Darcy better than Colin Firth. DON’T TELL THE INTERNET. :p I thought Keira Knightley was terrific as Lizzie, and I was mostly okay with the changes to the book that were made for length reasons. But of course, yeah, the book is so much better.

The smoochy shot in the US edition is SO BAD, like honestly probably worse than you’re imagining. It’s way too swoony and annoying and I hate it.

August 12, 2019 at 2:15 PM

You are SO BRAVE to admit that, in writing, on the internet hahahahahaha!

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August 20, 2019 at 4:56 AM

With Jane Austen its almost always the book coz as you mentioned in the reviews – the subtleties of human behavior always lost in the adaptation or the acting. Except for a few well made BBC/ITV dramas that take as much time to view as one would take time to read the book – I always think the books are better. I actually surprisingly really enjoyed this movie. I liked the slightly uncouth take of the Bennets – makes the repulsion of the Darcey’s and Bingley’s more understandable (not forgivable though)! Really agree with your review on all points and if you have time do check out mine of the same movie

August 21, 2019 at 9:32 AM

Yes, exactly! So glad we’re in the same boat on this one 😉 I’ll check out your review – thank you!

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September 25, 2019 at 5:19 PM

Interesting. I’ll say right at the outset that I’ve yet to see a film adaptation of P&P that I fully enjoyed (total case of book snobbery on this one and I won’t apologize for it either 😂). I actually think Jennifer Ehle makes a better Elizabeth than Knightley and YES to all the Colin Firth’s Darcy fans, but I thought the entire supporting cast of the ’05 adaptation was leaps and bounds better than the BBC miniseries. Any way you slice it, I much prefer the book. 🤷🏼‍♀️

September 26, 2019 at 9:49 AM

Bahahaha that’s the trick with adapting beloved books to film, isn’t it? They’re never going to win! The supporting cast of this adaptation was stellar, completely agree. ❤️

September 26, 2019 at 1:32 PM

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August 1, 2020 at 11:24 AM

”I ended up going for Pride & Prejudice (2005), mostly out of laziness – a 129 minute film sucks.”

End your review there. The story was eviscerated and poorly told.

August 1, 2020 at 2:25 PM

HA! Sick burn!

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Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice

  • Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?
  • The story is based on Jane Austen's novel about five sisters - Jane (Rosamund Pike), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Mary (Talulah Riley), Kitty (Carey Mulligan), and Lydia Bennet (Jena Malone) - in Georgian England. Their lives are turned upside down when wealthy young Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) and his best friend, Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), arrive in their neighborhood. — Marcy Gomez
  • This is a humorous story of love and life among English gentility during the Georgian era. Mr Bennet (Donald Sutherland) is an English gentleman living in Hartfordshire with his overbearing wife (Brenda Blethyn). The Bennets' five daughters; the beautiful Jane (Rosamund Pike), the clever Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), the bookish Mary (Talulah Riley), the immature Kitty (Carey Mulligan), and the wild Lydia (Jena Malone). Unfortunately for the Bennets, if Mr. Bennet dies, their house will be inherited by a distant cousin who they have never met, so the family's future happiness and security is dependent on the daughters making good marriages. Life is uneventful until the arrival in the neighborhood of the rich gentleman Mr Bingley (Simon Woods), who rents a large house so he can spend the summer in the country. Mr Bingley brings with him his sister, Caroline (Kelly Reilly), and the dashing (and richer), but proud, Mr Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). Love is soon in the air for one of the Bennet sisters, while another may have jumped to a hasty prejudgment. For the Bennet sisters, many trials and tribulations stand between them and their happiness, including class, gossip, and scandal. — Dom
  • This tale of love and values unfolds in the class-conscious England of the late eighteenth century. The five Bennet sisters - including strong-willed Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and young Lydia (Jena Malone) - have been raised by their mother with one purpose in life: finding a husband. When a wealthy bachelor takes up residence in a nearby mansion, the Bennets are abuzz. Amongst the man's sophisticated circle of friends, surely there will be no shortage of suitors for the Bennet sisters. But when Elizabeth meets up with the handsome and - it would seem - snobbish Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), the battle of the sexes is joined. — focus features
  • In Georgian England, Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) raises her five daughters - Jane (Rosamund Pike), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Mary (Talulah Riley), Kitty (Carey Mulligan), and Lydia (Jena Malone) with the purpose of getting married with a rich husband that can support the family. They are not from the upper class, and their house in Hertfordshire will be inherited by a distant cousin if Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) dies. When the wealthy bachelor Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) and his best friend Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) arrive in town to spend the summer in a mansion nearby their property, the shy and beautiful Jane falls in love for Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy a snobbish and proud man, and she swears to loathe him forever. This is the beginning of their wonderful love story. — Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • This film is the story of the Bennet family, a middle-class family in England around 1800. The principal characters are: Mrs. Bennet, a hyper-excitable woman obsessed with getting at least one of her daughters into a financially advantageous marriage. Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland), who is relaxed, easygoing, and unflappable. He is somewhat amused by the high-spirited behavior of the rest of the family. Jane (Rosamund Pike), the oldest of the daughters. She is serious and thoughtful, but quite shy. Elizabeth (Lizzie, Kiera Knightly), the second daughter and the main character. She is wise, witty, and outspoken. She enjoys (and is very good at) verbal sparring. Mary (Talulah Riley), the third, not at all interested in chasing men. She spends her time reading, playing the piano. Katherine (Kitty) (Carey Mulligan), like Lydia (Jena Malone), is a boy-crazy teenager. The two of them are not interested in any serious pursuits; they just want to go to parties and dances. Kitty is impressionable and takes her cues from Lydia. Lydia is even more frivolous than Kitty. Charles Bingley (Simon Woods) is a wealthy and good-nature gentleman from London who moves into a nearby estate, causing great interest among the Bennets. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Macfayden) is an extremely wealthy gentleman from the North of England. The reason that an advantageous marriage is important is that the house and land are covered by a covenant that would give it to the eldest male heir on Mr. Bennet's death, but, having no sons, it will go to their cousin, William Collins. This would leave the family destitute. Elizabeth "Lizzie" overhears her mother telling her father a nearby estate, has been rented by a Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bennett finally divulges that he has already met Mr. Bingley. He says that they can all expect to see Mr. Bingley at an upcoming public ball. Lizzie herself and the eldest sister Jane smile with pleasure, as the younger Lydia and Kitty jump up and down. At the public ball, Mr. Bingley enters the hall along with his pretentious sister Caroline, and Mr. Darcy. Mrs. Bennet introduces her daughters to the newcomers. She also introduces Lizzie's close friend Charlotte Lucas. Mr. Bingley strikes up a conversation with Jane. Darcy makes a cruel remark about Lizzie & she engages in verbal sparring with him. Caroline invites Jane to stay at Netherfield. Mrs. Bennet plans a cold on Jane (By making her go on horseback in a storm) so that she has to stay a few days there. Lizzie, worried about Jane, goes to visit on foot & is seen by Caroline & Darcy in her dis-shelved look. Lizzie is sure that Charles loves Jane, by the way he cares for her. Caroline insults the unpolished behavior of the Bennet family & engages Lizzie in verbal spars. Soon