Pride and Prejudice

Release Date: November 11, 2005
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Limited release

Movie of the Day for Thursday, December 23, 2004
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All Keira Knightley, all the time.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
6/85 Kim Hollis I imagined no modern adaptation could hold up to the Colin Firth mini-series, but this one does come close. Knightley is a delight and Matthew MacFadyen is the British John Cusack.
9/60 Les Winan This sterling adaptation confirms Keira Knightly's acting chops. Charming and well made. Oddly, Donald Sutherland has one of the best moments in the film.
60/166 David Mumpower Keira Knightley is so winning that she carries the day in an otherwise mediocre adaptation. Having said that, let's all agree not to make another P&P-based project for a while, mmmkay?

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Based on the wonderful novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice has been adapted for a modern audience numerous times - most notably as a BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. The film has even had a very recent Bollywood treatment called Bride and Prejudice. Now, the film will be translated to a feature length production by the UK outfit Working Title Films. Early appearances would have it seem that Universal Pictures intends the film to be awards bait for the 2005 season.

Pride and Prejudice is, at its heart, Elizabeth Bennet's story. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, have five daughters. The family leaves in Hertfordshire, a rural community about 30 miles from London. They are not rich, and because there are only daughters and no sons, matters are even more dire. Their estate is "entailed" to pass to the nearest male heir in the family, which means that a cousin, Mr. Collins, would be the beneficiary.

And so it is that Mrs. Bennet's chief concern in life to see that all of her daughters are married - to men with large fortunes, if at all possible. The oldest daughter, Jane, is the prettiest, and Mrs. Bennet seizes upon opportunity when Mr. Charles Bingley, a wealthy gent from London, takes up residence in a nearby estate.

Bingley makes an appearance at the first social gathering to take place after his arrival. Along with him come his two sisters, Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst. Even more importantly, his dearest friend accompanies the group. The man's name is Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Charles, to the delight of all, is charming and friendly. He immediately takes a shine to gentle Jane. On the other hand, Darcy is a completely disagreeable personality. He is proud and rude, and refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, commenting negatively on her looks. Of course, Elizabeth overhears what he has said, and develops her own strong prejudice against Darcy. Strangely, though, at the next ball, Darcy begins to feel attracted to Elizabeth and asks her to dance. She says no with a feeling of vindication.

The courtship of Jane and Charles continues, and Caroline Bingley invites Jane to their estate for a visit. While there, Jane becomes very ill, and Elizabeth is sent to look after her sister. Darcy is there, and they have a confrontation. He is remarkably drawn to Elizabeth's frank with and sarcasm. At the same time, though, Elizabeth comes to realize that Caroline looks down on the Bennet family. Her pretended friendship with Jane is nothing but a fake.

The girls eventually return home, and suddenly they receive a visit from that aforementioned cousin, Mr. Collins. He is a reverend with pompous affectations and overblown, flowery language. His motives for arriving on the scene are obvious from the start - he intends to propose marriage to one of the Bennet girls, who all find him repulsive. He first fixates on Jane, but he soon learns she is involved with another man. Instead, he proposes to Elizabeth. She declines his offer, much to her mother's dismay. In the end, he winds up proposing to Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas, who accepts. Mrs. Bennet is in a tizzy, since the last opportunity of keeping Longbourn estate in their family does seem to have vanished.

What follows from that point is a story of loves and betrayals, reconciliation and growth. Will Jane finally marry her true love Charles? And who could possibly be attracted to Elizabeth? The charm of the tale is enduring and sweet. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Pride and Prejudice
Main Cast Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Rosamund Pike
Supporting Cast Jena Malone, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, Rupert Friend, Tom Hollander, Carey Mulligan, Talulah Riley, Penelope Wilton, Simon Woods
Director Joe Wright
Screenwriter Deborah Moggach, Lee Hall
Distributor Focus Features
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG
Running Time 127 minutes
Awards Awards page for Pride and Prejudice
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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