The new P&P

So I actually saw this about a month ago, because I am a lucky girl, and because for some reason The Powers That Be decided to drag their feet before releasing the thing in the US. I didn't want to write all about it then, because it didn't seem fair to my girlfriends who were having to wait and wait and wait. But now the wait is almost over, so here's my take on it!

(Please note that this list is written for those who have already seen, loved, and possibly memorized the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. If you do not fit into this category, feel free to keep reading, just trust that my jokes are all kinds of funny, and that if you do not think so it's because you're out of the loop.)

(Please also note that many of the things said here will have already been mentioned in the critic's reviews. But please also note that I saw this well before the American critics did, and so they are actually copying me.)


Things I really liked about the new Pride & Prejudice, which will never replace the BBC's 1995 version in my heart but was actually quite fabulous in its own right:

The cinematography, with the fields and the mists and the rainstorms and everything. A couple of times I thought, "Gosh, that's so beautiful. I wish I lived somewhere that beautiful." Then, you know, I remembered the part where I do. But still, it looks different w/the great cameras. The setting looked very realistic, with the laundry on the line and the mud and pigs and crowded dance halls--it all had a great look to it, and there were lots of fun things to notice because the camera kept moving all the time.

Keira Knightley--Even though I call her Keira Hipbones Poutyface McKnightley sometimes, she sells it here with a minimum of pouting and posing. Also I want her makeup artist. I will give her my student loans if she will just come live at my house and make me beautiful.

Mr. Collins as played by Tom Hollander or whoever. I could actually feel a little bit sorry for him in this one--he's still a complete idiot, but he's not as smarmy/oily/nasty as David Bamber was in the BBC production.

I thought on the whole the filmmakers picked clever ways of moving the story forward without missing too much.

Donald Sutherland makes Mr. Bennett into a really sweet husband and father rather than simply a wisecracker. He and Mrs. Bennett were actually kind of sweet together. Plus, he does a great job in the scene where he gives Lizzy his Blessing. He made me get all teary-eyed. Sniff.

The part where Mr. Darcy helps Lizzie into the carriage. (Aw yeahh . . .)

The economic stuff--you can see in this one that there really was a necessity for these girls to marry well. When Mr. Collins proposes, Lizzy looks a bit worried that she could actually be forced to marry him for the sake of her family. This also comes through in Charlotte's situation, and she kind of broke my heart when she tells Lizzie why she's getting married.

Jane--in this version she actually is The Pretty Sister (rather than The Sister with the Weird Forehead That Everyone Says Is Prettiest, BBC). And I loved her hair. I would like to have hair like that.

There's a cute scene where Bingley gets up the nerve to propose to Jane. I'm sure it never in a million years would have happened in the book, but it made me giggle.

The Proposal Scene. (Please excuse me while my breathing changes. I'm fine.) Everything was a lot more intense in this one, and Darcy came out sounding much more human & vulnerable. This is a bit of a cheat if you read the way it is in the book, but it worked for me. Plus both actors were doing a great job and were all up in each other's faces. Also it was outside in the rain. Mmmmm . . . rain . . .

Things I didn't so much love:

Judi Dench doesn't get nearly enough screen time. It's criminal.

Because there wasn't always time for the full Austen dialogue, the scriptwriters had to improvise in some places. Sometimes this worked, other times it really didn't, and I found myself thinking, "Um, who wrote that?" A line or two from the second proposal scene stood out as being kind of craptastic.

The ending was very abrupt. They found a funny note to end on, but I could have used a bit more resolution, and possibly a wedding scene, or at the very least a friggin kiss, dangit!

I really missed the Wet Shirt Scene. Stupid people not giving me my Wet Shirt Scene! Dang you!!!

Didn't love Matthew MacFayden as Darcy. He was fine, and he was great during the proposal scene, but he's not going to be my new bf or anything. Man can wear the long coat, though. I do love me some long coat.

Mr. Darcy is let off too easily. Lady J made this point, and I think she's right. They never address the part where he was being conceited in the beginning, and he was proud. He never apologises for his earlier behavior ("and so I might still have been but for you . . . dearest, loveliest Elizabeth!"). They just make the whole thing look like he's always been this perfectly nice guy who is just shy, and that Lizzie just read him wrong in the beginning, which is too bad for her. Some people might disagree with me here, which is fine. I guess I'll have to watch it a few more times to be sure. ;-)

The Wickham/Lydia thing gets glossed over in about 5 minutes. Yes, I know that's the part we all tend to fastforward in the BBC version, but still. It's the principle of the thing. And we never get to see Lizzie give Wickham the smackdown. And least Wickham is cute and Orlando-Bloomish in this one, and doesn't have a weird torso. You know what I'm talking about.

So there you have it! And ladies, you only have what, one more week to go??


metamorphose said... [reply]

Wow. Thanks for the head's up. Since I'll be able to anticipate my disappointment with certain things, it'll be easier for me to swallow.

But, did I hear you right? They don't even kiss in this one? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???