Lizzie and Jane leave. Then the dreaded cousin William Collins, a minister, comes to visit the Bennets. He is extremely shallow, pompous, patronizing, boring, and conceited. Dinner is very tense; the family sees right through him. Lizzie, in particular, does some verbal sparring with him. After dinner, he approaches Mrs. Bennet about marrying Jane. Mrs. Bennet says that Jane appears to be taken, but that Lizzie is available. The next morning, the girls go out to see a parade of the militia; Kitty and Lydia are particularly interested in flirting with them. Later, they meet one of them, a handsome lieutenant named Wickham. On their walk home they encounter Bingley and Darcy. Darcy and Wickham stare at each other coldly. Wickham tells Lizzie that Darcy had cheated him out of Darcy's father's generous bequest to him. Her opinion of Darcy goes even lower. The family goes to Bingley's dance. Collins asks Lizzie to dance with her, to her great disgust. Then Darcy appears and asks Lizzie to dance. She accepts. She asks Darcy about Wickham, & he dodges the subject. Caroline, as usual, makes insulting remarks to Darcy about the Bennets. Caroline notices Charles smiling at Jane & knows he loves her & she is determined to stop him. Collins proposes to Lizzie & she turns him down. Mrs. Bennet is angry, but Mr. Bennet supports her. Caroline sends a letter saying that they are all leaving Netherland with Charles going with Darcy's sister Georgina. Lizzie tells Jane to go to London and stay with their aunt and uncle, and she is sure that Bingley will send for her before the week is out. Charlotte Lucas comes to visit Lizzie and tell her that she is engaged to Mr. Collins. Lizzie is appalled that she would marry such a shallow man. Charlotte replies that she is desperate--she is 27 and in danger of becoming a penniless old maid. A few weeks later, Charlotte invites Lizzie to visit her at her new home with Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins takes Lizzie and Charlotte to visit his patron, aristocratic Lady Catherine DeBourg, who is also Darcy's aunt. Mr. Darcy, and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, are also there. Lady DeBourg is an incredibly haughty, arrogant, insolent, and overbearing person. She is openly disdainful of the Bennets' lower-class upbringing. FritzWilliam asks Lizzie about Darcy & Darcy is surprised to find out that Lizzie thinks he is a pompous ass. Fitzwilliam reveals that Darcy, not Caroline, was the one who had separated Mr. Bingley from Jane. Darcy proclaims his love for Lizzie, but Lizzie is angry at him for breaking up Jane & Charles. But Darcy says that he knew Jane didn't love Charles as all Bennets think about is money. Lizzie throws the Wickham story in his face. Darcy explains the relationship with Wickham. Darcy's father did indeed leave Wickham with a generous allowance. Wickham gambled it away and came back for more. Darcy refused. Later, Wickham returned, and tried to elope with Darcy's sister Georgiana, to get her 30,000-pound inheritance. Georgiana was only 15 at the time and was thrown into a state of deep despair by this. Lizzie and Jane both return home. Lizzie hasn't told Jane that Darcy has intentionally kept Charles away from her. Lydia has been invited by Colonel Forster to go on a trip to the South coastal resort at Brighton. Mr. Bennet allows it, over Lizzie's protests. The Bennet sisters' aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, are visiting, and will be going on. a vacation in the Peak district to the North. They invite Lizzie to come with them, and she accepts. Lizzie's aunt and uncle suggest a visit to Pemberley, Darcy's grand estate, which is nearby and is open for visitors. Lizzie consents to the trip when she is told that Darcy is away. The housekeeper tells the visitors what a kind, caring, and generous person Mr. Darcy is. Lizzie begins to think that her earlier impression of him may have been wrong. Lizzie meets Georgina & then Darcy returns from his trip early. Georgina tells Lizzie that Darcy has told wonderful things about her. Darcy & Lizzie have a decent conversation for the first time. Lizzie receives the letter that Lydia has run away with Wickham. Darcy calls up Charles, & they both go to London looking for Lydia & Wickham. Wickham is found & Bennet promises a settlement of 100 pounds a year to Wickham to get Lydia married to him. Darcy was the one behind the scenes driving this whole thing to protect the honor of the Bennet family. The Bennets later learn that Mr. Bingley is returning to town. Mr. Bingley arrives at the house, with Darcy. Mrs. Bennet, while pretending to be indifferent, is clearly excited at the thought that Bingley will propose to Jane. Bingley and Darcy then walk a short distance from the house, and Darcy helps Bingley rehearse his proposal to Jane. Lizzie begins to realize that Darcy brought Bingley back to town, attempting to repair the damage that he had caused by separating them. Bingley returns and proposes to Jane, and she accepts. Lady DeBourg arrives. After issuing a few insults, she imperiously demands to speak to Lizzie alone. She tells Lizzie that she has heard a rumor that her nephew Darcy and Lizzie are to be married. She demands that Lizzie promise that the rumor is false, and that she will never marry Darcy. Lizzie refuses to do so and tells Lady DeBourg to leave. Lizzie had been unaware of the rumor, and realizes that it must have come from Darcy, and that it means that Darcy is genuinely interested in her. She meets Darcy. When Lady DeBourg had reported to him Lizzie's refusal to deny the rumor, he realized that there was hope that Lizzie might marry him. He says that he hopes that her view of him has changed from their earlier encounters. He apologizes for his past behavior and proposes to her. Just at the instant the Sun is rising between them, she accepts. Later that morning, Darcy, in Mr. Bennet's study, asks for Lizzie's hand in marriage. He gives his consent, saying "I could not have parted with you, my dear Lizzie, to anyone less worthy." After she leaves, Mr. Bennet, who has now had three of his five daughters betrothed or married within a few days, calls out "If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, for heaven's sake, send them in, I'm quite at my leisure."

