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Unleashing Mr. Darcy Movie Review

starring 
Last Saturday, I watched and live tweeted the new Hallmark movie Unleashing Mr. Darcy starring Darcy. It premiered on Hallmark Channel (as part of their four Winterfest 2016 movies throughout this month with this movie as the last movie for the Winterfest event) at 9/8c.
With today being the 203rd anniversary of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice novel, I thought it would be a great day to post my thoughts, opinion, and review of this new Hallmark movie, which was adapted from Teri Wilson's novel of the same name (released in 2013), a modern re-telling of Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice.

Read my review of Unleashing Mr. Darcy movie below...

About Unleashing Mr. Darcy
 
In this modern day spin on “Pride & Prejudice,” Elizabeth Scott (Cindy Busby), is fishing for direction in her life and gets the opportunity to professionally show her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a fancy New York dog show. Dog show judge Donovan Darcy (Ryan Paevey) comes across as aristocratic and rude and a chain of misunderstandings unfold during the competition, complicating their mutual attraction. In true Jane Austen fashion, Elizabeth and Donovan begin to see the error of their ways and it turns out Mr. Darcy is far more kind and interesting than Elizabeth ever imagined.
I first heard of this movie early last December, which I posted here. The title of this movie most definitely caught my attention! After all, it has Mr. Darcy's name attached to it. As a huge Pride and Prejudice/Austen fan, it got me curious and piqued my interest. I love all things P&P as I've seen almost every P&P TV and film screen adaptations (ie. variations, sequels, continuations, loosely based, and inspired of versions) ever made. See all my , minus PPZ and Bridget Jones' Baby movies, for now...) Also, I've read not only the original Austen classic Pride and Prejudice novel, but has read some of its prequel, sequels, continuations, etc. I love them all! If it keeps Austen's 203 years old characters alive, I'm all for it, whether in books or big screen adaptations. I'm very open minded when it comes to any P&P TV or film adaptations made (whether I like them or not) because I love seeing my favorite P&P characters (especially Elizabeth & Darcy) portrayed on screen in different interpretations and variations, especially if it's adapted really good. Of course, not every adaptation will be my cup of tea, but as I said, I keep an open mind and I always wait until I see an adaptation before I made my own judgment or voiced my opinion about it.

Anyway, let's get to my Unleashing Mr. Darcy movie review here...

First, of all and honestly, I have not heard of Teri Wilson's novel before, which this movie was based on and adapted from, until Hallmark announced their 4 Winterfest movies for all of this month last December. Surprising, right? Yes, I know. Well, my excuse is that, there are countless P&P related books (and a lot of them are still on my must buy/to be read list) written by various Austen Authors, it's hard to keep up and I'm bound to missed a lot of them (including this one). Fortunately, Hallmark brought this movie to my attention (better late than never, right?), and I got myself a copy of Teri's Audible Audiobook version of Unleashing Mr. Darcy as narrated by Caroline Shaffer, and listened to it in less than 2 days before seeing this movie last Saturday. I really loved and enjoyed listening to it. It sure got me very excited and ready to watch the movie.

I love the premise of this movie and thought it was a great modern retelling of P&P and was adapted really good for a Hallmark (TV viewing audience). Yes, it's Hallmark (and they often make their movies fast and sometimes, they are too rushed that you can tell if the movie is good or not by the quality of the finished movie...), I know, but I love Hallmark movies (especially most of their really good, feel-good romantic movies I've seen over the years. They are my personal cup of tea and guilty pleasure. Loved their period movies: the Love Comes Softly saga, The Magic of Ordinary Days, and currently, When Calls The Heart series, to name a few as well as their modern rom-com and Christmas movies) anyway.

