There is something charming about a romance in the English countryside. The open sky, hills, the country houses and manors with beautiful gardens away from dirt road’s and the hustle and bustle of a city like London. A place rich in history and nature, both in a perfect balance, while us humans have our own drama that is fleeting, but these places stay long afterwards. That has partly to do with the appeal of the film and why I said it here instead of later on, because this film makes you just want to pack your bags and go and live in the English countryside.
And do I really need to make a summary? I mean the chances of almost everyone knowing the story is pretty high, but oh well here goes anyway:
Mrs Bennet wants to have her five daughters married and they just happen to get as their neighbour the rich and single Mr Bingley and his sister Caroline. Along with them is their friend Mr Darcy – who unlike the sincerely sweet Mr Bingley and cold Caroline – is stone faced and quite rude. Many twists happen with light humour and genuine emotion as we see the lives of the Bennet’s unfold.
This is my comfort movie every single time I feel low or just want to watch something breezy without thinking too much and just enjoy the music in my ear and then just start daydreaming in certain parts. I mean, there is a reason many woman dream about a Mr Darcy, my mom’s (and I bet any mom’s who saw the 1995 version first) is Colin Firth because he is Colin Firth, while mine is Matthew Macfadyen whom I’ve nicknamed an “awkward bean” and who was my first Mr Darcy. It’s just a preference thing, after all the original still exists and I truly don’t understand the either hate it or love of this adaption. As you can see, I love this. And before anyone gets on my case of book vs 1995 version vs 2005 version I only have to clarify that I have not yet read the book for this, but really want to, it’s just I have too many books and not enough time. Can’t I just move to the English countryside and read all day like Elizabeth?
Keira Knightley is Elizabeth Bennet and though she may lack the gravitas and clear maturity of Jennifer Ehle she still pulls it off. Smart and tomboyish she is someone we can all relate to from her bad music skills to her outbursts of emotion.
The cast is the best of the best for these character, adding much-needed warmth and humanity to what might have otherwise been caricatures. They are all quite real and that is why I like them.
The Bennet sisters eldest is now Gone Girl famous Rosamund Pike as Jane, shy and kind to a fault. Carey Mulligan (Daisy in The Great Gatsby (2012)) as “Kitty”, one half of the duo with her sister Lydia played by the American Jena Malone (Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games-trilogy) who does a perfect British accent, are flighty and fun-loving and materialistic (so really just teenagers). Mary, music loving and somewhat snobbish, is played by Talulah Riley who is really one of my favourites in this adaption, purely for the reason that she is so real. Playing the piano in a ball (quite badly) and when her father tells her to let others play and she hears the others girls giggle at her she runs away in tears, later we see her cry in to her father’s chest who comforts her the best he can. It’s a really touching little moment when the camera does a single take around the ball and we see the Bennet’s letting it loose, while Jane and Bingley are adorable and Elizabeth is alone, contemplating in the dark. This is both wonderful filmmaking as well as character building.
Donald Sutherland is Mr Bennet, a man who wants his own peace of mind, and Brendan Blethyn is the worrisome Mrs Bennet. These two even though they have their differences really do love one another and it’s so sweet it makes me happy. Judi Dench is in a small but important role as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, so of course she is perfect.
Joe Wright, the director, is really a master at his craft when making period drama’s. He makes the story accessible for a new generation and gives us a fresh take on this story that has been adapted as many times as filmmaking has changed thought the decades. He emphasised in this film what the 1995 series for me lacked, the importance of family and the dynamics that go with it. From the messy rooms, talking over one another, moments of comfort even to those one doesn’t usually like, it’s a reflection of how family is there for you even earn your love life might be troublesome like in the case of Jane and Bingley.
Dario Marinelli wrote the beautiful music for this adaption. All the compositions are memorable with the perfect music for the person present, situation, ball, and mood. Combine that with the emotion and it’s the perfect score for this movie.
So I really recommend this movie for any romantic who loves english country houses, family, Jane Austen and all that. I am one and have seen this film multiple times and each time I love it even more than before.
(Don’t be fooled by the thumbnail, this trailer is so typical 2000s trailer with the voiceover and all that its HILARIOUS!)
No spoilers or analysis this time because really, this story is over 200 years old now and it has a multitude of adaptions so that is why! Also, breezy and easy, though the director’s commentary really gives depths to the characters more along with fun stories and how the musical queues are important!
Thank you for reading!