Pride And Prejudice: Movie Review
Pride and Prejudice is a British-American novel written by renowned author Jane Austin. Jane Austin is also known for literary pieces such as Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. English film director Joseph (Joe) Wright in collaboration with screenwriter Deborah Moggach adapted the famous romantic tale into film in 2005. Wright is well recognized for his directing of English movies such as Anna Karenina another book to film adaptation written by Leo Tolstoy. In film interpretation, the main role of Elizabeth Bennet was performed by British actress Keira Knightly and playing the infamous role of Mr.Darcy alongside her is Matthew Macfadyen. Although there are many film adaptations of the book this is most successful version because of its famous actors.
This novel was written in 1813 and has a total of three volumes that depicts the emotional development of Elizabeth Bennet the protagonist of the novel. Throughout the novel she learns the significance of expeditious judgement and the deceit it can bring.
The Bennet’s are a reasonably wealth family living in late 18th century England in the Georgian Era. Mr. Bennet is getting old in years and if he dies his estate will go exclusively to a distant cousin, Mr. Collins. The only way to prevent this is if at least one of his daughters marries their cousin, an objective which Mrs. Bennet is determined to attain at any cost. So, when the upper-class Mr. Bingley arrives in the area with his equally upper-classed friend Mr. Darcy, the women go into romance overdrive. While shy eldest sister Jane falls for the bumbling Bingley, head-strong Elizabeth clashes with the seemingly unfriendly and unapproachable Mr. Darcy.
The film opens with Elizabeth Bennet in a meadow reading a book in a tranquil scenery which transitions to Elizabeth walking to her home in longbourn estate and entering a chaotic household contrasting her previous scenery. The scenery also gives an awareness of what the setting of the entire movie was going to be like which is a key aspect of the movie. Roman Osin a cinematographer is the the man responsible for the CGI-free setting helping to set the mood no matter the season.
The relationship between Jane and Bingley is so minimised that I had trouble believing they were really in love. Also, aside from Jane and Elizabeth, the Bennet sisters are quite mild and seem one subplot aside, to exist in the movie solely to keep up the same running joke. There is also a minor pacing dispute at the end of the second act where the film starts to drag and then abruptly rushes towards a conclusion as the pressure of trying to compress the rest of the novel into the remaining running time starts to catch up with the story’s deliberate pace. This barely gives us time to fully grasp the ending and its meanings from the book.
As Elizabeth and Darcy start their complex, courtship, events swiftly progresses. Elizabeth becomes interested in a dashing soldier, Lt. Wickham, who has an awkward history with Darcy. Meanwhile, she’s pursued by a boring Mr.Collins.
Initial set of romantic entanglements comes memorably together at the 35-minute mark in another, much more upscale ball, this time at Bingley’s residence. Helmer Wright’s use of long Steadicam sequences and Moggach’s capability to keep a large number of characters on the boil come into their own here. Elaborately but not showily arranged, and giving the viewer a detailed sense of social geography in the connecting rooms, it’s the movie’s set piece, as Elizabeth conveys advances from both Collins and Darcy.
Darcy’s passionate proposal and Elizabeth’s equally zealous rejection, shows both sides of an emotionally fuelling the long final act and coda.
Mass of smaller roles adds texture to every scene, increasing the sense of collaboration and keeping the screen busy. Jane is an emotive study in generosity, while Caroline Bingley brings a tart sexual jealousy to her early scenes. The Film’s most controversial changes are in the characters of Collins and Bingley, both of whom are used for comic relief. But despite being completely different from the novel’s Collins, both physically and emotionally as well as being noticeably older does make the role work dramatically in Moggach’s condensation.
The Pride and Prejudice soundtrack was composed by Dario Marianelli and performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet on the piano with the English Chamber Orchestra. Marianelli received an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score and two World Soundtrack Academy nominations. Dario Marianelli was introduced to Joe Wright by Paul Webster who worked with Marianelli on a previous occasion. In their first conversation, Marianelli and Wright discussed the early piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, which ‘became a point of reference’ and ‘starting point’ for the original score. ‘Meryton Townhall’ and ‘Another Dance’ contained actual dance cues that were fitting for the late eighteenth century. According to music critic William Ruhlmann, Marianelli’s score had a ‘strong Romantic flavour to accompany the familiar romantic plot’.
Scenes featured actors playing pianos, making Marianelli complete several of the parts before filming began. When asked Marianelle said, ‘Those pieces already contained the seeds of what I developed later on into the score, when I abandoned historical correctness for a more intimate and emotional treatment of the story’. The soundtrack featured French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Wright considered him one of the finest piano players in the world. Thibaudet worked with the English Chamber Orchestra. In the end the soundtrack contained seventeen instrumental tracks of music pieced together in a diverse ways for the film.
Jacqueline Durran was hired as the costume designer. She and Wright approached his film ‘as a difficult thing to tackle’ because of their desire to distinguish it from the television adaptation. Durran focused on later 1800 century fashions that often included a corseted, natural waistline rather than an empire silhouette which became popular after the 1790s. A generational divide was recognised in the film, elder characters dress in mid-eighteenth century fashions while the younger generation wear ‘a sort of proto-Regency style of hair and dress’. The costumes help emphasise social rank among the different characters, Caroline Bingley for instance is introduced in an empire silhouetted dress, this clothing would have been considered highly fashionable in those times. All of the costumes were handmade, to represent the time. However, costumes and hairstyles were adjusted to appeal to contemporary audiences, forgoing historical accuracy. Mr Darcy’s costume went through a series of phases. Durran noted ‘The first time we see him he’s at Meriton , where he has a very stiffly tailored jacket on and he’s quite contained and rigid. He stays in that rigid form for the first part of the film. By the time we get to the proposal that goes wrong in the rain, we move to a similar cut, but a much softer fabric. And then later he’s got a completely different cut of coat, not interlined and he wears it undone.
To help show contrast in the Bennet sisters, Durran vision Elizabeth as the ‘tomboy’, clothing her in earthy colours because of her love of the countryside. For the other sisters, Durran commented, ‘Jane was the most refined and yet it’s still all a bit slapdash and homemade, because the Bennets have low income. One of the main things Joe wanted was for the whole thing to have a provincial feel. Mary is serious and practical. And then Lydia and Kitty is a bit Tweedledum and Tweedledee in an adolescent sense. If one’s wearing a green dress, the other will wear a green jacket so you always have a visual irregularity between the two.’ In contrast to the 1940 film, the 2005 film displayed the Bennet sisters in worn-down but comfortable dresses that allowed the actors better movability.
Pride & Prejudice earned a worldwide grossing of approximately $121 million, which was considered a commercial success. Pride & Prejudice earned a rating of 82% from review aggregator Metacritic, labelling it universally applauded. The movie has gained four nominations at the 78th Academy Awards and 30 other nominations but only won 6 awards.
Pride & Prejudice premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival as a special Gala Presentation on the 11 September 2005. The film was released in cinemas on September 16 in the United Kingdom .It was number one in the theatres for its first week and earned £2.5 million while playing on 397 screens. The film was number 1 for two weeks, earning by then a total of over £9 million at the UK box office. On 11 November 2005, the film debuted in the United States with an opening weekend of $2.9 million. Two weeks later, it increased to $7.2 million. The film left cinemas February 24 2006 with a total US grossing of $38,405,088.
Jack Foley, the president of distribution of Focus Features, the film’s US distributor, credited Pride & Prejudice’s success in America to Austen’s appeal to ‘the boomer market’. Pride & Prejudice was released in an additional fifty-nine by United International Pictures. It was the 72nd ranked grossing film of 2005 in the US and was the 41st ranked globally.
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