Finally, I get to see a film before those of you in the home country. The film Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightly, has been in UK cinemas since September and a couple of weeks ago I finally found a a date to what I thought was a chick flick.
Other than the fact that Keira Knightly is far too beautiful to be an Austen heroine, the film is well worth seeing, for the stunning location shots alone. I now have a hankering to go to the Peak District, just to see the lonely precipices that surrounded Darcy's pile of stones. (Chatsworth House, actually.) I was hoping to visit some of the locations, but haven't been able to make arrangements. The homes are now closed for the winter, so I'll have to go in spring.
For the first half hour of the movie, I had to remind myself I wasn't watching Little Women. The relationships between the sisters were so similar I have to wonder if Louisa May Alcott didn't crib a few scenes from Austen. Mr. Darcy, however, is no Laurie, in fact, I found myself eager for his comeuppance. But he grows on you. Yes, indeed he does, so that by the end of the film I was ready to marry him myself, if Elizabeth didn't want him.
Incidentally, this struck me as a film that girls could take their dates to, a guy flick. The ruthless machinations practiced at the marriage mart were every bit as convoluted as an offensive play by the 49ers.
Some will inevitably compare this to the BBC version with Colin Firth. (And even more will write that line in their reviews.) But not me. I must admit I never saw that version. I must also admit I'm not a big Colin Firth fan. (Will someone explain the attraction?) Give me Matthew MacFadyen's Heathcliff-style brooding any day.
On the other hand, Keira, aside from being too exotic-looking for an 18th-century miss, couldn't quite pull off Elizabeth Bennet's clever sassiness. I solved this problem by admiring the scenery whenever she appeared—she was always surrounded by breathtaking English landscape and lush interior. (If this doesn't work, try squinting when you look at her, imagining her nose slightly off center. Can't hurt.)
Donald Sutherland, as Mr. Bennet, and Brenda Blethyn, as Mrs. Bennet, gave fine performances. Lydia Bennet was played by Jena Malone, the girl from the movie Saved, if you're trying to place her. And then there's Judi Dench. 'Nuff said.
Go see the film, and then plan a trip to the Peak District. May should be nice. I'll meet you there. We'll stay with the Darcys.