The Story

I love Teri Wilson's Unleashing Mr. Darcy book, and having said that, with only two hours (or less if you don't count long commercials) for a Hallmark movie, I know this movie was going to be a condensed version of the book, as it can't possibly translate everything from book to a movie. I know enough the difference between a book and a movie. They are two separate mediums and I will not even try to compare nor nitpick (maybe just point out the difference between) the movie to the wonderful book. It's basically a 2-hour abridged version of Wilson's novel. The movie, in my opinion, is a good visual presentation and companion to the book. It may have changed some things (ie. locations: Darcy has a house in New York instead of London. Elizabeth is from Washington DC instead of New York. She teaches in Westen(?) High School in the movie instead of Barclay School. Darcy is an American with a mansion in Connecticut instead of as a British Darcy with a grand estate in a countryside of England. And a few character name changes such as Helena is Felicity in the movie and Sue Barrow is Gabrielle, a friend of Elizabeth's mom, whereas in the book she was an older English woman, which Elizabeth had met at a dog show in New Jersey), but the main narrative is still there, which was mainly Elizabeth & Darcy's love story. I understand and I'm not disappointed with the changes of certain settings and character names as it still stayed close and faithful to the book for the main events. Though the changes that the movie made might be confusing if you have read the book before seeing this movie. Still, the writer Teena Booth did a good job in her screenplay (see the memorable and my favorite quotes below) for this movie.

The Casting
I thought the casting of this movie was very good despite seeing of a lot of unknown actors for the first time, for the most part of this movie. Sometimes it's a good thing as you focused on their performances playing the characters more than thinking about the previous characters they've done in their past work. So yeah, I've never heard nor seen most of the actors cast in Unleashing Mr. Darcy movie prior to seeing this movie, except for one familiar face, the veteran and talented actress Frances Fisher

Here's a cast and a character breakdown from the movie (and their book counterpart)...


Main and Supporting Cast - Unleashing Mr. Darcy Characters - (Pride and Prejudice)
Ryan Paevey - Donovan Darcy (Mr. Darcy)
Cindy Busby - Elizabeth Scott (Elizabeth Bennet)
Tammy Gillis - Jenna Scott (Jane Bennet)
Lini Evans - Linda Scott/Mrs. Scott (Mrs. Bennet)
Ryan Kennedy - Henry Robson (Charles Bingley)
Elizabeth McLaughlin - Gabrielle Barrow (aka Sue Barrow in UMD book)
Courtney Richter - Felicity Robson aka Helena Robson in UMD (Caroline Bingley)
Sarah Desjardins - Zara Darcy (Georgiana Darcy)
Frances Fisher - Violet Darcy (Lady Catherine)
Ken Tremblett - Grant Markham (Mr. Wickham)
Ty Wood - Joe Markham/son of Grant Markham
Liviu Rain - Mr. Bingley (Wait. I don't remember hearing a character name Bingley in UMD book...)


Donovan Darcy 

Ryan Paevey as Donovan Darcy (aka Mr. Darcy) - This was my very first time seeing Ryan in anything as I've never seen him (nor heard of him) before hearing/seeing him in this movie. When I first heard the announcement for this movie on Hallmark's press release last December, there was no mention yet of the actor who will play the title role. I kept wondering who was cast as Darcy, but when Hallmark first released a still of him and a Winterfest teaser trailer that featured him and Cindy's Elizabeth. It certainly got my attention and got me excited to seeing him as Darcy in this movie. He sure has the modern and handsome look of Darcy, but having not seen him on anything before the movie's premiere, I was excited but at the same time, was anxiously waiting to see him and his portrayal of the modern Mr. Darcy. My first impressions of him as the modern Mr. Darcy? I thought he did a great job playing his (first) starring role as Donovan Darcy. He was perfect, in my opinion, for the Darcy role for this movie. He fits the description too as described in UMD book. Love, love, love him as Donovan Darcy! His modern Darcy was not only very handsome, but also charming, kind, and generous.

