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Overall Rating
4.17

Awesome45.9%
Worth A Look: 35.25%
Average: 11.48%
Pretty Bad: 4.92%
Total Crap: 2.46%

8 reviews, 74 user ratings


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Pride & Prejudice (2005)
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by Doug Bentin

"Aunt Jane strikes again."
4 stars

“We’ve cheated the parson. We’ll cheat him again, For why should a blockhead get one in ten?” John Dryden

That’s a lyric from the opera “King Arthur” and it applies to the new feature film production of “Pride and Prejudice” in a couple of ways. First, the music of the opera was written by Henry Purcell, whose melodies appear at least twice in the film score, including an early country dance scene which uses the tune that accompanied these lyrics in the opera.

Most tellingly, however, the lyrics and music reflect a country wisdom, a freedom of movement and attitude not possible in the city, closed in as it is both physically and intellectually. In the country, people don’t have to be just what family and tradition demand that they be. They can actually be themselves.

Jane Austen, on whose novel the film is based, was famously a country girl who understood the ways of city-folk and didn’t so much despise them as see through their pretensions. Of course, she saw through the pretensions of country life as well. If there’s a genuine curse that comes attached to a satirical world-view, intellectual X-ray vision is it.

Keira Knightley stars as Lizzie Bennet, second-oldest of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s (Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn) five daughters. It appears that older sister Jane (Rosamund Pike) will soon marry the local rich guy, Mr. Bingly (Simon Woods) but Bingly’s best friend, the morose and taciturn Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen), talks him out of proposing because Mrs. Bennet and the younger girls are by turns giggly, boorish, country-educated and, especially Mama, predatory.

Lizzie, who is involved in one of those love/hate romcom relationships with Darcy, much to the chagrin of Bingly’s sister (Kelly Reilly), who wants desperately to ball-and-chain Darcy—and his 10,000 pounds a year—herself, becomes furious with Darcy for interfering. One of Austen’s most amusing observations is that while the gentry look down on the country poor when they attempt to marry for money, they do it themselves all the time.

Add to the brew the gallant but poor, and somehow disquieting, soldier of the line Wickham (Rupert Friend), who shares a shady history with Darcy, and the stage is set for the traditional joys and sorrows of romantic drama.

And speaking of stage setting, the production design of Sarah Greenwood and set decoration of Katie Spencer go a long way toward giving this version of the story its special feel. Kudos, too, to Jacqueline Durran’s costumes. The rooms and clothes, whether formal or farm, look lived in.

Deborah Moggach’s script, with an uncredited re-write by Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar for her adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility,” works well, hitting all the right emotional notes, especially in the scenes with Jane and Lizzie, which Pike and Knightley play beautifully. I’d love to see these Bennet sisters in a sequel but Austen didn’t write one. Obviously she didn’t know where the big bucks in Hollywood lie.

Joe Wright’s direction is seamless and he knows just when to toss in a shot of the ravishing English countryside to provide a break between scenes. Most importantly, he’s tossed out the frou-frou that has become attached to Austen because of her imitators and literary poor-cousins, and returned to a genuine feel for the late 18th. Century.