SJ said... [reply]

Oh, man, did YOU miss out. In the US version, there is, in fact, a kiss scene in the end, but they took it out of the UK version because the audiences there thought it was too "sappy". That's actually one of my favorite scenes (what can I say? I'm a sappy American). Here's an article about it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4436062.stm

I just loved loved loved this movie. Much better than the BBC version (gasp! I know). The music was especially sumptuous. You can stream it at http://www.prideandprejudicemovie.net/musicPlayer.html

SJ said... [reply]

p.s. sorry it's not clickable as I'm a newbie with html tags

Savvymom said... [reply]

I about cried when you quoted the dearest, lovliest lizzie part. Seriously. Freaking hormones. I am going to go have to watch it now I guess.

sakhmet said... [reply]

My movie critic boyfriend, Anthony Lane, has a great review (not as great as THIS one) in the New Yorker this week. He shares your feelings about Mr. Bennet.

And I don't know who SJ is, but I swear there could be nothing better than the BBC version. That's all there is to it.

April said... [reply]

Wow, you actually made me want to see this movie. I was put off by Keira Hipbones Poutyface Knightley starring in it...because I freaking hate her pouty face! But if it's kept to a minimum....I guess I'll take a chance on watching it.

kristen said... [reply]

Thanks for the review. I've been wanting to see that movie and now I want to see it even more!! I love the A&E production of it; I fall in love with Mr. Darcy everytime I watch it.:) And I'm glad someone mentioned that there is a kiss scene at the end of the new one. It's just not right to not have one.

Grumbee said... [reply]

Did you say Kiera Knightly?! I'm definitely going to watch it now!

Panini said... [reply]

You're such a stinker for putting it up a week before we can see it! I'm so dying to go!! Although I'll always love and be faithful to BBC, it looks so good. (Kiera's not my favorite...but sounds like she does well.)

"I really missed the Wet Shirt Scene. Stupid people not giving me my Wet Shirt Scene! Dang you!!!"

UGH!! That was like, the best thing ever!!! Thanks for the warning...that way I won't get my hopes up when he finds her at his mansion. How fun for Jane to be pretty this time...although she really IS angelic in BBC.

JB said... [reply]

I loved your descriptions of Keira Hipbones Poutyface McKnightley. That was awesome. I'm so excited to see it now! I keep forgetting that it's coming out...I know, I had no business being an English major without a severe attachment to all things Austin. Whaddya gon' do?

jaime said... [reply]

Yeah...Pride and Prejudice! I think I have been talking about this movie for months...I have to see it...now! Or, next week when it comes out will do. :) Thanks for a great review!

Savvymom said... [reply]

I think you should check and see how people got to your blog after this post nem. With "Keira Knightly" and "wet shirt" I bet you're going to get some interesting ones.

Mary said... [reply]

I've been out sick for two and half days, and you KNOW that the P&P comes out anytime you're sick.

I. Cannot. Wait. For. The. Movie. Please. Buddha. Give. Me. Patience.

p.s. Have you made your new boy say any of Mr. Darcy's lines to you, i.e. "dearest, loveliest Nemesis?"

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

New P&P movie ticket: $8.00
Old P&P DVD set: $25.99
Less of Judi Dench: $0.00
Never having to say, "I've got an opinion on P&P:" Priceless.

metamorphose said... [reply]

I have to say the new Mr. Darcy looks too much like British John Cusack...not that it's necessarily a bad thing, but as much as I love Better Off Dead, where's the respect?

SavvyD said... [reply]

Pouty = sexy...

Nemesis said... [reply]

Wait, they KISS in the US version? I got the shaft!!

Savvymom, do go watch it. Watch P&P for me, since I a) have lots of homework, and b) haven't figured out how to use Lady J's DVD player yet.

Sakhmet, I agree with you. This thing was pretty great, but nobody puts Baby in a corner.

April, if you do end up hating the movie and wanting to gouge out your own eyes, please don't come after me!

Chuh. Yeah, you'llget a kissing scene, Kristen. What is up with British people not wanting a kiss? They'll watch full-on sex after the 9pm watershed but think a kiss is out of line??

I figured you'd be happy about that, Grumbeer.

Nemesis said... [reply]

we will mourn the loss of the Wet Shirt Scene together.

No worries, JB, we can still be friends. ;-)

So Jaime, will you watch it once on Friday and then again on Tuesday? You will want to, I promise.

I'm sorry you've been sick, Mary! The boy has actually not seen any Austen-inspired films, which makes me sad. We'll fix that, though . . . (rubbing hands together evilly)

Stupid, like you could ever not have an opinion on something! :-)

Meta, I thought EXACTLY the same thing about John Cusack when I saw the NYC premiere pics. But I didn't make the connection once during the actual film. So maybe it'll be okay?

Savvyd, I now I know why you married my sister.

April said... [reply]

I certainly won't come after you if I don't like the movie. And besides, I like John Cusack, so at least I'll have a watered-down version of him.

chosha said... [reply]

Yes, yes and yes. Great review. I didn't have the recent BBC viewage or book exposure to be able to do it justice, but you've nailed it perfectly. I so agree on the Lizzie/Wickham smackdown point.

I must see that movie again though. *sigh*

Nemesis said... [reply]

You'll have to let me know what you think, April!

Thanks so much, Chosha! We both need to see it again, I'm thinking. I'd pay full admission price just to watch the Proposal Scene.

Barefoot Cassandra said... [reply]

I just read this post, even thought you wrote it three years ago.

But I wanted to that in the BBC version that Jane the "pretty" sister runs really strangely. Check it out when she and Lizzy run to read the letter that came from their Uncle. She runs like a horse.

Even with that it was my favorite and is my favorite Pride and Prejudice.

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