Elizabeth Scott

Cindy Busby as Elizabeth "Lizzy" Scott - Like Ryan, this was my very first time seeing Cindy in anything (though I've heard she was in Hallmark's recently cancelled series Cedar Cove...I, unfortunately, didn't see that series...) prior to seeing her in this movie. When I first heard/read that she was cast as Elizabeth Scott, the main lead character of this movie, I didn't know what to expect as I've never seen her previous work before. I think it's a good thing (for me, at least) that I didn't because I was able to focused and see her as Elizabeth Scott only and not her previous roles/characters. I know her role here was probably challenging for her and not an easy one to portray as Elizabeth Scott (aka Elizabeth Bennet, her original P&P counterpart) is a complex character. Her character is smart, quick-witted, feisty, stubborn, and quick to judge others...I thought Cindy did a fantastic job playing her (first) leading role in this movie. I love her sassy modern take of Elizabeth. Everyone always talk about Darcy and his handsome looks and all (which I don't disagree, lol...), yet most people forget or don't even know (especially those who didn't read both Wilson's Unleashing Mr. Darcy and Austen's Pride and Prejudice) that Elizabeth (Scott or Bennet) was, is and will always will be the main lead as she's the heroine in both UMD and P&P stories not Darcy (much as we love him). So, of course, she was in almost every scene of this movie from the opening scene to the end, as she should be as it's her story. Gotta give props to Cindy (I'm glad she was cast as Elizabeth) for her wonderful portrayal of Elizabeth Scott!

Elizabeth & Darcy
I love, love Cindy & Ryan as the modern Elizabeth & Darcy in this movie. I thought they both did a great job playing their modern characters E&D. Not only they look great together, they also had chemistry...not too mention, they both have that cute, little dimples when they smile. What's not to love? Love their banter, their bicker-bicker and back-and-forths, the sparks that start out of anger and hate (mostly on Elizabeth's side though) before turning to the happier kind. That's a classic Elizabeth & Darcy relationship that's often the model of other (including many of Hallmark's) rom-com movies. I loved and enjoyed watching every scene they were in together. I so would love to see them work together again in another Hallmark movie or better yet, reprise their E&D roles in part 2 (if Hallmark will make a sequel) of Unleashing Mr. Darcy (or a series of this movie would be awesome too).

Violet Darcy
Frances Fisher as Violet Darcy (Zara and Darcy's aunt) - Frances is the only one I'm familiar with in the cast of this movie. I saw her in Titanic (as Kate Winslet's mother), of course, and a few of her other films. I thought she did a great job (effortlessly, as she usually does) on playing the haughty aunt Violet.

Zara Darcy
Sarah Desjardins as Zara Darcy (aka Georgiana Darcy, Darcy's little sister) - Her modern version of Georgiana Darcy is a bit different here as she was more like those typical teenagers, but as Zara, she's still smart and accomplished on her own right. Also, she still has that admiration and affection for Elizabeth and also roots/ships her brother Donovan to be with Miss Elizabeth Scott. I thought Sarah did a very good job on playing her small, but still important role. Not too mention, she's very pretty and gets to play the handsome Donovan Darcy's little sister. What's not to love, right? The good looks run in the Darcy family too!

The rest of the supporting cast
I liked and really enjoyed watching the rest of the supporting cast especially Tammy Gillis as Jenna Scott did a wonderful job playing Elizabeth's beloved older sister. Ryan Kennedy was very good in his small supporting role as Henry Robson. Henry & Jenna looked great together. Loved the casting for these two. Courtney Richter did a very good job playing the snobby and unlikable Felicity Robson (I love to hate her in this movie...and can't help but be reminded...or rather think she resembles a little bit of P&P 2005 movie's very own Kelly Reilly/Caroline Bingley...am I right or is it just me? Hmm, must be the red hair color...). And  Ken Tremblett (aka Mr. Wickham, in this version, he's married to someone else...thank god, it wasn't Elizabeth's youngest sister...and he's the father of Elizabeth's student Joe) was very good too as the jerk Grant Markham.

