may I ask why your relationship with the pride & prejudice (2005) is complex? I love hearing people's opinions about the movie
Now, I do not hold any sort of beef or dislike anyone who prefers the 2005 adaptation over any other adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Partly because everyone’s preference is unique, and mostly because I’m not a massive head of a dick.
My relationship with the 2005 film is complex because there are three parts of me whenever I watch a film.
The director and the writer and the fan.
The director likes the film very much. She adores the editing, how the scenes are lit, how Marianelli’s music so perfectly moves the scenes along and evokes the feelings of the characters, the costumes, the acting. The little touches and production details, she is particularly fond of.
The writer finds the film to be rather middle-of-the-road. There’s good writing in there, wit and some good ideas. (Whoever came up with the idea of Elizabeth and Darcy’s first touch coming through him helping her into the carriage needs to get an award, because so much subtext and the writer lurves subtext.) But she finds that sometimes, the writing is a bit too modern and it doesn’t really properly evoke the Regency era for her as other adaptations have done in the past.
The fan hates some of the changes. The alternative ending shall not be spoken of, for one. Another severely dislikes the overly giggly nature of Elizabeth Bennet. Kiera Knightley is a very good actress, but Elizabeth was always meant to be, for the fan, a bit more serious. Inclined to laugh, obviously, but grounded. Lydia is flighty, flirting without thought for the effect it has on the rest of her family. Elizabeth however, is proud and therefore, pragmatic. By making Lizzy more giggly, zipping about making sarcastic comments, it just makes the film lack a bit of gravitas.
Putting all that together, basically I find that though a beautifully made film, the 2005 adaptation is just too fluffy and too on the nose. I understand that it’s a film and therefore changes have to be made to fit everything into 2 hours, but it misses the mark on a lot, and that makes it, as I said, fluffy. I want some sharpness to my P&P, you know?
Take the 1995 adaptation. I know it’s talky, a bit stagey and a bit stiff in some places but it lies deep in my heart, embedded there for always. Everyone talks about Darcy and Elizabeth being in the thundering rain in the 2005 film and I’ll be honest, that is a fantastic scene with that almost kiss but 1995, HOLY HELL. THIS REQUIRES EXTENDED CAPSLOCK BECAUSE ELIZABETH BENNET LIT UP BY SUNSHINE AS SHE TEARS FITZWILLIAM DARCY, OWNER OF THE PEMBERLEY ESTATE AND EARNER OF 10 GRAND A YEAR, A NEW ONE.
LOOK AT DARCY.
HE’S REHEARSED THAT SPEECH. YOU KNOW HE HAS. TEN TIMES, OVER AND OVER, IN FRONT OF HIS BATHROOM MIRROR. HIS VALET’S ALL, ‘THE GREEN WAISTCOAT OR THE WHITE, SIR?’ AND DARCY’S JUST LIKE, ‘YOU MUST ALLOW ME TO TELL YOU HOW ARDENTLY I ADMIRE AND LOVE YOU’ AND THE VALET’S ALL ‘UMMMM THIS IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR’ (and yes that is a Blackadder Goes Forth reference, what)
ANYWAY. HE SAYS THIS SHIT TO ELIZABETH.
‘YEP, I’LL IMPLY THAT SHE’S SHIT POOR AND IT’LL BE EMBARRASSING FOR ME TO MARRY HER, SHE’S SO GONNA SAY YES RIGHT NOW, GOOD ONE DARCY.’
MEANWHILE LIZZY’S RAGE IS GENTLY SIMMERING IN A POT OF ‘I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS.’
THEN, WHEN DARCY’S ALL TALKED OUT, THIS LOOK AND THESE WORDS. AS LIZZY PREPARES TO GIVE THIS FUCKSTICK THE BURN OF HIS LIFE.
THAT IS A LOOK WHICH TELLS YOU SHIT IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN.
AND DARCY. HE KNOWS HE’S ABSOLUTELY FUCKED. LOOK AT THIS, AND DON’T TELL ME THAT ISN’T THE FACE OF A MAN WHO’S JUST PROCESSED THE WORDS HE’S JUST HEARD AND KNOWS DEEP DOWN HE’S ABOUT TO GET KICKED OUT OF THE BACK DOOR ONTO HIS FACE.
IN FACT, DARCY’S REACTIONS AS SHE TEARS INTO HIM IS A THING OF BEAUTY.
‘THIS IS… NOT GOING THE WAY I PLANNED’
‘THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT GOING THE WAY I PLANNED’
‘OKAY BUT SHE HASN’T TECHNICALLY SAID NO YET, I MAY BE IN WITH A CHANCE’
‘OH SHIT I FORGOT ABOUT THE SISTER’
‘WAIT HOW DOES SHE KNOW ABOUT BINGLEY’
‘DAMN YOU FITZWILLIAM’
‘ALRIGHT FUCK IT, I DID FUCK UP YOUR SISTER’S HAPPINESS SO WHAT’
THEN LIZZY BRINGS UP WICKHAM
‘UGH FUCKING WICKHAM WHY DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THAT DUDE’
BUT LIZZY CONTINUES AND DARCY REALISES THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN BASTARD WICKHAM
‘OKAY NO, I HAVE ACTUALLY SEVERELY FUCKED UP’
SO HE TURNS ON HER
‘WELL YOU’RE POOR AND YOUR FAMILY IS SHIT SO WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THAT HUH’
THEN LIZZY TURNS BACK TO HIM WITH THIS LOOK.
AND DARCY’S REACTION.
THAT NIGGLING THOUGHT HE HAD DEEP DOWN THAT HE WAS FUCKED – THAT HAS JUST COME LOOMING UP TO THE FOREGROUND, WAVING A FLAG WHICH HAS THE WORDS ‘WE ARE DOOMED’ SPLAYED ACROSS IT IN ELEGANT REGENCY FONT
BUT LIZZY AIN’T FINISHED YET
BEAUTIFUL SUMMER SHINESHINE IS POURING THROUGH THOSE WINDOWS, BIRDS ARE MOST LIKELY TWEETING, THE LEAVES ON THE TREES ARE BURSTING GREEN AND LIZZY IS THROWING EVERY WORD OF HER REJECTION OF DARCY AT HIM LIKE THEY’RE NINJA THROWING STARS OR SOME SUCH SHIT
LOOK AT THAT LOOK. THAT IS THE LOOK THAT PUTS FLESH ON MY BONES, BEATS IN MY HEART, AIR IN MY LUNGS AND FOOD IN MY BELLY.
AND WHAT’S HIS REACTION? WHAT’S THIS FUCKER’S REACTION TO THE MOST SAVAGE REJECTION HE’S POSSIBLY EVER HAD IN HIS LIFE? AS A WOMAN, LIZZY HAS VERY FEW OPTIONS IN THIS ERA. HE COULD RUIN ALL OF THOSE OPTIONS, RUIN HER, BY HEADING OUT OF THERE AND TELLING EVERYONE HE MEETS ‘DON’T GO FOR THAT ELIZABETH BENNET SHE’S RUDE AND UNGRATEFUL AND THE WORST KIND OF WOMAN’ BUT—
HE LEAVES. THIS UTTER WANKER APOLOGISES FOR TAKING UP HER TIME AND NOBLY, QUIETLY, LEAVES, NOT FORGETTING TO WISH HER WELL BEFORE HE GOES.
And suddenly, that’s a glimmer of the good behind the pompous arsehole. He listens to Lizzy’s rejection, savage and filled with truth, and he writes a letter to her in response.
How very fucking British.
And precisely why my relationship with the 2005 film is so complex.