Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen
Directed by Joe Wright
When a rich, eligible young bachelor moves into town, all the young ladies are eager to become the new Mrs. Bingley. They are less excited by his equally rich and eligible, but proud, friend Mr. Darcy (Macfadyen), who comes to stay with him.
Jane Bennet (Rosamund Pike) captures Mr. Bingley’s eye and her second oldest sister Elizabeth (Knightley), has an awkward encounter with his friend. While it’s love at first sight for Elizabeth’s sister, she is disappointed by her prospects after he insults her beauty. Despite Mr. Darcy’s weak first impression of Elizabeth, he is intrigued by her wit. As the two unwillingly spend more time together, they each realize there is more to the other than meets the eye.
This adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a beautiful re-telling of the story as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy slowly fall in love with each other. There were many elements that led to the success of this version, starting with the cast. The movie boasted big names such as Knightley, Pike, Carey Mulligan, Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, and Matthew Macfadyen who each do their characters justice.
The actors play their parts to the letter. Mrs. Bennet is the amusing mother of five daughters who’s poor nerves are everyone’s favorite companion in the book. Macfadyen plays a convincing Mr. Darcy, who seems proud on the surface, but as viewers get to know him they end up falling in love with him. Pike plays the sweet beauty of Jane well. And then there’s Knightley, the heroine of the story who charms Mr. Darcy with her wit and subtle beauty.
Watching Pride & Prejudice is aesthetically pleasing. The movie romanticizes the Bennet’s time period with warm colors and beautiful houses. From the Bennet home of Longbourn to Mr. Darcy’s estate in Derbyshire, any viewer would be eager to spend the day around them. This movie might make anyone want to move to England.
Besides the stunning cinematography and excellent casting, it all comes down to the story. Pride & Prejudice is about being careful to judge people on their first impressions because you don’t know what they can be really like. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy judge the other on their social standing and are too proud to let their impression go. They can’t see how perfect they are for each other.
There’s enough romance and drama to keep most viewers happy, and Pride & Prejudice stays fairly close to the book. It’s a wonderful version for those without the patience to watch the five-hour 1995 mini-series.