Bliss and the Dog show in the mix
I'm not familiar with dog shows, but I do like dogs and think they're adorable. Bliss, Elizabeth's dog, which is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (and Darcy's puppies too) was very cute and adorable in this movie. Love all the Elizabeth & Darcy scenes at the dog show especially in the ending scene. Love the Dash (Queen Victoria's own king Charles spaniel dog) "extra credit if you include Dash in your entry" mention (by Elizabeth) too in the opening scene.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy Memorable (and Favorite) Quotes  
"Fine eyes. Shame about the freckles. I was referring to the dog." -Darcy 
"Thanks for clarifying." -Elizabeth 

"Number 8. You're late." -Darcy 
"Guilty." -Elizabeth 

"A sight to behold." -Gabrielle  

"My good opinion once lost, is lost forever." -Darcy 

"Number 8." -Darcy 
"It's Elizabeth. Elizabeth Scott." -Elizabeth 

"Did sparks flew between you two again?" -Gabrielle 
"If you mean, did we run into a wall of our mutual dislike?" -Elizabeth 

"That's Felicity." -Gabrielle 
"Why is he looking at Elizabeth, instead of his supposed girlfriend?" -Jenna  

"Are you crying?" -Darcy 
"No. I'm not crying. I don't cry. Why would you you think I would cry? I'm not crying." -Elizabeth 

"Sometimes you sound almost charming. Almost, not quite." -Elizabeth 

"Did you see how Donovan was looking at me?" -Elizabeth
"How was I looking at you?" -Darcy

"You, Elizabeth, are a snob." -Darcy 

"I have never met a more maddening human being than Donovan Darcy." -Elizabeth 
"You two are like Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton." Gabrielle  

"What did I just do?" -Elizabeth

"He had the nerve to tell me he's in love with me!" -Elizabeth

 "He's kind of a hunk, isn't he?" -Zara 
"I think I'll keep my opinion about your brother to myself." -Elizabeth

"You're a hard woman to swept off your feet." -Darcy
"Consider me swept." -Elizabeth


Overall, I thought Unleashing Mr. Darcy was a great, fun, and entertaining movie. I really loved and enjoyed watching it. It's fresh and something different from a few previous modern retelling of P&P I've seen (See my reviews of Pride and Prejudice: A Latter Comedy 2003, Bride & Prejudice 2004, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries). I personally loved it enough to have seen it a few times now (had it saved on DVR for repeat viewings...waiting for DVD to add it to my P&P related movie collection) and still loved it. A great addition to the many different adaptations of Austen's classic masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, which is 203 years old today! If you're looking for a light-hearted rom-com movie with a modern and fresh new take of Austen's timeless classic, with adorable dogs in the mix, a smart and feisty Elizabeth (in Cindy Busby), and a handsome and charming Mr. Darcy (in Ryan Paevey) to stare at and distract you for 2 hours...I highly recommend you watch this movie, if you haven't seen it yet. It re-airs this coming weekend: Saturday, January 30th at 7 pm and Sunday, January 31st at 11 am (check your local listings) on Hallmark channel! Watch it or DVR it!

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your review of Unleashing Mr. Darcy! I loved it as well, and I have been rather obsessed with it since it aired---I've probably watched it about 10 times already :) I also was not familiar with the actors, but I found Ryan Paevey utterly charming as Mr. Darcy, and in my opinion he has earned his spot among other stellar Darcy-esque portrayers, of which my favorites include Matthew Macfadyen from P&P 2005 and JJ Feild from Austenland. <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Victorian Lilac - You're welcome. ๐Ÿ˜Š Thank you for taking the time to read and comment here. I'm glad you loved the movie as much as I did. Wow, 10 times already?! I've only seen it at least 4 times now, after tonight's encore at Hallmark (and probably the 5th time tomorrow...). ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I agree with you about Ryan's modern take of Darcy. ๐Ÿ˜Š Same here about Matthew Macfadyen.๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. Does anybody know what is the name of the song that is playing when Mr Darcy (Ryan Paevey) & Elizabeth are dancing ?

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