Guys, it’s still Jane Austen and it’s still romance. No sword fights. No fox hunts. But give the story a chance to work on you and I think you’ll enjoy its common sense and realistic feel.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12759&reviewer=405
originally posted: 12/02/05 07:05:20
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/24/18 Katie Addicted. Need a fix of P&P every couple of months. Love this adaptation !! 5 stars
3/18/13 Mireya Love this movie! 5 stars
4/06/12 Mrs. Bennet MacFadyen should have been in the better BBC version 5 stars
3/10/11 Lonesome Rhodes Late to this version. It can't make me forget the BBC version. Knightley ain't sexy. 3 stars
3/27/10 SWAYGONZALEZ THIS IS THE GREATEST LOVE STORY YET!!!! 5 stars
3/20/10 JM Keynesy capture the essence of the novel. Keira is exceptional and present what the novel depict. 5 stars
2/19/10 Rita P watch the 1995 version - forget Knightley - ckeck out Ehle. 4 stars
2/17/10 The Calico Critic, Laura Hartness Interesting review! I didn't know Emma Thompson had a hand in the script! Cool! 4 stars
12/16/09 A Girl the first poster is wrong...how is this dumb downed? 5 stars
10/28/09 Talless I think Darcy is sexyand elizabeth was playing hard too get too much. The movie was great!! 4 stars
10/17/09 glyzashin i love it 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. one of keira knightley's better films...beautiful cinematography! 5 stars
1/19/08 jeanne I was too distracted by how grubby everyone was; Lizzie should NOT have stringy hair! 2 stars
1/01/08 Susan Wonderful movie. Great acting. Keira won my respect from this movie. 5 stars
12/09/07 Keystra Williams Absolutely fanfuckingtastic! 5 stars
5/09/07 David Pollastrini Keira Knightley is hot is hot in this! 3 stars
4/24/07 Luisa It brought tears to my eyes. 4 stars
3/11/07 Roy F. Moore Keira Knightly makes a pretty good Lizzie. 5 stars
1/15/07 quirky By far, a wonderfully refreshing adaptation of the novel. 5 stars
12/14/06 MJ This movie was terrible. No one can ever replace Ehle and FIrth! 1 stars
12/05/06 Bitchflaps Pretty to a fault, a sterile adaptation. Knightly mistakes formality for stiltedness. 2 stars
11/30/06 Jess I loved this movie so much I watch it all the time. Keira is a great actress. 5 stars
10/12/06 Kaleb I didnt understand the movie.....not worth seeing 1 stars
10/02/06 kath Captures the essence of the novel. Keira was great and photography was wonderful! 5 stars
9/27/06 laruja I love you. Most ardently. Please do me the honour of accepting my hand. 5 stars
9/05/06 Julia I hated this awful film. Those who like it don't have the foggiest idea. 1 stars
6/16/06 od absolutely fabulous 5 stars
6/05/06 o.kilinc really worth watching especially after watching the BBC version 5 stars
5/12/06 Annie G An enjoyable adaptation - never really "wowed" me though. 4 stars
5/11/06 anne i love this movie and went to see it 5 times ! 5 stars
5/03/06 Ashley Hinz lovely. can't say enough about it. 5 stars
4/29/06 Olivia Morene This movie shows that some people will find love where they least expect it! 5 stars
4/29/06 maria casal i loved that much this movie, that I rented it, and in the first day I wathed it over 3 tim 5 stars
4/21/06 LOLA Bring back Colin Firth! Other than that, pretty good! 3 stars
4/12/06 Erin Addington Ah Naomi, that could go along with what I read, that Jane Austen died of constipation. 4 stars
4/12/06 Naomi Valentine Dooky? DUH! Nobody goes to the bathroom in Jane Austen novels! 3 stars
4/11/06 The Great Squizzaloon Rosamund Pike is eye candy, but Judi Dench would be more likeable wallowing in her dooky! 3 stars
4/11/06 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne EYE CANDY, but 1st half is ear torture. 2nd half redeems itself A BIT. 3 stars
4/10/06 Haven't read the book but hope it's better Totally unclear on what wonderful deeds hero did for heroine's sisters! 2 stars
3/31/06 Priscilla Postlethwaite But what will Liz do about her aunt-in-law from hell? 3 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar I loved this film. Can we have more please? 5 stars
3/04/06 gary PLEASE, keira knightley -- don't you ever change! 5 stars
3/04/06 Cristyne Vasquez I love Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy; he's far more romantic than Colin Firth 5 stars
3/03/06 bizenya wonderful on every level. 5 stars
3/03/06 Rick Burt Beautifilly filmed,and passionately acted 5 stars
3/03/06 Naomi Valentine Dooky? DUH! Nobody goes to the bathroom in Jane Austen novels! 3 stars
3/03/06 The Great Squizzaloon Rosamund Pike is eye candy, but Judi Dench would be attractiver wallowing in her dooky! 3 stars
3/03/06 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne EYE CANDY, but 1st half is ear torture. 2nd half redeems itself A BIT. 3 stars
3/03/06 Haven't read the book but hope it's better Totally unclear on what wonderful deeds hero did for heroine's sisters! 2 stars
2/28/06 Priscilla Postlethwaite But what will Liz do about her aunt-in-law from hell? 3 stars
2/26/06 Yesim it was wonderful and really romantic 5 stars
2/16/06 Christina awesome movie!!! (especially mr.darcy :)) very well played by Matthew MacFad... and keira) 5 stars
1/25/06 Asina A beautiful movie. Knightley was great. 5 stars
1/23/06 Monika Luy A wonderfully casted romantic movie, not very much JA though. 4 stars
1/23/06 nelly mendel magnificent, beautiful landscapes, romantic. 5 stars
1/05/06 Elisa G Okay, but not brilliant 3 stars
12/24/05 Mike V Waaaaay too melodramatic and precious. 3 stars
12/23/05 katsat MacFadyen pales next to Colin Firth. Butchering of Austen. Knightley too modern, skinny. 3 stars
12/18/05 Emily Popp I have seen the movie 8 times, and I'm not done yet. Need I say more? 5 stars
12/18/05 Aaron Smith Awesome cinematography and solid acting. Knightley a pleasure to watch. 5 stars
12/08/05 deeza Perfection_this is what they call 'chemistry' 5 stars
12/08/05 raewyn loved this movie!!! 5 stars
12/08/05 Kat Stacy Hideous 2 stars
12/04/05 Heather An exquisite movie-I'm buying it the moment it comes out. 5 stars
12/03/05 goldengirl Absolutely fantastic! Has there truely been another romantic movie? 5 stars
12/02/05 Holle I've seen it 4 times; this film is brilliant in its own right, w/ or w/o the book's detail. 5 stars
11/29/05 Melina beautiful cinematic version - captured the essence of Austen's story beautifully! 5 stars
11/28/05 melissa A wonderful movie. Loved everything about it. 5 stars
11/26/05 moorefam221 I've never seen a movie in the theatre 3 times before, but this one is definitely worth it. 5 stars
11/14/05 Sylvia Galimore awesome in it's own way! 5 stars
11/13/05 Asina Absolutely beautiful. LOVED it. 5 stars
11/12/05 bizenya knightley was great. a new take on the classic novel. me likey. 5 stars
10/27/05 Steven Absolutely stunning cinematography. Excellent adaptation of the novel. 5 stars
9/16/05 Vodkabite A sadly dumbed down version of Jane Austin's most popular novel. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Nov-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 28-Feb-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Oct-2005




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