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Joe Wright's different take on his Pride & Prejudice film keeps Jane Austen's work alive

I had the pleasure in being invited to guest blog at Karin Quint's Dutch Jane Austen website: Jane Austen.nl, in which I wrote about The Magic Feeling of Watching Pride & Prejudice (2005) film. Her website is also celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the P&P (2005) movie with a P&P viewing party for P&P fans (to celebrate this movie's Dutch Cinema release: September 22, 2005) this week, on Friday (September 25th)!

In return, I asked her to guest blog here (thanks a lot, Karin) and talk about this movie as our P&P (2005) movie's 10th Year Anniversary event here continues...She's not a big fan of this movie, but she does like other things about it and watching it, loves the movie soundtrack, and appreciates director Joe Wright's different approach and artistic choices in adapting Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice novel into a 2-hour film.

Read Karin's different perspective on Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice (2005) movie below...

Doing something different keeps Jane Austen’s work alive 


The first time I watched Pride & Prejudice (2005) in the cinema I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I felt the story was too rushed and too much of an interpretation of Jane Austen’s work instead of a real adaptation. But somewhere it had also struck a chord. So I needed to see it a second time (in the cinema) and a third, fourth etc. (at home), to make up my mind about it.





Now, ten years later, it is much clearer to me what I do and don’t like about Joe Wright’s film. The story is still too rushed – every time I see it I wonder if people who haven’t read the book get the significance of Wickham’s role in the story. His part has been cut to almost that of an extra who has a few lines to say. Keira Knightley, who I like in other films, is not the feisty Elizabeth Bennet from the book. Matthew Macfadyen, I adore in Little Dorrit, but that is because the role of Mr. Clennam fits him like a glove. But Darcy…not really. For me, he is simply not the Darcy that Jane Austen describes. Neither is Colin Firth, to be honest, but he’s the best Darcy I’ve seen so far.


 




But I still like watching this film. Why? Because I love the cinematography, the energy and liveliness of the Bennet sisters, the wonderful Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet and of course Donald Sutherland as a very endearing Mr. Bennet. I’m also addicted to the soundtrack of Dario Marianelli, which is still one of my favourite CD’s to wake up to in the morning, and which I like to play when I have a long drive ahead of me.


And I have also come to appreciate some of the artistic choices that director Joe Wright made. For example, the choice of costumes that are worn. The first few times I watched the film I thought it was very irritating not to see the Regency dresses that we associate with Jane Austen’s era. But after I read an interview with Joe Wright, who explained that the film is set in 1797, when Jane Austen wrote her first version of Pride and Prejudice, I kind of liked it. It’s different, and doing something different, it’s a good way of keeping Jane Austen’s work alive. 


In the last ten years I have noticed that a younger generation prefers this film to the BBC series that was made ten years earlier. That’s another great thing about this adaptation: it has introduced the work of Jane Austen to a whole new and younger public. 


And lastly, but not less important: if you want a quick fix of Pride and Prejudice, you’re not going to watch six episodes of an hour. No, in those moments I choose this film, even though in my opinion it’s not perfect. But that’s okay. Wasn’t it Jane Austen who wrote: ‘Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked’?


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Karin Quint (1976) is a Dutch journalist and photographer, and webmaster of the Dutch-language website JaneAusten.nl (www.janeausten.nl). In 2014 her travel guide ‘Het Engeland van Jane Austen’ (Jane Austen’s England) was published in The Netherlands.

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