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10 Movies That Will Make You Believe in Love Again

T he cinema has been home to an abundance of beloved films that feature jaded characters rediscovering, or discovering for the first time, the magic of love. From celebrated literary classics to iconic romantic comedies , poignant dramas and unforgettable farces, the silver screen is brilliant at depicting unlucky-at-love protagonists who are given a second chance at romance while learning about themselves along the way.

Moviegoers couldn’t get enough of the winning chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson in Sofia Coppola’s thought-provoking masterpiece Lost in Translation, just like they flocked to theaters to witness Elizabeth Bennett tame the haughty Mr. Darcy in the adaptation of the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice . With these and many other sweet examples, here are 10 movies that will make you believe in love again.

10 Things I Hate About You

Release Date 1999-03-31

Director Gil Junger

Cast Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Krumholtz, Larisa Oleynik, Julia Stiles

Rating PG-13

Genres Drama, Romance, Comedy

Touting a sensational ensemble cast including Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Larisa Oleynik, the 1999 beloved teen rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern-day retelling of the classic Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew , and centers on new student Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) who is enamored by the popular and beautiful Bianca (Oleynik) and concocts a plan to romantically pursue her by getting the school's resident bad boy Patrick (Ledger) to date her standoffish sister Kat (Stiles).

Why It Will Make You Believe In Love

The fan-favorite cult classic truly shines because of the blossoming love between the cynical Kat and troublemaking Patrick, and though she initially had little faith in the male species and experienced previous heartbreak, she develops a profound bond with her charming pursuer. It's impossible to forget Kat's emotional and deeply moving poem she recites in class that ultimately reveals her love for Patrick, and the two reconcile by the end of the flick to the delight of heavily-invested viewers.

Stream on Disney+

Release Date 2013-09-04

Director Richard Curtis

Cast Richard Cordery, Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan

Genres Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Documentary

Gifted with the ability to travel back in time to special moments he previously experienced, the young and in-love Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) decides to utilize his wondrous power in order to win over the object-of-his-affection Charlotte (Margot Robbie). About Time chronicles Tim's mission to time travel and capture Charlotte's heart, only to be devastated after he realizes she simply isn't interested and that he'll never be able to change her mind. A jaded and embittered Tim finds himself given a second chance at love when he meets the kind and carefree Mary (Rachel McAdams), who changes his life.

Related: The 14 Best Romance Movies of the 2010s

Though Tim goes back in time in hopes of altering his future, he realizes he can't make someone love him, and it causes him to lose hope in romance altogether. His pessimistic outlook on love after being scorned by Charlotte is turned completely upside down when he falls for Mary, and he valiantly tries to make sure they cross paths after a series of events change his life's course. About Time captivated audiences with its heartfelt message and touching love story, and became both a critical and commercial success.

Rent on Prime Video

When Harry Met Sally...

When harry met sally.

Release Date 1989-01-12

Director Rob Reiner

Cast Lisa Jane Persky, Steven Ford, Bruno Kirby, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Billy Crystal

Genres Drama, Romance, Comedy, Documentary

Widely regarded as one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, Rob Reiner's 1989 cinematic masterpiece When Harry Met Sally... famously stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as two close pals who set out to answer the age-old question "Can men and women ever just be friends?" after the duo develop a strong connection despite constantly being in conflicting places and romantic relationships when they meet. The eponymous characters go on a journey of self-discovery and struggle to stay just friends as feelings unsurprisingly grow.

When Harry Met Sally... is a timeless classic that highlights the pair's many ups-and-downs while proving to audiences the profound power and everlasting impact of love. Their enduring and drawn-out love story was an instant hit with audiences and the unconventional premise and contrasting personalities of Harry and Sally swiftly established the rom-com as one of the cinema's finest.

