On the 10th year anniversary day (September 16th) of Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice (2005) movie, we (Jeane, Sharon Lathan, Natasha Shubrick, and I, Regina Jeffers) started here a Movie Rountable discussing all about the Pride & Prejudice (2005) movie. Now, to continue on, in the second part of our 4-part roundtable movie discussions here, we discussed about our thoughts on film critics who said that this adaptation is too far removed from the novel and our favorite Elizabeth and Darcy scenes in the movie.
Read our Pride & Prejudice (2005) movie discussion (part 2) below...
It is said by many critics that this adaptation is too far removed from the novel; yet, it does create experiences of parallel value. In your opinion, what are some of those parallel experiences?
Jeane: I don't think the 2005 adaptation is too far removed from the novel. It may have changed a few settings/locations in a few key scenes, added some interesting (but still memorable) lines/dialogues, and omitted unimportant characters (probably for time restrictions), but it still remained true to the heart and spirit of its original source.
The 2005 movie was basically the 2-hour summarized film version and a great companion to the book. It didn't try to replicate nor copy previous adaptations before it, Joe Wright and crew simply adapted the novel as it should be for modern audiences and new generations, but at the same time bring something new and fresh to the table as well as made it their own interpretation, and still keep the main characters and P&P story in tact. That's what a film adaptation is all about. I applaud JW and Working Title/Focus Features for making this movie the way they did. As for the parallel experiences it created, I thought the Bennet family in both book and movie were relatable and were shown/acted realistically in the film by the brilliant actors of the 2005 movie. Another was Keira & Matthew's fantastic portrayal of Elizabeth & Darcy, in which they brought their iconic characters to life on the big screen with their impressive acting and amazing on-screen chemistry. Also, the book mentioned specific places/locations or counties in Derbyshire (England) that were actually used in the movie such as the Peak District and especially Chatsworth House (which was described/mentioned in the book and was believed to be Austen's inspiration) as Pemberley, Mr. Darcy's estate.
Natasha Shubrick: This is a movie, not a book. This adaptation of the story provides an intriguing artistic take on the novel - which is effective, because a more "literal" take could never have succeeded. It is as faithful as time allows, there is no way that all of the details of a novel can be rendered in, in the two-hour movie format. The basic plot is there and all of the highpoints are addressed. There are several, but my choice for those parallel experiences is how marriage was a means to survival.
The exuberance, and exasperation that accompany a household of five daughters and unrestrained mother, where the father feels outnumbered, is immediately felt. Yes, they live in a large house, but it was conveyed that if girls didn’t marry well, they could end their lives in destitution. This film really implies the family’s precarious circumstances, Mr. Bennet's lack of financial foresight, and the vulnerability of women who have small dowries and no powerful social connections more than any other adaptation. Without the all-important son to inherit the estate they would all be turned out upon their father’s passing. We can see why Mrs. Bennet's desperation to get her daughters married off isn't so ridiculous. The movie helps us to see what Jane DIDN'T describe because, to her contemporaries, it was a given.
Sharon Lathan: I simply don’t agree with the “too far removed” assessment at all. Every one of the main, most important plot points are in the movie. Jeane echoed my thoughts exactly in her reply to this question. Once again, I believe my lack of knowledge is significant as “proof” of how well Joe Wright nailed his adaptation. My grasp of who the characters were (all of them), how they felt about each other, what their personalities were was spot on and unchanged after reading the novel. I easily followed the plot, and comprehended the social situations and nuances of class structure. Most brilliantly of all, Wright’s unique use of locations, camera angles and tricks, atmosphere, and music delivered emotion, passion, and understanding as well, and in many instances superior, than long dialogue or an extended scene would have.
What is your favorite scene between Darcy and Elizabeth?
To quote Peter Donaldson in Film Lexicon, “the continuity system is a highly standardized system of editing, now virtually universal in commercial film and television, but originally associated with Hollywood cinema, that matches spatial and temporal relations from shot to shot in order to maintain continuous and clear narrative action. Generally speaking, the continuity system aims to present a scene so that the editing is ‘invisible’ (not consciously noticed by the viewer) and the viewer is never distracted by awkward jumps between shots or any confusion about the spatial layout of the scene. Classical editing achieves a ‘smooth’ and ‘seamless’ style of narration, both because of its conventionality (it is ‘invisible’ in part because we are so used to it) and because it employs a number of powerful techniques designed to maximize a sense of spatial and temporal continuity.
“A key element of the continuity system is the 180 degree rule, which states that the camera must stay on only one side of the actions and objects in a scene. An invisible line, known as the 180 degree line or axis of action, runs through the space of the scene. The camera can shoot from any position within one side of that line, but it may never cross it. This convention ensures that the shot will have consistent spatial relations and screen directions. In other words, characters and object never ‘flip flop’; if they are on the right side of the screen, they will remain on the right side from shot to shot; those on the left will always be on the left. For example, an actor walking from the left side of the screen to the right will not suddenly, in the next shot appear to be walking in the opposite direction - a reversal that would strike the viewer, if only fleetingly, as confusing or jarring. With the 180 degree rule, the viewer rarely experiences even a momentary sense of spatial disorientation.” Yet, Wright used this “disorientation” to create a “dream world” where only Darcy and Elizabeth existed.
What I really like about the 2005 ending is the interplay and the sparking dialogue between our hero and heroine. It shows Darcy’s pleasure in Elizabeth’s wit. Their connection is equally a meeting of both hearts and minds. It’s not difficult to perceive that a man as intelligent as Darcy would have to possess a terrific sense of humor himself, to fall in love with someone as clever as Elizabeth. Of all of her potential suitors in the book, Darcy is the only one who truly gets and appreciates Elizabeth. He needs her to tease him, so that he can loosen up and not be quite so serious. On the other hand, she needs someone who has as much honor and kindness as she has. I think one of the reasons why Pride and Prejudice remains so popular is because of the passion beneath the formality. When it comes to the intensity of Darcy’s feelings, Elizabeth is not overwhelmed by such depth of emotion because she can return them equally. Thinking about them in this way leaves me wanting to see beyond the book’s ending. I guess that’s why I’m partial to JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) where the stories focus on their courtship and/or marriage and how their love grows and is strengthened, opposed to long drawn out misunderstandings. What’s so appealing about this scene is that it gives us a glimpse into a future that promises marital felicity.
More to come...To be continued with Part 3, coming up next!