Stream on Paramount+

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Release Date 2004-03-19

Director Michel Gondry

Cast Gerry Robert Byrne, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Thomas Jay Ryan, Jim Carrey

Genres Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, Documentary

Jim Carrey delivered one of the best performances of his dynamic career when he appeared opposite Kate Winslet in the critically-acclaimed 2003 sci-fi romantic drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , focusing on the lovelorn Joel Barish as he makes the shocking discovery that his beloved ex-girlfriend Clementine has undergone a procedure to completely erase any memories of him or their time together as a couple. A devastated Joel decides to have the same operation done, yet as he begins to re-live the memories, he changes his mind.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was lauded for its depiction of loss and the complexities of being in a relationship while offering a poignant look at heartache and vulnerability. Though the broken Joel felt compelled to act out of spite and pain to have the same procedure done, he realized that no matter how tumultuous their relationship may have been, their love was genuine and beautiful all the same, and he didn't want to lose the memories, however painful. Joel and Clementine find their way back to one another even after completely forgetting one another, proving their connection was deeper than memory.

Stream on Peacock

The Holiday

Release Date 2006-12-08

Director Nancy Meyers

Cast Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Edward Burns, Eli Wallach, Jack Black, Jude Law

Genres Romance, Comedy

Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law headline the festive 2006 rom-com The Holiday , centering on the emotionally devastated society columnist Iris Simpkins (Winslet) and unlucky-at-love movie trailer producer Amanda Woods (Diaz) as the young women decide to exchange homes in an effort to escape their respective romantic woes. Iris heads to sunny Los Angeles while Amanda travels to snowy London, and despite both wanting nothing to do with men, find themselves falling for charming suitors.

There's a reason The Holiday has become a modern-day Christmas classic , and that's because viewers couldn't help but love the charismatic and quirky characters and heartfelt premise. Iris is left shattered when her feelings and devotion for someone aren't reciprocated, but her outlook on life and love are completely transformed when she meets the elderly screenwriter Arthur Abbott (Eli Wallach), who encourages her to be the leading lady in her own movie and to not give up on romance.

Stream on Hulu

Release Date 2013-12-18

Director Spike Jonze

Cast Artt Butler, Gabe Gomez, Lisa Renee Pitts, Lynn A. Freedman, Joaquin Phoenix, ​Chris Pratt2

Genres Drama, Romance, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Documentary

Spike Jonze directed the Oscar-winning 2013 sci-fi romantic drama Her , telling the peculiar story of the lonely and depressed Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) as he spends his time writing personal and intimate letters for people unable to do-so themselves. Reeling over his impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart, Theodore becomes infatuated with the compassionate AI virtual assistant Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), and he opens his heart up to love once more as they develop a powerful bond.

The sensitive Theodore breaks out of his shell, and he is able to grow emotionally and socially thanks to the help of the vivacious Samantha The pair begin to experience deep romantic feelings for one another that others are unable to comprehend. Samantha shows up in Theodore's life when he needs her most and she helps mend his broken heart, resulting in a profoundly sincere romantic story that left a lasting impact on audiences. The film landed on numerous critics' lists for best movies of the year and was celebrated for its phenomenal performances.

Release Date 2013-02-07

Director Lasse Hallström

Cast Mimi Kirkland, David Lyons, Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders, Noah Lomax, Josh Duhamel

Genres Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Based on the popular Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, the 2013 fantasy romantic drama Safe Haven follows the terrified and desperate Katie Feldman (Julianne Hough) as she manages to flee her abusive and violent husband and escape to the small coastal town of Southport, North Carolina in hopes of starting a new life. Though she intends to fly under the radar, Katie becomes charmed by the compassionate close-knit community and finds herself falling for a kind-hearted widow (Josh Duhamel) struggling to raise his two young children.

Why It Will Make You Believe In Love Again

Katie's heart is battered and bruised when she shows up in Southport, and she is frightened that her dangerous detective husband will find her and ruin her fresh start. She tries to fight her growing attraction to Alex and fondness for his kids because of how she was treated in the past, but she learns that he is not like her ex and that a healthy and enriching romantic relationship is possible for her. In true Sparks fashion, Safe Haven will tug at moviegoers' heartstrings and make them invested in Katie's harrowing story.

Stream on Max

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Release Date 2008-04-17

Director Nick Stoller

Cast Liz Cackowski, Bill Hader, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Jason Segel

After his titular actress girlfriend dumps him after being together for five-years, a forlorn and emotionally wrecked music composer goes on a soul-searching journey to Hawaii in hopes of getting over his famous ex in the smash hit 2008 romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall . Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) finds himself at the Turtle Bay resort to mend his broken heart and rediscover himself, only to find that his ex Sarah (Kristen Bell) is at the same hotel with her new rock star beau (Russell Brand). Peter struggles to take his mind off their indiscreet romance as he falls for the fiesty and beautiful resort receptionist Rachel (Mila Kunis).

Why It Will Make You Fall In Love Again

While Peter spends the first half of the hilarious flick depressed over his failed relationship and yearning for Sarah, he slowly comes to life again by spending time with the vibrant Rachel. Peter becomes a much happier person when he's with his new love, and she encourages him to pursue his dreams and find his inner confidence, resulting in perhaps the hilight of the movie: a side-splitting puppet rock opera featuring Dracula. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a light-hearted yet endearing rom-com that will take viewers on an emotional ride right along with Peter.

Stream on Netflix

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in translation.

Release Date 2003-09-18

Director Sofia Coppola

Cast Take, Kazuko Shibata, Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe, Akiko Takeshita, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson

Genres Drama, Documentary

Sofia Coppola directed the unforgettable 2003 romantic dramedy Lost in Translation , utilizing the talents of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson to portray the mismatched kindred spirits Bob Harris and Charlotte as they develop a refreshing and rare bond after meeting one another in Tokyo, Japan. Washed-up movie star Bob is coping with a crumbling marriage and experiencing a midlife crisis when he crosses paths with the young and beautiful Yale graduate and newlywed Charlotte, and together the pair share a life-altering connection while in the foreign land.

Related: 10 Romantic Indie Films That Are Anything but Cheesy

Coppola wanted to create an affecting picture involving two characters going through a "romantic melancholy" and believed they were going through a comparable internal crisis despite being in two very different stages of life. Bob and Charlotte share a unique bond and refuse to act on their blossoming feelings due to their complicated romantic histories. Instead they develop a familiarity and intimacy that runs deeper than a sexual relationship that helps make the film a non-traditional romantic classic.

Pride & Prejudice

Release Date 2005-09-16

Director joe wright

Cast Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, Rosamund Pike, Donald Sutherland

Genres Drama, Romance, Documentary

Adapted from the celebrated Jane Austen masterpiece , Joe Wright's 2005 romantic drama Pride & Prejudice notably centers on the Bennett sisters as they deal with mounting societal pressures and expectations and the many ups-and-downs of life and love, chronicling eldest sibling Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and her courtship with the seemingly snobbish and haughty Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFayden). The feisty Elizabeth bewitches Darcy even though they come from different social standings, and he must overcome his pride if he wishes to earn her love and hand in marriage.

Universally beloved and cherished by audiences all across the world, Pride & Prejudice has been retold countless times on the big screen yet continues to captivate the masses because of its emotionally-stirring love story. Elizabeth and Darcy may be opposite in many ways and come from conflicting backgrounds, but their connection transcends their stark differences and the headstrong heroine helps bring Darcy out of his shell and embrace the potential for love and passion. The 2005 adaptation remains one of the cinema's greatest and most moving versions of the Austen classic.

10 Movies That Will Make You Believe in Love Again


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    37 reviews · Provided by Keira Knightley, in a witty, vibrant, altogether superb performance, plays Lizzie's sparky, questing nature as a matter of the deepest personal sacrifice. In the end, the finest achievement of Wright's movie is that it fully captures what Martin Amis, writing on Pride and Prejudice, said of Austen ...

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    Pride & Prejudice. PG; Comedy, Drama, Romance; ... Movie Review. In 18th century England, the Bennet household bustles with five nearly grown daughters, one bemused father and a giddy mother with a singular goal—to arrange for her daughters "advantageous" marriages to wealthy men. ... Keira Knightley is believably sharp-witted, and ...

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    Movie Review Pride and Prejudice ... Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice. ... Happily that is no longer the case. Pride and Prejudice is a great movie from what I can only imagine must be an even greater novel (reading it is on my list). I can't say that this is the best version of the movie since it's the only one I've ...

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    The early scene set in the Meryton assembly gave a good impression of the more energetic style of dancing that was very much part of the era. The wildness of the younger daughters fits in well here. Secondly, the romantic element is played up quite well. Elizabeth's emotions are well displayed, starting with real distress after reading Darcy ...

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